Friday, November 13, 2009

The Dirty Black Shirt, Part 2

OK, so I've established that I don't want my life to be a dirty black shirt, showing all of my shortcomings and sin for all to see.

But, I DO want my life to be a dirty black shirt.


One of the things Jesus was criticized for was the fact that he hung around with tax collectors and sinners. One of the things present-day Christians are criticized for is "being too close to the world."

How do you:

Stay close to God while befriending the world?
Live in and not of the world?
Love the sinner, hate the sin?

I want my heart to be clean, but I also want to be involved in other people's dirt, so that God can use me to help them get rid of their own dirty shirts.

God, let me stay so close to you so that my shirts don't get dirty, but also let me stay so connected with humanity that I'm not afraid to get soiled now and then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

OK, So I'm Back (and hopefully with something to say).

My last post was from this past July 4th. It was about my dad (you can read it for yourself, it's right below this one), and after writing it, I really felt like there was nothing I could really say that would transition out of that post. I really wanted to honor my father.

I love you Dad.

Anyway, my wife and I did our little morning workout (a story in itself, I might add), and it involved a good bit of abs work. Why is this important? Hang on, I'll tell you...

This morning, I wore a black shirt. We have a white dog. Get the picture? After my sweaty body was on the floor, and the workout was finished, I noticed a lot of white dog hair, and other sundry floor items, on my shirt. It completely grossed me out.

But then, I got to thinking, "I'm no dirtier than when I wear a white shirt. It's just that the black shirt shows it up in more contrast."

And that's when this thought occurred to me: We can go through life not noticing (or not examining, or not paying attention to) our dirtiness, but then, something (or someone) comes along and it gets clearly pointed out to us.

You know, the issue that pushes you over the edge, the person that seems to have grace in every situation (and you really admire them for it), the Bible verse that pricks us as we read it, the Holy Spirit gently bidding us on to change. These are all ways God tries to speak to us, to show us our sinfulness, providing a way out, to be clean again.

God, I don't want to be a dirty shirt. Please make me clean again.

Stay tuned for more. While typing this, I had another "dirty black shirt" analogy thought.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Born on the Fourth of July

No, this post isn't about the Tom Cruise movie, nor is it about our American freedoms.

This post is about a man. A man, born July 4th, 1927, the youngest of many children, the son of a simple farmer. He grew up in Gueydan, LA, working in his father's sharecropper fields, and didn't get past the sixth grade.

He married the love of his life on November 7, 1946, a woman also of simple means. She was from Erath, LA, and they settled in the Vermilion Parish seat of Abbeville, LA.

They had five children, six including a miscarried child. Their children were quite spread out in age; their oldest was married and pregnant before their youngest was born.

This man was the hardest working man I ever met. I've seen pictures of him working in the southern Louisiana oilfields, with men who would just-as-soon rip you limb from limb as shake your hand. This man worked on the crew who cleared the way for I-10 between Lafayette and Baton Rouge (contracting Yellow Fever in the process).

This man was a business owner. He owned Ray's Auto Sales in Abbeville, a used auto parts and towing service. He was also an avid horseman and cattle farmer. Again, always working, always taking care of his business, always looking out for his animals.

This man was my father. Raymon Allen Gaspard, who died June 18, 1988, was a great man, only I didn't let him know that I thought he was. I wasn't the best son a guy could ask for. I was ungrateful, arrogant, cocky, and manipulative, and I'm so deeply sorry that I treated him with less than the absolute respect that was owed to him.

Today would be his 82nd birthday.

Dad, I miss you tremendously. I wish you were here, to see my beautiful wife, to see my wonderful girls, to know that you were a great influence on the man that I am today. Thank you for being such a great provider, example, and friend, although I would have never admitted those things to your face.

I can't wait to see you again, when we walk the streets of gold together. We have plenty of catching up to do. I just hope that I have made you half as proud as I am of you.

Happy birthday.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Flip-Flops, Part 4 of 4

OK, so this is our last installment of the Flip-Flops series' video openers. For this one, we decided to do something a little different from the others.

Here's the (rather boring) original:

And here is the final version:

A huge shout-out to Adam, our editor. He did a great job on all the videos. Also, a huge thanks to Mr. Dennis, the father of our graphic artist, for providing the setting. He lives right on the beach, and let us come over and invade his house for a couple of days for the shoot.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Funny

OK, so this past week was Father's Day, and it's been stupid hot down here in Cajun country.

I know. What do these two have in common? Stay with me.

Both of these scenarios got me thinking of a piece we did five years ago. Our message series was called "The US Male." Get it? Anyway, the original idea was that all of our senior staff would come out dressed as postal workers and do a little stupid dance. Well, everyone backed out, and my pastor says, "Hey man, you're do it."

So I did it. Except I did it on video. It was, like, 167 degrees that day (evidenced by the huge amount of sweat seen in some of the shots).

A couple of funny things about this shoot, apart from the heat:

1. I had a guy was sitting in the middle of the road in his truck, playing this song over and over for me to dance to. I'm sure the neighbors were wondering what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks was going on! I literally had a piece of paper and a golf pencil in my pocket. As I would do one dance, we'd stop tape, I'd pull out the paper and pencil, and cross it off, then move on to the next dance. Efficiency, you know...

2. We saw an actual postal worker out there. Now, I know the USPS is a little weird about their stuff, and I was worried we'd (I'd) get in trouble, but he just looked at me, smiled and gave me the "what's up?" chin lift. All good in the hood.

Anyway, here's the vid. I've lost weight since then. Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flip-Flops, Part 3

OK, so this past weekend was Father's day, and the pastor's message was on fatherhood (naturally). We created a sermon opener to reflect the whole "following in his footsteps" kind of thing without being too obvious.

Here's the raw video. You'll notice a cut to black towards the end. That represents about a minute or so of locked-down footage, while we waited for the surf to come in, wiping away the footsteps.

So, here's the finished product. Notice the sound design (footsteps & surf), and the little bit of eye candy at the end. We got wooden letters, and punched them into the sand, shot that by itself, then composited that footage into the master shot. I LOVE making my own props, and finding new ways to do things.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the piece!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I found this little gem when I was searching for some files the other day. I had totally forgotten about it.

I did all of the gut-string acoustic parts on my 6-string bass, plus we added in a solo section, so I could show that I can play more than just root-fifth!

Anyway, hope you enjoy it. I've lost about 20 or so pounds since then (this was 2005), and we now record with audience mics (trust me...there was uproarious applause when I was done). Also, we now use in-ear monitors (I had forgotten how UGLY floor wedges are!).

I hope all you dads out there have a great Father's Day. Be good to your daughters!