Monday, October 24, 2005

Brooklyn Tabernacle Music Conference

We were blessed again this year to be able to attend the Brooklyn Tabernacle’s Music Conference. There is really too much to tell, but I’ll try to give a brief synopsis of the weekend.

The Opening session with Carol Cymbala, began Friday with prayer and praise, as well as brief introductions of some of her staff. “Building a Strong Music Ministry” with David & Nicole Binion followed that. They have a great new song, “I Will Rejoice” which we will be teaching our church as soon as I get the chord chart. Beginning that evening at 7 p.m. we enjoyed Choir Rehearsal with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, which included a music reading session of most of the new project, “I’m Amazed”. It was somewhat different this year in that we had printed music to the songs we were to learn for Sunday, when in the past we have actually learned by rote – the way they usually teach songs to the choir.

Saturday morning we began with a Praise & Worship time with some of their singers and the Brooklyn Tab band. Their band is INCREDIBLE! They just pick songs, pick a key, and go, with no music. After that time, we enjoyed teaching from Babbie Mason, “Ready, Set, Write”. She also sang “With All My Heart”, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” (in her own inimitable way), and closed with “To The Cross”. After Babbie, Lari Goss, well known arranger and orchestrator, hosted a Q&A Forum. Following lunch, we enjoyed the workshop “Effective Drama Ministry” with Susan Pettrey (the Cymbala’s daughter). Susan is an anointed speaker (shades of her Dad!)… they closed the session with scenes from one of their recent presentations, “The Unexpected God” – when God doesn’t do what you expect Him to do – built around the life of John the Baptist. Very moving and thought provoking. The closing session with Carol Cymbala was, as usual, full of prayer and worship.

Sunday we enjoyed Worship @ the Brooklyn Tabernacle. They have asked that you attend only one service, but we were fortunate enough to get in for two services, the 12 noon, and the 3:30 p.m. (They also have a 9 a.m. service). Part of the service, because of the conference, included conference attendees singing with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Yvette and I did not this year, but have in years past, and it is a blast. There is a “wall of sound” that comes from the choir loft that you can only compare to what heaven must be like. That many singers, in that concentrated of an area, singing their hearts out to the Lord. It’s incredible to listen to from the congregation as well. A treat this year was the choir’s encore premiere of “I’m Amazed” during the 3:30 p.m. worship time. This was part of the reasoning for our attending 2 services, as well, since we knew the premiere of “I’m Amazed” would take most of the service time. It was wonderful to hear Pastor Cymbala speak at the 12 noon service. His messages are always very conversational, timely, and Spirit-led. His emphasis this Sunday was on prayer – a common topic in his speaking, and one that the church needs to hear, since most churches are emaciated and powerless because of their prayerlessness.

Although it is expensive to go to NYC, if you ever have the chance to attend the Brooklyn Tabernacle Music Conference, or to just attend worship or one of their prayer meetings, it is well worth the cost. It is definitely a life changing experience.

Jogging in a Jug

Okay, this will be a quick one, and I'll probably get back to fairly consistent blogging this week... after a long absence. This is just a recipe that I received from someone at our church. As they say back home, "it'll cure what ails ya" - well, it does help if you're having stomach issues. Have been taking my 2 ounces in the morning for the last few weeks, and it has helped me!

4 oz. Vinegar
14 oz. Apple Juice or Cider
14 oz. Welch's Grape Juice

Drink 2 oz. every morning.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

New York Philharmonic

Tonight we attended a concert at Avery Fisher Hall to hear the New York Philharmonic.

The program:
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
Simon Trpceski, piano
BARTÓK Dance Suite
BRITTEN Sinfonia da Requiem
RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 3

Although the Bartok left a bit to be desired (brass were all over the place - several missed entrances and playing in the wrong places), the Britten Sinfonia and Simon Trpceski's stunning performance of the Rachmaninoff 3rd made up for it.

Who knew my musical tastes were so diverse?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Drumstruck (Off Broadway)

DRUMSTRUCK - great title, isn't it? If you are interested in African culture and/or like Drums, this Off Broadway show is for you! Not quite as entertaining as STOMP last year, but great fun nonetheless. Loved the interactive nature of the show - as you enter the theatre, you'll quickly notice there is an African drum on every seat!!! Let the fun begin! Try for 1/2 price tickets at the Tickets Tickets booth on Times Square...

Late Night with David Letterman

Today we finally made it to see a taping of the David Letterman show! We've talked about it for many years, and have tried to get tickets, but never succeeded. This time, we did! How did we do it? Called the number provided on their website, promptly at 11 a.m. the day of the show as directed. It was busy for a long time, but when I got through, they told us we were # 3 & 4. Well evidently 3&4 is a pretty good spot, because I think we were the last two to get in from the 'standby' line. Anyway it was great fun - exactly what you would expect in a live taping. The band was actually the best part of the show. Paul Shaffer and those cats can really play!!! Content of the show was alright - typical 'political' slants that you would expect. Guests were "The Rock" and Kit Armstong, a kid pianist, who could really play.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tuesday Prayer Meeting @ The Brooklyn Tabernacle

Tonight we were priviledged to attend the Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting at The Brooklyn Tabernacle. As always (we have been many times now) it was a wonderful evening of worship and prayer. The thing that always strikes me about their prayer time is the unhindered, uninhibited, and unfettered prayer of the congregation. People are very relaxed and know they have the freedom to call upon the name of the Lord and cry out to Him.

The meeting officially begins at 7 pm, but the doors open at 5 pm, and from what we can always observe, people begin assembling to pray, and begin praying at 5:00. Every time we get there (around 6 pm or so) the downstairs portion of the sanctuary is already considerably filled. The best seats we could find this time were in the 2nd section from the front on the right side of the tech booth. At 6:30 one of the Associate Pastors went to the microphone and asked for the other Pastors/Staff to come down front to prayer with any in attendance who desired individual prayer. The middle aisle immediately filled with well over 100 people! it was an awesome sight to say the least. People not ashamed to express their need for prayer... The line stayed full until 7 pm when the "offical" prayer meeting began.

Tonight we experienced a first - there was a film crew in attendance, taping the service, for future use in a DVD and, from what we were able to gather, future Teaching Materials / Study Guide for Pastor Cymbala's recent book, "Breakthrough Prayer". The cameras did not effect the flow or the spirit of the service whatsoever. How refreshing!

The service was filled with prayers, individual, small group, and corporate, as well as great worship and an inspiring word from Pastor Cymbala. If you ever get the chance to attend Prayer Meeting at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, you will be forever changed!

If you just can't get to Brooklyn, NY, but are in the Atlanta area, feel free to be our guest at Truth Tabernacle of Praise on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. It's not quite a Brooklyn Tab experience, but we're working on it. (Brooklyn Tab is the inspiration and vision for our prayer meeting.)