That Is Why They Call it The Present.

kung-fu-panda-dreamworksOne of the gifts we bought our girls this Christmas this year was the DVD of “Kung Fu Panda.”  Of course, by now we’ve already seen it about a dozen times, so we are beginning to quote large portions of it to one another.  One of the quotes I love is by Oogway, the wise, Yoda-like turtle who bestows Kung Fu wisdom to Master Shifu and the Furious Five.  In a somewhat formulaic but otherwise touching moment, he encourages Po, the hapless and reluctant hero: “Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  But today is a gift.  That is why they call it the present.”

With that in mind, I want to take this New Year’s Day to take a look back at the adventure that was 2008 and prognosticate upon what might be 2009.

2008: YESTERDAY IS HISTORY.

Last year was certainly a memorable one artistically.  I don’t think I’ve experienced this amount of diversity in artistic expression.  In the past year:

::  ML3 played at a prison, various local coffee cafes and concert venues, and three fundraisers (Playmakers, Twin Lakes Food Bank, and  Proclaim! International).
::  Led worship at 119 worship services at my church.
::  Played at 42 different gigs locally.
::  In May, went on a missions trip to Italy with Bob Kilpatrick Ministries, presenting two worship conferences in Rome and Italy.  (Thank you once again to all of you who generously supported this missions trip!)
::  Worked on two major album projects (Monica Stahl and Jim Heinze), and produced the sound design for a local play presented by Imprint Theatre.
::  Signed to one book deal with Moody Publishers (!).

2009: TOMORROW IS A MYSTERY.

More than likely, 2009 will build on things that began in 2008.

::  I may join Bob Kilpatrick again on another of his Italy adventures, as we have built some good relationships with the people there, and we have been invited back.
::  My book, Imagine That: Discovering Your Unique Role as a Christian Artist, will be released by Moody in July, and I expect that it will create some opportunities for me and hopefully for my church as well.
::  I’ve been playing around with the idea of doing a semi-live album of my material with ML3.  I admit I’m somewhat motivated by the fact that our drummer, Steve Liberti, will be leaving for an overseas missions position.  And although I am happy for the Liberti family, I know I’ll miss him and his drumming.
::  Of course, I will continue to serve at my church, and continue to learn what is this thing called worship.

But I’m not trying to make too many plans, as I am learning that my plans aren’t anywhere near as important—or as fun—as God’s plans for me.

0810_kungfupandaNow: TODAY IS A GIFT.

In some ways, I feel like Po—a little bit overwhelmed by the prospects before me, but also excited for them as well.  One of the things that I’m beginning to learn and practice about being present in the present is to enjoy the journey more.

May you all have a blessed 2009.  And thanks for your friendship and support.

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