Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Staff Party

We have the best staff at Calvary of Albuquerque! Really, we do. They are fun, loving, and godly. They love to serve the Lord and are a blessing to the body here at the Church.

So it is always a pleasure to have some fun with them. This past week we had our annual Christmas Staff Party. It was a hoot.

The food, provided by Yanni’s, was tremendous; the fellowship, grand; and the chocolate eating contest, gross! But you can’t win them all.

We even had those two guys- Joey and Stevo- from the TV show, U Rock, Albuquerque (ok, both work here, but they were here non-the-less).

In between all this, we had a roadrunner show up (only in New Mexico), and a recycled lamb tale (just watch).

Make sure you watch to the very end. The out takes are always fun.

Enjoy the video.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Cheer with our Family

We had a really great time this Christmas. After all three Christmas Eve services, Nate and Jane and Lenya and I went up to Santa Fe. Its become our annual tradition. We love to walk among the crowds, singing Christmas carols at the bonfires on Canyon Road. This year there were not only thousands of luminarias and lights but about a foot of snow on the ground which made it the perfect Christmas Eve. With cups of hot chocolate and apple cider we walked and sang our way up the streets and arrived back home around midnight.
The following day, I read the Scriptures afresh about the wonderful event we celebrate (Jesus' Incarnation) and cooked waffles for everyone. After a short afternoon spin on the '42, we all went over to Rod and Nedra's house (Lenya's dad) and celebrated with the perfect New Mexico meal (turkey and Stephanie's amazing red chili smothered over the top. Here's a few scenes around the table. I want to personally wish you all a joy-filled Christmas season, packed full of laughter and brimming with God's peace.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Weekend Before Christmas

Clement Clark Moore (1779-1863) wrote the famous poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas (otherwise known as The Night Before Christmas), in 1837.

As you may recall, the poem tells of a quiet night in a home on Christmas Eve.

Well, as you will see in this short video, our Weekend Before Christmas is not as quiet…things are stirring.

We are bustling with activity, special guests, and holiday cheer.

My good friend John Privitt is with us singing, Christmas Light, a song he wrote and performed for a tour I hosted in Bethlehem.

John just returned from Nashville where he was a songwriter (working with Willy Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and others). He came back to Albuquerque to be close to his family.

Also this weekend we had the lead singer, Jason Tolliver, from the rock group, Ives. Jason sang a the song, Welcome Home. Welcome Home is on the newly released Christmas album, As Stars Shine Bright, released this winter by the Connection.

Sit back and enjoy the host of characters that minister here at Calvary, making this a wonderful place to be at all times, but especially during the holidays.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday Night Live (Albuquerque Style)

OK, I know I’ve posted a couple of “behind-the-scenes” the last week or so, but here’s some fun we had getting ready and doing the Saturday night service. We love Saturday nights because we don’t have to rush through it; we can have a full half an hour of singing and we can linger, not worrying about congestion or traffic flow, like we do on Sunday mornings. Also After Saturday night in the worship center, I walk over to the radio station and for an hour we are able to discuss what we studied with those in the community and internet who’d like to call or write in and discuss the topics further.

This week, our very good friend Fernando Ortega stopped by and sang for us. And guess what, he’s a dad now. Just 9 days ago he (and especially his wife, Margee) gave birth to a cute baby girl, Ruby (I saw the pictures—she’s really a beautiful baby).

So, here we all are, backstage, in my office and on the radio on Saturday night with a host of characters that bring cheer to each of my weekends.


Friday, December 12, 2008

A Night in the Life

I love being a pastor. Seriously, it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I get to teach the Bible, and I LOVE being part of what I think is the greatest church of all time—Calvary of Albuquerque.

And those of us who work at the church have a lot of fun! Before, during and after services are busy but always happy. I’ll show you what I mean.

Here’s a short video we put together, a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on. It’s a night in the life of a Wednesday evening service here at Calvary. It was recorded on a tiny little pocket video recorder called a Flip (handheld) camera. So what you see is what you get!

It begins as we are making pre-service arrangements, and ends with greeting the Billy Graham phone ministry workers. In between I interview singer, Marty Getz, teach, meet with some children, and have blast with some of our great staff members!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Greatest Church I Know Of

I love Jesus' whole idea of "the church"--calling people out of the world to be together to love and serve Him together. I have traveled to so many places and have seen, heard and experienced so many congregations--most very good, some great and inspiring, but none so great as the congregation I am privileged to serve in--Calvary of Albuquerque. I realize this is just my opinion--the bias opinion of one man in one place. I suppose being under the weather the last few days has got me thinking a bit about this. I have been reading and re-reading Paul's letter to the Colossians for the past few weeks, to really get it under my belt. As I was reading along, I came to two verses that beautifully pictured the church at Colosse and describes the church at Albuquerque. In chapter one, "...The truth of the gospel which has come to you, as it has in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit..." (Col. 1:5-6), and in chapter two, "rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving." (Col. 2:7). The wonderful thing about our fellowship is the constant growth and fruit. Every project, whether to the poor of the community or to the nations of the world or to the kids in Sunday School, people step up and give themselves to help, to serve and to support--this is the fruit of a healthy church. I hate it when I am unable to be there--like this weekend (resting at home and hoping to feel better), and I love especially the chance to talk with folks before and after each service and throughout the week all over town and hear what God is doing with them.

The pictures in this post below depict both the "root" and the "fruit", the past and the present. The first shot above was taken in the early 1970's when I was attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. This is the tent we met in while our building was being constructed. Here is where I got my roots, where I became, "rooted and built up in Him." The second shot below is from our last 4th of July--this is the "fruit" of God's work through the years. I feel like the most blessed man on the face of the earth to have seen both and to experience the love and joy at Calvary of Albuquerque.