Why Ecuador?

Some of you know that my wife and I are leaving the country a week from today. Destination::Ecuador. People have been asking where exactly we’re going, why we’re going and what we’ll be doing there. So here it goes.

Within the last year, I started working with Compassion International. Compassion is an international relief organization focusing on releasing children from poverty and developing them holistically…all in the name of Jesus. It’s a great organization (check it out compassion.com). It has given me the opportunity to promote Compassion at events, concerts, churches, etc, and invite people to sponsor a child of their own. (Again, to read more details on what “sponsoring a child” means, check out their website).

About 6 weeks ago, my Compassion artist rep, Paul, called and invited Emily and I to go to Ecuador with Compassion in March. Doing something like this is something we have always had the desire to do, but never really the opportunity. Needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity. Through Compassion, God has hand-delivered the chance for us to do something amazing. How humbling? We will be leaving next Monday and visiting two main cities in Ecuador, Quito and Otavalo. We will be spending most of our time doing two different things…the first is visiting the child development centers to see how the kids are educated and to spend time loving on them. Secondly, we will be visiting the homes/families of children in the program in order to have a better understanding of their life as a whole. The idea is for us to have a more accurate idea of the need for children to be sponsored in order for us to have first-hand knowledge of how Compassion’s child sponsorship works.

Our prayer has been, and will continue to be, that we will experience whatever God wants us to experience. If it means changing our perspective on life, then so be it. If it means playing soccer with kids, then so be it. If it means observing from afar in order to come back and share what we saw, then so be it. We don’t know exactly what to expect, except that God will show up and do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.

So check out my blog next week as I’m planning to upload pics and tell stories so we don’t experience this thing alone. Let’s go together.

Who are you?

I am at a conference in Lynchburg, Virginia. The speaker, Derrick Parsons, is focusing on who we are and what defines us. So I ask myself and you…who are you? We are not: a pastor, a musician, a worship leader, an accountant, a teacher, a doctor, a student, etc. That is merely what we do. Not who we are.

So I ask…Do you know what defines you? Who are you?

For real this time…

I am going to start blogging regularly. I want to get to know people. I want people to get to know me. I want to share what’s going on in my life and I want to know what going on in the lives of the people I meet along the way. We can learn amazing things from other people because we all have unique experiences and stories. We can apply things we learn and in the end we all help each other. Basically, we’re all on the same team. So keep checking back and keep in touch.

***Specifically, my wife and I will be traveling to Ecuador with Compassion International next week. I’m going to be blogging about what we experience. That seems to be the easiest way to keep everybody up-to-date at the same time. I’ll be posting pictures, videos, and stories…and though Emily and I will be there, I hope it can be a trip that others can experience through us.

Top Ten Tuesday: Michael Jordan dunks

Well here is my 2nd edition of Top Ten Tuesday. In honor of the NBA playoffs, today’s top ten is a video of Michael Jordan’s top ten dunks (according to nbatv). I’m sure some of them are up for discussion, but some of them are just flat out ridiculous. Check them out.

Top Ten Tuesday: All-Time Money Making Movies

So I decided to follow the whole blog world and come up with catchy (or cheesy depending on how you look at it) names for regular blogs. I see this as helping in two ways: 1- it will basically guarantee that I blog at the very least once a week, which will hopefully grow to daily; And #2 –  it will be a way to mix something from the culture with a simple, hopefully deep thought. Today…The Top 10 Grossing Films of all time.

Don’t forget to take time for reflection by reading the question after the list!

from imdb.com

1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824
2. The Dark Knight (2008) $533,316,061
3. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665
4. Shrek 2 (2004) $436,471,036
5. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
6. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) $423,032,628
8. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
9. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) $380,262,555
10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) $377,019,252

So do you think James Cameron (of Titanic fame) would give up his blockbuster to wipe out poverty?

U Better Recognize.

Tonight we held a Good Friday service at our church. My brother (the youth pastor) spoke about guilt vs grace and how we cannot fully see the reality of the cross until we get past the guilt we feel. He said something that made some people chuckle, but I thought was right on point…so I wanted to share. 

Jesus is not our cleaning lady. Jesus is not our dentist. It cheapens the cross and it cheapens grace. 

I don’t personally have a cleaning business come in and clean my house once a week, but I know some who do. The night before the cleaning crew comes…time to tidy up for the cleaning crew. When we know we are going to the dentist, we brush like 3 times a day so when they ask if we’ve been brushing we can say yes. It’s not like that with Jesus. We don’t have to get right before we come to Him. He accepts us as we are. He sacrificed Himself for us as we were, are, and will be. If we think we can work for that sacrifice or do anything on our own, we cheapen the grace He gives us. If we can do it ourselves, why did He go to the cross? 

We are human and we will probably never fully grasp the reality of the cross…but if we recognize that we will never full recognize the reality of the cross, then we maybe have recognized.

The official Top Ten Late Night Thoughts of an Insomniac Worship Leader During Easter Week

So as you would expect, the two busiest weeks of the year for church staff (especially worship guys) are the week prior to Christmas Eve and Easter week. This year we added a Easter Saturday night service to try to clear out space for the CE visitors who will undoubtedly come to the 11:15 service on Sunday morning. Did Jesus really rise after 2.5 days? No, but whatever. We can celebrate on Easter Saturday just like we should celebrate His aliveness every day. So it’s 2:30am. I’m leading a service tomorrow night, Friday night, Saturday night, and 3 on Sunday. So here are the Top Ten Late Night Thoughts of an Insomniac Worship Leader During Easter Week. (feel free to add your own)

10. Did I finish the creating the slides?

9. Should I save the real guilty-type songs for Good Friday or use them for the Communion service on Thursday?

8. I hope the drummer gets there on time…the last thing we need is a soundcheck running up to the service countdown.

7. Wait, are we singing Nothing But the Blood Thursday or Friday…I can’t remember. I think it’s Friday, no wait, it’s tomorrow. No it’s Friday, right before Lead Me to the Cross. Yep, Friday. Wait, is Lead Me to the Cross on Thursday or Friday?…

6. I wish I could stop thinking about all of these details that will work themselves out and focus on Christ.

5. Wait, did I finish creating the slides?

4. Maybe we should shift the song order so the powerful response song can become the powerful sermon set-up?

3. Are these song possible song order changes the Holy Spirit? or am I overthinking?

2. I wonder if other worship leaders have these same problems or if it’s just me.

1. I’m taking Monday off to make up for lost sleep!

why do i do what i do?

Lately I’ve been wondering why people do the things they do? More directly, why do I do what I do?

When I say “things”, I mean everything. Why do I dress the way I do? Why do I speak the way I speak? Why do I view God the way I view God? Why do I write songs the way I write songs? So on and so forth. 

Do I act a certain way or choose certain things because I am choosing to do them or are they innate? Or am I doing them because of the culture we live in or because somewhere along the way I started conforming? 

I was speaking at a youth conference this past weekend and described college as a place where culture tells us we should find ourselves. A place where we should learn what we like and don’t like, who we want to be like, and who we are. I’ve learned that we should allow God to define who we are. We should find ourselves in Him. He is my creator so why would I not try to find out who He created me to be and go with that? 

So…my goal is to do what I do because it’s what God has lead me to do. If I choose to look at things things with kingdom eyes, then I can’t go wrong. If I allow God to define who I am, and direct my steps, I’ll find the answer to my question “Why do I do what I do?”. 

That is the correct answer.

Hey everyone-
We are at the Portsmouth District Youth Conference in Blackstone, VA this weekend. We’ll be doing a concert tomorrow night around 9-9:15. We have set up a camera with a live feed so you’ll be able to check it out and join the concert with hundreds of people here…from your very own computer. You’ll be able to chat about what you see and get to know some other people who’ll be watching from around the world (probably not from around the world). All you have to do is go on justin.tv/keithelgin tomorrow night at 9 and rock out with us. You can also go check out the page now to see the test run we did during tonight’s session. If you are able to join us tomorrow night, make sure you post on the facebook fanpage/send me an email/get in touch and let me know what you think! And spread the Word!

Watch live video from keithelgin’s channel on Justin.tv

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