Merry Christmas, Community!
Check out these three stories of lifechange we highlighted at the weekend services at Community this Christmas- It's exciting to think about what's in store for the three new campuses that will launch in March, and how God is already at work in those areas to prepare the way for those launches. Good stuff! Merry Christmas!
A Soul City Church Christmas
Last week Elic and I were asked to help out a new church plant here in Chicago with a video idea that they had. So, last Monday, we went to Soul City Church in the West Loop to film a video that pokes some fun at the idea of casting the perfect "Baby Jesus." Here is what they came up with - we had a great time doing it. Thanks Soul City!
For several years now I have listened to a fantastic podcast called the Steelehouse Podcast, produced and hosted by Mark Steele and Jeff Huston, who work at Steelehouse Productions, a media production firm out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
I first heard of Mark Steele through his book Flashbang! How I got over myself. It was recommended to me by someone at work who felt like as they were reading it, they were hearing a voice that reminded them of me. After reading it myself, I took it as a huge compliment, because I found that book to be hysterical and profound, all at the same time.
The last two years, they have conducted a Christmas contest with some awesome prize packages. And both years, I just didn't have it together to try and enter. Also, I didn't feel like the contests would be in line with my strengths, so I just let them pass. But this year, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
Mark and Jeff have coined a word on their show: the "jangle." This is a word that it used to describe what happens when a word or proper name reminds Mark of a familiar (or less familiar) song. He then breaks into an a capella phrase that combines this word with the song - it's not a jingle; it's a jangle. (Best example: like Pavlov's dog, Mark cannot say the name of director Danny Boyle without crooning "Danny Boy") These jangles have evolved to be show openers, segment segues, anything that Mark could croon, he was willing and able to do so.
And so that then became this year's contest: to create and write your own jangle, and four judges (not Mark and Jeff) would be voting to pick the best one. So I recorded and wrote a parody to Don't Stop Believin'. Like I said, right in my wheelhouse.
And would you believe it? I won! I got the phone call on Wednesday and their Christmas Party podcast includes the top five contestants, along with the "live" phone call that I received. The prize package includes books, CDs, Blu-Rays, Steelehouse swag. It's incredible.
It was great to be able to participate, and great to win! And I highly recommend subscribing to the podcast. You can do so right here. The Christmas Party episode that features the contest winners is #126: Blitzenkrieg. Merry Christmas everyone!
Well it's been quite a month this week!
This week we were in tech and dress for this year's concert tour of Let It Be Christmas. We have such a great cast and crew, and we opened at the Lemont High School on Saturday night. It was a great night, and a huge turnout (nearly 500!) for a city where Community doesn't have a campus... yet! We are excited to be launching a new location in Lemont in the spring, and Let It Be Christmas ended up becoming a catalyst to announce our presence in that magnificent city. It was a blast, the high school was a great host, and (particularly cool for me) our new campus pastor for Lemont is an old great friend, Dave Richa. When I was first hired at Community, Richa was the Student Ministries Director, and we've been friends for a long time. You can check out his specific take on Let It Be Christmas and the Lemont connection right here. oh, and here's a youtube trailer for the show you can share with your friends and invite to the show:
And now, a short story about a U-haul. So we rented a truck to carry Lighting gear and other things out on the tour. I was driving it home after dropping off all the gear at Romeoville. (we had two great shows last night in Romeoville!) So it's around 10:45pm, and I'm 6 or 7 blocks away from my house on Washington, and boom. Transmission goes out on the truck, and I'm just revving, as though in neutral. I was in the left hand lane, and had no option with a 17 foot truck that was on a slight incline.
So there I was stranded - I called U-Haul and was beginning the process of getting one of their mechanics out to check it out. Awesome. Again, I remind you that I am 6 or 7 blocks away from my house. Where my bed is. Where I should be sleeping right now. But instead, I'm waiting for a U-Haul mechanic.
And I would have to wait longer, because the Naperville Police showed up. It turns out that they are not "down" with the idea of having a giant U-Haul in the middle of the road in downtown Naperville. They were very helpful, called U-Haul and commandeered the vessel. They brought their towing company, and took it away. But they wouldn't let me leave until the towing turck was there. So around 12:30am, I was ready to go. But I needed a ride home.
So I "got to" ride home in a squad car after this adventure. Happy to say it was my first, and I pray it was my last. It was ridiculously uncomfortable. But I did get home, I got some sleep, and the happy ending is that when I went to U-Haul to "close my contract" (read: Hi! I don't have a truck to return to you!), they completely refunded my money with no questions asked. Good job!
So the moral of the story is, GO SEE LET IT BE CHRISTMAS! Get your tickets RIGHT HERE! We have shows this week throughout the western suburbs (Thursday in Yorkville, Friday in Plainfield, Saturday in Shorewood, and Sunday in Montgomery), and then next weekend we close out the show at the Naperville Yellow Box (Friday through Sunday, Dec. 17-19). Don't be someone who misses it!!!!!