we survived!

back in february the mckanna family took a leap! i decided to leave 13 years of government work, most of which was spent as a probation officer, to become a worship leader at The Woods. my wife left 17 years of work with the same hospital, in the same office, to join me. we decided to follow God in where he was leading us…Macomb County Michigan!

right off the bat things seemed to move at warp speed and everything was going great. kasey was able to find a new position with the Beaumont Health System. we accepted an offer on our house after only 4 days of being listed with a realtor. so we came up north and went through some homes, only one of which we really liked. that house was actually in a contract…but the contract fell through and the realtor for that property called our realtor to see if we wanted to make an offer?!? we did and in a matter of hours we were in contract to purchase the house. so we started packing and packing. we ordered the appliances that we needed and had them set to be delivered. we filled out the change of address form that was needed. we were all set!

until the week before our closing. all of the sudden there were delays and doors that seemed to have been thrown wide open…were closing. in the matter of a week, both of our housing contracts were default and in need of extensions. deliveries that were scheduled at the house had to be rescheduled. reservations for a moving truck and trailer had to be postponed. our mail just had to be stopped. all of the sudden there was this overwhelming feeling that we had absolutely no control and no clue how things were going to work out. because we didn’t!

i called the church and made sure that we had some type of housing to move into on a temporary basis. we seemed to be starting from scratch. i became very frustrated and angry, mainly with people that as far as i’m concerned weren’t doing their jobs. but i had to come to a point were i had to just trust God to take care of my family and provide for us. He wasn’t going to forget about us in the midst of this new journey.

to make a VERY LONG and frustrating story of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails a little shorter…we ended up default on both contracts for a second time. i had to push back deliveries to the last possible date and cancelled our truck rental. we got a trailer and just loaded up the bare necessities so we could still have our house staged for showings and we could move into a parsonage near the church.

but as i’m finishing loading up the trailer…the pieces start to come back together. both contracts were adjusted and back together. deliveries were back on and so were the rentals. i started unpacking the trailer to repack it for the actual move. it all worked out for us to move on the the last possible day, to not lose the appliances and add restocking fees.

with a lot of help from great friends and family, we got loaded up and headed out…once again things were going great!

until about an hour and a half into the trip. i was driving a 26 foot Uhaul truck, pulling a 6’x12′ Uhaul trailer and something just didn’t feel right. i looked in my mirror to see that trailer sideways at the back of the truck. this wouldn’t be a problem if i was backing it up somewhere. but i was in the middle of three northbound lanes on I75, going 65 mph. traffic behind me came to a halt as i gradually pulled the truck off to the side of the road and got the whole show stopped. the trailer was going ALL OVER the place, part of the time on two of its four wheels!

i got out and found that only one of the three safety chains was holding the trailer to the truck. the one that was supposed to engage the trailer’s braking system, snapped off and never engaged. but there was NO damage to either the truck or the trailer. NONE…they didn’t even touch when i brought it all to a stop! and it was in no way due to my masterful driving skills…

we ended up having the trailer towed to our house. we were 30 minutes late for the scheduled unloading…but all were there safe and sound. the deliveries were there on time and everything got unloaded. we lost four tiki torches and the front wheel of molly’s bike. but that was it, the glass top patio table didn’t even brake!

another group of great friends…and family…were there to unload “the heaviest couches in the world”, along with my 91 year old baby grand piano, and everything else that we managed to cram in.

now i’m here on the couch a week later. the boxes to unpack are much fewer. we have beds to sleep in and i’m pretty sure some of the nicest neighbors ever. people have been overly friendly and not shy about stopping in to introduce themselves. the kids have been a huge help with that. they were even invited over to swim twice this week! kasey and i have both completed our first official weeks with new employers. we’re still walking and talking…even still talking to each other. we’re even getting accustomed to the bumper to bumper traffic, blinking yellow and red traffic lights, and all of the u-turns you have to make since you can’t turn left?!?!

through it all i can honestly say this has been an amazing start to a new journey in life! i’m excited to see what God has in store for us in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead! but as for the actual move, i’m glad to say…

we survived!

we are now officially residents of the great state of Michigan…GO BLUE!

Sunday Setlists…is BACK!

so it’s now 2012 and i’m posting my first setlist in a LONG time, since 4/1/10 to be exact! it was my second week in a new position that i have taken, as a worship leader for The Woods. i get to work with a great team of staff, not to mention all of the musicians and volunteers. i can’t wait to see what God has in store for all of us. you can read a little more about that here

this post is part of what is going on over at the worship community…specifically with the weekly posts of setlists done in churches all over world. you can check the submissions for this past weekend here

this was our palm sunday setlist, from 4/1/2012…at the woods north campus in chesterfield, mi…

1. rise and sing…by fee

then we had welcome and announcements, done by our campus pastor’s wife, jen.

2. everlasting God…by lincoln brewster

3. our God…by chris tomlin

this was followed up by worship through offering. the set-up was handled by our campus  pastor, lerrin wentworth.

4. forever reign…by hillsong united

5. great I AM…by new life worship

6. i want to know You…by Jesus culture…we just vamped on the bridge of this one

worship was followed by a time of corporate prayer. we also had a hilarious palm sunday video you can preview here

then pastor lerrin gave a great message on the fact that God did not send Jesus to fix our problems or to handle the things the way that we think He should, but He came to SAVE us.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

it was a very busy weekend, with rehearsing both for palm sunday and easter sunday…saturday night. (i am still working back in ohio and due to prior commitments couldn’t get up to michigan until saturday…) but the band and tech team came prepared and we worked through everything in three hours time. the run through and service on sunday both went great!

i was doubling as a barista on sunday morning which i enjoyed…it was tough for me not to drink more bean than i was making though! i was also excited to have several family members come up for the first time…kasey’s mom and dad, my mom and grandma…all packed in the mini van with kasey and the kids.

what is impacting me most so far, is the love that the people of the woods have for me and my family, and especially my children. everyone greets you with a smile and could not be more welcoming. molly and cooper are already making new friends and settling in quite well. little izzy even made us all some cookies to eat on our trip home.

speaking of the trip home…i have to say that the 2 1/2 hour drive back each sunday is not so fun…especially when the lawn needs mowed as soon as you arrive! but i’m thankful for being a part of what God is doing in and through the woods and i’m excited to see what He is going to do in and through the mckanna family as we join in this adventure!

sooo there you have it…

sunday setlists…is BACK!

SUPER COOPER!

this week my son received a gift, a cape. it’s not just any cape. it was made for him by his babysitter. it has “SUPER COOPER” across the back and even has a hidden pouch for him to put his map in. he was immediately obsessed and put it on. i had to pack it in behind him in the car seat, extending the safety straps a little to make room. as soon as we got home he went running through the house in search for his sword. he was now able to conquer every bad guy. and in his heart and mind he was sure that he could fly! after finding his sword we just had to go outside so he could find the bad guys and show them he was…

SUPER COOPER!

words cannot truly express the scene as he made his exit from the house and off of the back deck, into the backyard…he had the sword held high in the air and off he went running across the deck. all that stood in front of him were two small steps down to the ground. but to show his great power, he decided to just fly and not bother using the steps. this ended in one of the most epic face plants i have ever seen. (only because i’ve never actually seen any of my classic wipe outs!)

i share all of that because it is a perfect picture of what life looks like when i put on my cape  and try to do life on my own strength and power…i end up in an epic face plant! (if you’re wondering, no i don’t really have  a cape!) but i do that. i try to do things on my own wisdom, strength, power, talent, ability… some of the time the tasks are so simple that i succeed and it feeds my ego. so then i try again with a greater task or a greater decision, only do find myself face down like…

SUPER COOPER!

this morning i could not sleep. so i got ready for the day and decided to do some extra studying. i found myself in jeremiah, chapter 17. this is what it says in verses 5-8 in the new living translation…

5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. 6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land. 7 “But blessed are those who trust in the LORD
and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

at first glance i didn’t see it, i didn’t make the connection. but then i read over it a couple more times. at first i thought that i just shouldn’t trust other people…that’s the probation officer in me. but as i read it again God made it clear that i was a “mere human” too! He was reminding me that i can’t rely on my own human strength…and He reminded me of my son and his cape!

the best part of this passage is contained in the last five words. if i trust in God, rely on Him, place my hope in Him, only have confidence in Him…i will be like the trees along the riverbank…”they never stop producing fruit“!

i want that! i want that just as bad as my son wants to be…

SUPER COOPER!

FYI – we went on to the swing set and that helped him fly much better. he liked flying so much i’m pretty sure i threw my arm out pushing him for so long.

attempt…

earlier this week i had a client in my office that informed me she had been in the hospital. that isn’t all that out of the ordinary for me. a lot of clients do not have a family physician and use the ER for those purposes. others will seek medications to fill the void of a drug habit they are trying to kick. still others deal with mental illness of varying types and degrees. but i didn’t think this young lady fit any of those molds. so i inquired as to why she was there…

this lead to a story involving an overdose on anti-depressant medication, three days in the ICU, and another five days on the psychiatric unit. but she was there to tell me about it all because this act of trying to take her own life was merely an…

attempt…

i was instantly drawn back to a phone call i received last may. (you can read about that here.) the gist is that i lost a cousin to suicide. two parents lost their son. three beautiful little girls lost their daddy…in that moment, talking to this young lady, i couldn’t help but think that i wanted to be able to have that same conversation with joel. i wanted to be able to talk with him about what had happened and what was going on in his life. i wanted his act to simply be an…

attempt…

so i find myself again asking questions and seeking to bring hope to people in need of it! this morning i was reading in isaiah and specifically the 65th chapter. the very first verse brought tears to my eyes because i can see God saying the words and i can feel His disappointment.

The LORD says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name…”

i don’t know everything that this young lady was going through…i don’t know everything that my cousin joel was going through…and i definitely don’t know everything that you’re going through right now. but i know a God who is ready to respond and longing for you to find Him. so if you’re considering taking your own life for any reason, i’m begging you to STOP even before it becomes an…

attempt…

God is longing to rescue you. He longs to spend time with you and for you to get to know Him. He longs to cover you with His love, His grace, and His mercy. He longs to be your Savior. not only that, God has gone to great length to make those things happen. yet it’s a decision that you have to make. a decision to put the needle, the blade, the pills, the bottle, the keys, or the gun…DOWN! i’m begging you to take Him up on the offer and to make His efforts more than an…

attempt…

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a week ago today…

so back in december i received a random phone call from the great state of MI. i was at lunch with a friend and didn’t know the number, so i let it go to voice mail. after lunch i listened to the voice mail and at first thought it was a prank. it was a guy (lerrin wentworth) claiming to be a pastor from some church in the woods of MI and he wanted to talk with me about a worship leader position. i reluctantly called the number back and got his voice mail…so i left a message.

side note #1…i had been looking for a worship pastor position at a church for 6 years or so. some of the time i was looking harder than others. but i hadn’t sent out a resume for months. i was focusing on finishing up my masters. a lot of people know this and friends can play pranks from time to time…

ends up that really is the guy’s name and he really is a pastor. he works for The Woods church based out of Warren, MI. they had an open position in the worship department and they wanted to talk with me about that. so i sent them a resume and some links from Youtube of me leading worship and really didn’t think much of it.

side note #2…i’ve sent out A LOT of resumes. i’ve met with pastors. i’ve had phone interviews with committees. i worked part-time for 18 months or so at a church. we even flew to FL once to visit a church. but all of them ended up in rejection…except for one instance, the rejection came from the other half of the equation.

through a series of phone calls, e-mails, and a skype interview…kasey and i scheduled a trip up to visit the church. during our time there we went through was i would call the gauntlet of interviews. we ate a lot of good food! we met a lot of cool people, including the band from the north campus and i lead rehearsal with them. then i lead worship for their service on sunday morning. after leading worship we booked it to the south campus and sat through a service there. (come to find out it wasn’t in the woods at all!) that was followed by a little exit interview and prayer. not to mention the caramel macchiato from the church’s coffee shop.

side note #3…that’s my favorite drink from st. arbucks and the church’s barista knocked it out of the park!

we jumped in the truck and headed home. i let kasey talk so i knew what she was thinking about the trip, the church, the staff we met, anything and everything that was coming to mind…we prayed and we waited for three long days to talk with the church staff again and see where things stood. those days were filled with questions, doubt, discouragement, attacks, encouragement, confirmation, more questions, more doubt…you name it, we thought about it!

then on wednesday, 2/15/12, i was offered “a package” from the church. that package included a full-time position in their worship department. i had prayed about it and had a painfully low number to expect and a number that i could live with, in regards to compensation. after speaking with the head pastor of the church, kasey and i needed to pray about whether this was where God wanted us as a family or not…it had to be a family decision.

thursday night we prayed with some very dear friends of ours. the kind of friends that know EVERYTHING about us. they’ve been through highs and the VERY LOWS of our lives for the last 12 years or so. in the midst of our time together kasey made this statement about the church, “i know this is where God wants us to be.” we prayed, cried, reminisced, and laughed at my expense (insert long story about no hot water for my shower in CO). but the decision was clear.

it was confirmed over and over again through out the process. whether it was with my school schedule, the people we met, interactions with other churches, through friends, through prayer, and even that “package”. God had opened doors, cleared paths, and made it as CLEAR as possible…we were supposed to make the move to MI.

a week ago today…

i accepted their package and agreed to join an amazing group of leaders up north. i was more than excited to do so. i was put on speaker phone and was greeted with cheers on the other end when i told them that we were putting a for sale sign in our yard…they were gathered around the phone. thankfully they were excited about the decision as well.

through this journey of several years i’ve been all over the map. i can see times of anger, resentment, discouragement, questioning, and even depression. i can see poor decisions being made on my part. at the same time i can see that God was with me throughout the journey. i can see His love, mercy, and grace at work in my life. i can see times of great excitement in leading people. i can see so many individuals that i have been able to develop relationships with and invest in. i can see people who have invested in and encouraged me as well. i can see a great deal that i have learned!

i now have a much better understanding of these two verses in isaiah. because there were so many times that i really thought i knew where i was supposed to be and what His will looked like…but i didn’t! His ways were much higher…far beyond anything i could have imagined…and i am so thankful for that! we have a long road ahead, but i know that He will take care of us!

now the mckanna family begins a new journey and it officially started…

a week ago today…

PS – anyone want to buy a house? PLEASE!