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Giving IS Better than Receiving

On my last trip to Mexico, there were many sweet moments, but no sweeter than this. It’s a memorable in which I was reminded that it truly IS better to give than to receive.

We visited a small church in a very poor part of town. When we ask the pastor what needs he had, he mentioned that he had no instruments to use in church, and a guitar would help tremendously. That’s when God put a thought in my spirit… A thought that I wrestled with for the next day or two.

 

I had a guitar with me. It’s a guitar with tremendous sentimental value. I had it since before my first kid was born. And now he is a teenager and a member of the team on this very Mexico trip! I’ve recorded albums with this guitar, sung thousands of songs on it, and now God is prompting me to give it away. I fought Him on this, recounting all of the reasons why this guitar (which I called by it’s nickname “Al”) should stay with me. The reasons weren’t good enough to stop a change in ownership, and I knew it. I knew I was supposed to give it away.

As long as these were my thoughts, I could change my mind in selfishness. So I knew I needed to put it out there and tell a friend, and then I couldn’t take it back. So I told my friend, Derick, who is in my life a tremendous example of selflessness. And there it was. That night, I’d play some songs and tell of my history with the guitar, and inform him that I just played my last song on it, and that it was now his to play.

I want to be clear on something. I don’t write this to brag in any way. I know Jesus says that when you give not to announce it. I can’t brag about this anyway. The way I fought God on this internally doesn’t put me in a very good light! I write this to encourage you, that if you feel the promptings of God to sacrifice and give something away to someone less fortunate, do it! Don’t fight Him. You’ll lose. Or you might miss out on the blessing of giving.

What a sweet moment is was! I get emotional just thinking about it. Seeing my brother in Christ play his first song on my old guitar. You’ll have to just watch it for yourself. My now teenage son recorded the exchange:

 

 

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We Lost a Good Man…

Last month, we lost a good man. Mark Allen was GNPI’s Nomad Coordinator for the last two years, and made a huge impact in that short time. It was emotional for me to edit this tribute video. Shortly after he passed away in a vehicle accident I wrote the following paragraphs to share about this wonderful soul:

In Color Code personality theory, yellow is the driving core that’s motivated by fun. Mark tested as high yellow. Bright yellow! As a fellow yellow, myself, I’m no stranger to being the comic relief in the office. But whenever Mark was in town, he stole that show in a great and wonderful way. People fed off of his energy, (I know) probably depleting his own reserves. But like the energizer bunny, he kept on going and going, and was perpetually lifting people’s spirits.
He shared with others an infectious joy in life. I’ll remember him, not only for the way he made people laugh, but also for his giving spirit. Some of the neatest old cameras in my collection in my office were gifts from Mark just because. It goes without saying that he will be missed every time I see those pieces.
My daughter won a CD at some event and wanted to hear it as we drove to the lake this last weekend. We were listening to it when a colleague texted asking if I had checked my work email. I sensed it was important so I looked and saw the tragic news of Mark’s passing. Sadness hit like a ton of bricks. Then I immediately heard over the car stereo on the CD my daughter gave me the words from Chris Tomlin’s song “Home”:
 
There’s a better place waiting for me in heaven
Every tear will be wiped away
Every sorrow and sin erased
We’ll dance on seas of amazing grace in heavenin heaven
I’m going Home
Where the streets are golden
Every chain is broken
Oh I wanna go, Oh I wanna go
Home, where every fear is gone
I’m in Your open arms
Where I belong Home
The tears well up as I think of that moment and even now as I write. Mark was not just a teammate, a talented trainer, a funny storyteller. He was a friend. And although it’s painfully shocking to think of how he will be missed, we find some solace in knowing that he’s gone Home, which is right where he belongs.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video tribute featuring people from all over the world who were also impacted by this individual.

Categories: Uncategorized

First Element 3D Video

I recently installed the Element 3D plugin from Videocopilot that we had at the office, and used a model phone for a video. It was fun to do, and I think it turned out pretty nice. I think my favorite part is when the phone multiplies into several phones. Enjoy! Oh, and get the GNPI app too!

Categories: Uncategorized

Inspiring Documentary For Free

January 19, 2017 Leave a comment

For a few more weeks, I’m giving away my documentary, “Steadfast” as seen on PBS for free with coupon code: “newyear”. Get it now right here!

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60+ performers, 12 nations, 8 languages, 1 song

March 11, 2016 4 comments

There are lots of projects that get me excited, but this one was a once in a lifetime opportunity. This music video is one of my proudest creative achievements to date.

You could say that it was 20 years in the making. I wrote this song from the shortest chapter in the Bible when I was in high school. My band used to play it occasionally in youth group, but we didn’t do too much with it. Years later I ended up recording it myself in a home studio project, but I didn’t really like how it came out. Now fast forward to a couple of years ago.

I work as the video editor for the U.S. office of GNPI (www.gnpi.org). We have video-savvy people in strategic places all over the world. My fun little song says, “Praise the Lord all you nations…” It seemed like the perfect time to use the song to the fullest potential, using the vast network of international producers now at my disposal! I pitched the idea to our creative team and then to the executive team. It was a big project. Some called it EPIC! After nearly a year of planning, six months of work from 12 nations and eight languages around the world, this music video is now being released!

We hope it brings smiles to many faces and a small glimpse of Revelation 7:9, “…a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb.”

If you like the video, would you help us by sharing it with your friends? We’ve also created a behind the scenes video with details about those who participated in the project. If you’d like to see more of that backstory, check this out short video:

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A Good Sport

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Our summer intern, Hannah, from China had her last day at work today. She was a really good sport. She was mainly a graphic design help and helped to design our calendar for next year. I’m excited about that as it’s the ministry’s 40th anniversary and the calendar features some history in it. I also helped her learn some videos skills. She helped me set up for lot’s of shoots and then the best part was she starred in an ad that was did!

You can see the ad and the funny behind the scenes below. (And yes, I was photobombed!)

Is Your Name Tony?

photo (22)I had an unexpected encounter on the flight home. This wasn’t the international flight on a spacious 767 with TVs on every seat-back. This was on the little plane that I couldn’t stand up straight in the aisle at 6 foot 1. Two seats, little aisle, and then two more seats. To my right was a young mother with her 7 month old (A very well-behaved baby, I must say; more so than the other babies on the flight anyway!).

To my left, separated only by the narrow passage was a man that I recognized. He appeared slightly different than I remember seeing him before on a video. There was one dead giveaway. He has no arms. Just to make sure, I asked him what his name was, and when he said Tony, I knew he was the guy. We conversed and once we landed, I snapped this picture with him.

Tony Meléndez is his name. Like I said, I had seen his video online before and even showed it in church once! I am a musician. I’m a guitar player first. But I have full use of arms and fingers. Tony plays guitar and sings. He plays with his feet! Really well! He drives a car. He is truly an inspiration! Don’t take it from me. Pope John Paul II said as much when Tony played for him! So, I’m done writing. All that’s left is to embed the video that struck me and caused me to recognize this inspirational man on this little flight.

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