Being a Foster Parent Is a Gift

Philip Personal Leave a Comment

Kim and I have had a lot of people tell us that we are doing such a great thing by being foster parents. That our kids are so blessed to be in our home, but I’m pretty sure that it’s the other way around. We have learned more about the character of God through foster care than anything else. Jesus came “not to be served but to serve others and give his life as a ransom for many.” I think this is a pretty great description of what foster care is… serving others, not for your own benefit, but literally giving your life away so that someone else can live.

Every kid needs a safe home environment and loving parents, and that 1 ingredient can completely alter the trajectory of a kid’s life.

My friend recently had a birthday, and it got me thinking about gifts…

Everything you have is a gift from God.

Everything I have is a gift from God.

My house, my car, my wife, my kids, my parents, my in-laws, the food in our pantry, our health, my job, my ability to work, my gifts and talents, Kim’s gifts and talents, our friends, our neighbors, our church, the country we live in.

I haven’t earned any of these things. I did nothing to deserve them.

Even the things that I’ve “worked hard” for are gifts of grace from God. Believing that…how in the world could I not use everything I have for God’s glory?

It is a joy to use the gifts, the “stuff” that he has graciously given me to show others His love.

Being a foster dad has been a gift from God. God used the last 5 years to remind me of what He did for me. God loved me first when I was far from Him. He sought me when I wanted nothing to do with Him. Jesus comes to us – in whatever messy state we are in, and HE LOVES US. Think you need to earn God’s love? You don’t. You can’t. Jesus literally gave his life as a ransom – a payment for the release of a prisoner – so that I could experience freedom from bondage to sin. Jesus stepped in and gave his life away so that I could have a new life.

As difficult and messy as being a foster parent is…it’s a gift. It’s a gift worth giving to a child in need, and it’s certainly a gift worth receiving from a child in need.

Want to learn more about Foster Care? The Foster Care Initiative is a great place to start learning.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FOSTER CARE

 

 

Sermon Notes – 10 Commandments

Philip Sermon Notes

Last Sunday Halim Suh preached an incredible sermon on the 2nd commandment. Here are my notes. Check out the full length sermon here.

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

(Exodus 20:3-6 ESV)

Commandment #2 is saying “Don’t worship the true God in a false way.”

The Israelites worshipping the golden calf was breaking the 2nd commandment. They were trying to worship the true God, but were doing it in a false way.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#sermonnotes”]A God who is not jealous is like a husband who doesn’t care if his wife is cheating on him.[/inlinetweet]

We make images of God in our hearts and our minds. You must not worship the true God as you prefer Him to be or only some aspects that He reveals, but rather as He reveals himself fully in His word.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#sermonnotes”]God is not a buffet line he is a person. You can’t pick and choose what you like about Him.[/inlinetweet]

Ways we edit God:

“I’d like to think of God as a God of love.”

“I don’t think God would send people to hell.”

“I don’t think God would cause bad things to happen, God must have had nothing to do with that.”

By editing God in these ways we are throwing out his sovereignty, righteousness, justice and control over all things.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the 2nd commandment:

  • He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Colossians 1:15 ESV)
  • For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily. (Colossians 2:9 ESV)

10 commandments - sermon notes

We also try to edit Jesus and make him more of a Prozac Jesus that makes you feel better, or an Amazon.com Jesus that gives us what we want, but [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#sermonnotes”]the true Jesus will always give you what you need even at the cost of what you want.[/inlinetweet]

Jesus points out your wrongs and gives you forgiveness, and does the same to your worst enemy. You can’t earn His love it’s free, it’s grace!

What difference does our obedience make?

When you keep his commandments you leave a legacy by the way you worship. You are either pointing to the true God or you are showing the world a god you made up.

We either point to Jesus for salvation or we lead people astray to worship a make believe god.

The 2014 Highlights That Facebook Overlooked

Philip Personal Leave a Comment

A few weeks ago I saw my “Year In Review” from Facebook, and thought I should let you know what my life was really like in 2014.

Here’s the unfiltered  less filtered (foster care requires filtering) version of my year in review:

To give you a clear picture of how 2014 started, I have to take you back to December 2013. In December Kim and I learned we were miraculously pregnant. It really was a miracle, we were using birth control and had no intentions of making a baby. Obviously, God had different plans. At eight weeks we were able to see the fluttering heart beat. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. We knew from the beginning that there was something special about this baby.

In January 2014, while going to a routine check up, the doctors couldn’t find the heartbeat that was once there.

We lost our baby.

In the weeks that followed, we cried, we prayed and we trusted that it was all part of God’s plan…the pain was still there, and the suffering was real, but [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]going through this suffering increased our longing for Jesus to come back and make all the sadness and pain go away forever.[/inlinetweet]

In February, Kim and I both shared publicly how we were handling having the miscarriage.

Read Kim’s blog here. http://lovingcharlie.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/update-the-last-3-months/
Read my blog here. http://lovingcharlie.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/philips-thoughts/

In March while I was playing at Verge Conference (check out my drum cam video of the song “Love Shines”)

 we got a call from our foster agency when we weren’t even on the call list, AND during an agency wide placement hold. They told us about about a “Sweet Little Girl” who needed to be placed immediately. She ended up being our 2nd foster placement.

Click here to read about this sweet little girl. http://www.eatloveadopt.com/blog/2014/5/11/family-of-4

In May I reunited (filled in) with my old band The Rocketboys to play at Suburbia Music Festival! It was incredible. A part from getting some great hang time with the Rocketboys, I met Echosmith before I knew anything about them…and now I hear “The Cool Kids” song on the radio ALL the time. I also got to see and hang with one of my all time favorite bands – Third Eye Blind!

“Sweet Little Girl” was able to come to this festival with Kim as well, and she loved it!

After loving on “Sweet Little Girl” for a few months, she was able to return to her family. It was a difficult time for a while. We tried to prepare Caleb as best as we could, but he still had a difficult time understanding why she left.

During the summer I picked up several extra drumming gigs since Aaron was on a three month sabbatical. One of those extra gigs was a band called Waterloo Revival out of Austin, TX. These guys are incredible, and George Birge and Cody Cooper and 2 of the hardest working musicians I’ve ever met. These guys have a drive and a passion for songwriting and entertaining that is unmatched in the modern country music scene. That drive to succeed recently landed them a record deal with Big Machine Records, also known as the label that Taylor Swift is on.

I loved playing with them, but couldn’t make the commitment they were looking for in a band member.

Here is a clip from a T.V. show we did before they moved to Nashville – http://vimeopro.com/songwritersacrosstexas/past-episodes/video/98893934
We play a song starting at around 20 minutes.

Even better than that clip – Listen to their first single “Hit The Road” – 

Kangaroo and me

In August I traveled to Australia with The Aaron Ivey Band. This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of.
We were asked to lead worship at the A29 Church Planting Conference, and along with it we played 3 other one night events that Matt Chandler spoke at.

We played in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.

I came back so excited to get back to my job – creating resources to help equip worship leaders Kyle Lent in Brisbaneall over the world. Before we left, I had gotten several emails from people asking for permission to translate some of the blogs and songs that we have posted on Vergenetwork.org and Austinstoneworship.com, and of course I always let them, but it never crossed my mind how much of an impact a simple blog post or a song could actually have.

We were able to attend 2 churches in Australia that had been using our resources and were asking for more. Instead of associateing them with an email address, I got to see their face, Getting ready for Austin Stone Worship in Brisbanelearn their names, and have a real connection. I think I have taken for grated my job, because sometimes it feels like just that…a job, but the fact of the matter is that God is using these resources and songs to shape worship ALL OVER THE WORLD. I see God moving in powerful ways through the resources that my team so “easily” creates…and it makes me realize we can do more, and we need to do more.

We are not just creating resources to help people be better at leading worship or specific songs….[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]by God’s grace we are helping Christians become worshippers of Jesus.[/inlinetweet]

All Hat No Cadillac - Austin Country Cover BandAlso in August, the country band that I started with a few friends had our first show at the Rattle Inn in Austin. This might be one of the greatest country cover band’s you’ll ever hear. We play all your favorite country hits from the 90’s. We are called All Hat No Cadillac. The band consists of myself, Marcus Dawes, Wes Ardis, Jimmie Ingram, and Micah Vasquez. Come to our next show!

In September, two weeks after I got back from Australia, we got the call for “Little Dude”.
Little dude was in the NICU for the first 5 months of his life, fighting for his life every single day. The doctors told us there were a few nights they stayed up all night with him wondering if he would make it. Well, he did make it, and he has already overcome so much in the past 9 months that he has been alive. He was discharged from the NICU straight into our care.

Our life has been filled with doctor visits, physical therapy visits, and the normal CPS and family visits for the past 4 months. It has been one heck of a ride, but the ever present smile on little dude’s face makes it all worth it. He is a fighter, and some day he will change the world with that smile.

In November Kim and I celebrated 6 years of marriage. Marrying Kim was the best decision I have ever made.

In December we found out that we made an anniversary baby! Woo Hoo!

Having a pregnant wife who is very sick, a 3 year old, and a 10 month old foster baby is extremely difficult. 2015 may be the year I lose my sanity…but let’s hope not!

 

Professional Drummer < Amateur Dad

Philip Personal 3 Comments

When I die I hope people don’t say “Philip was a good drummer”.

When I was young and naive (because i’m so old and mature now right?), being the best drummer I could be AND having people notice was very important to me.

I can honestly say that although I still long to be excellent at the drums (and in every thing I do), God has shown me that my identity is not wrapped up in how well I perform behind a drum kit.

I have had a few specific moments in my life that could have laid out an entirely different life than the one I currently live. I’m so thankful for these moments because I can look back on them and see how God used circumstance, His word, and my community to lead me toward wisdom in these difficult decisions.

The first major drumming gig I was offered was also the first time that I got to see how the majority of touring bands built around one “frontman” works. No rehearsal, no audition, just learn the songs, fly to the gig, and run over a few things in soundcheck before the show.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]The first gig is your audition.[/inlinetweet]

This is when I learned that any pro drummer can learn songs and play a gig, but [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]what a major touring band wants is someone they can live on a bus with for a year.[/inlinetweet]

This gig was extremely difficult to turn down, yet very easy to turn down at the same time.

It was difficult because I grew up listening to this band: on the radio, on MTV and to their albums on my third generation iPod. Playing these songs would have been a dream come true. This specific tour was around 6 different countries, on a plane, in a bus, and getting paid very well.

However, there is always a different type of currency to consider when talking about a tour this big. Kim and I had recently become foster parents, and we were placed with a 2 week old baby a year prior to me getting the call about this specific gig. Caleb was only about a year old, and my thoughts were that this was the time in his life that he needed me and the time that Kim needed me most. My naive brain was thinking “maybe I could say yes to a gig like this in the future, when Caleb is older and is more self sufficient.”

My good friend Mike challenged me with the thought that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]kids need their dad increasingly more and more as they grow up.[/inlinetweet] Those words have stuck with me, and have proven to be more true with every day I walk through life with Caleb.

Looking back on my decision to pass on this gig, I’m thankful for the path that God has laid out before me, as messy as it may be at times.

Caleb needs me.

He needs his father present in his life.

He needs me to show him what a loving daddy looks like, what a man looks like. If I don’t show him and model it for him, he will look to other men, and other things places to try and figure out these things.

I want Caleb to always be able to come to me with any questions he has. I encourage questions. When Caleb stops asking me questions – that’s when I’ll have a problem.

Caleb turns 3 years old in January. Right now he loves playing with tractors in his sandbox, wrestling with me, and having dance parties to my pop playlist.

No matter how pure and innocent Caleb appears to be on the outside, he needs my guidance, my correction and my unconditional love…every. single. day.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]My son needs me the most today, and I’m certain that the same statement will be true tomorrow.[/inlinetweet]

How To Search Amazon for Deals up to 90% Off

Philip Life Hacks Leave a Comment

My friend recently told me of a very interesting hobby he has. He buys items on Amazon.com and sells them on eBay. He told me that you can actually search Amazon.com by how much % off an item is from it’s regular price.

You can do this by hacking the amazon url to include &pct-off=90- at the very end of url. (change 90 to whatever % off you want to search by)

If you would rather not try to hack the Amazon.com URL, use the helpful links below!

When searching for items, be sure to look at the “More Buying Choices”. They are usually the ones that are the best deals!

Amazon.com Deal Finder Cheat Sheet

Click on a % below to search that category for that % off of items!

Drums and Percussion: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

All Musical Instruments: 90% – 80%70%60%50%40%30%20%10%

Guitars: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Studio Recording Equipment: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Tools: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Sports and Outdoors: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10q%

Books: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Camera and Photo: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Electronics: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Video Games: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Computers and Accessories: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Clothing, Shoes and Jewelry: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Beauty: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Home and Kitchen: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Cell Phones and Accessories: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

DVD, Movies and TV: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Furniture and Decor: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Baby & Toddler Toys: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

Kids Sports & Outdoors: 90% – 80% – 70% – 60% – 50% – 40% – 30% – 20% – 10%

What’s your favorite shopping category on Amazon.com?

Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the cheat sheet!

An Open Letter To Mom & Dad

Philip Personal Leave a Comment

Dear Mom & Dad,Text message

I got a random text from Daniel Wheeler yesterday with about 10 pictures from our high school days and it made me think about y’all.

I rarely post #TBT pictures (throw back Thursday) but I posted one today.

It’s amazing how a picture can take you back to that specific moment of time and bring back all the emotions and feelings you had at that time. Sorta like a digital ebenezer…sorta…but…not exactly.

Remembering the moments that these pictures were taken made me thankful for the way God has guided my footsteps in life, and sprinkled in some very influential people along the way that helped shaped me into the person that I am today.

Mom and Dad, I’m so incredibly thankful for both of you.

I don’t think I have ever fully appreciated your role in my life until I had my own kids (and i’m sure i’ll have more appreciation when I become a grandparent some day!).

When I was a kid, I took you both for granted. I took for granted all of the sacrifices you made in order for me to have a life.

Most things in life can be outsourced, managed, or automated by a process or program. I now know from experience that parenting is not one of those things. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]A parent has to be willing to drop everything at a moments notice to be there for their kids.[/inlinetweet]

I remember you both doing that for me.

There still isn’t a “How To” guide for how to help form and shape your children. You guide and shepherd as best as you know how with the bible to light your path along the way.

I now get the chance to experience this as I father my son, and the foster kids that spend time in our family for a season. You have both taught me some very important lessons that I hope to put in practice as I try to figure out how to be a good dad.

You taught me to:

  • Pray for my kids daily, and be in the Word daily

Mom, I remember waking up (on the mornings that I wasn’t woken up by you for school) and finding you in the breakfast nook, praying for us and reading your bible EVERY SINGLE DAY. Still to this day you get up in the morning, make coffee, read your bible and pray. You never once forced me to read my bible, or to go to church, but because I saw that it was important to you, it became important to me.

  • Love my kids unconditionally

I did some really stupid stuff growing up. You name it and between Matthew, Daniel and me, we probably did it. Sometimes by the grace of God we got caught, and sometimes by the grace of God we were spared from being given over to something completely. No matter what we were dealing with, you were both there in the middle of it, loving us, correcting us, and nudging us in the right direction.

  • Trust that God has a better plan than the one you dream up for your kids

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Y’all never pressured me to do any certain thing with my life. I was given the freedom to make choices, make mistakes, and to learn on my own. Sometimes the only way I can actually learn something is to stubbornly “see for myself”. Y’all never once told me that I had to grow up and get a real job, or that I couldn’t do something. You believed in me, and even more – trusted that God was in complete control of my future.

Thank you Mom and Dad. For praying for me, for loving me unconditionally, and for giving space in my life to allow God to do HIS work. I love you both!

*This was originally sent as an email before it was published here.

**I am capable of writing a meaningful letter to someone I love once every 5 years give or take…so don’t assume I’m always this introspective and reflective…or cheesy…well ok i’m always this cheesy.

How I Earned Double My Salary and Why It Still Wasn’t Enough

Philip Personal Leave a Comment

There once was a short period of time in my life where I had more money than I knew what to do with, and it always found a way to make me believe I needed just a little bit more.

When I started working my current job, the finance department was supposed to pay me twice a month. They did that, but they accidentally paid me a full month’s pay twice a month. So instead of getting half a month’s pay every 2 weeks, I got a full month’s pay every two weeks.

Can you say JACKPOT???

This was the very first “real grown up” job I ever had. Therefore going from earning everything from self-employment, where I had all sorts of random streams of income coming in with no rhyme or reason, I didn’t catch on to the error. I honestly thought that this just must be what it feels like to have a “real” job with a “real” paycheck. I was ecstatic, for the first time in my life, it seemed like I had enough money to pay all my bills and spend money on other things that I wanted.

This went on for about 2 months.

It all came to a halt once the finance department found the error. They informed me of what had happened and we quickly worked out a deal for the overage to come out of my future paychecks in order to pay it all back within that specific tax year. This mean’t that what I had currently been getting was going to be cut in half, along with $200 extra taken out of every paycheck to make up the difference.

I wasn’t mad about the mistake, in fact I was grateful that it hadn’t gone on for longer, because I’m not sure how I would have paid it all back.

You would think that I would have saved some of the money that I had been making…but I hadn’t. I had no extra money to help payback the overage. I had taken two month’s of pay, and spent ALL OF IT in a month. When I look back on that error, I see the way that money deceived me.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@FillUpLS”]When I earned more…I spent more. In fact I spent all of it.[/inlinetweet] I look back on the time that I earned double my salary, and it still didn’t quench the desire to have more money. At the end of each month I was eagerly awaiting my next paycheck because the money was gone and I had more stuff that I “needed”.

Money is deceiving, you think all you need is more money to be happy, or to get by in life…but in reality, all you need is to ask God to help you be content with what you have.

Getting more money never satisfies.

More money is never enough.

The only way to be satisfied is to be content with what you have, and know that God will provide for your every need, even if it means not getting something you want, or you think you need. My confidence is in the Lord, not in the money that He allows to flow through my hands.

Stone & Crow Recording

Philip From the Studio Leave a Comment

I’ve had to honor of tracking drums for Adam Stone and Nate Crowely the last couple of days at the Audio Village. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this record. It’s always a pleasure to work on a project that I know is going to end up being one of my favorite records. This is one of those projects.

Kyle got some of the best drum sounds I’ve ever heard at The Audio Village, and all the players on this project and top notch. I hope I get to work with all of them again.

Check them out Stone & Crow on Facebook! – https://www.facebook.com/stoneandcrow

 

Photo Jul 22, 2 50 00 PM Photo Jul 22, 2 47 50 PM Photo Jul 21, 12 23 07 PM Photo Jul 21, 3 30 38 PM Photo Jul 21, 3 30 29 PM

Custom Drum Set Top View

26" maple bass drum

 

How To Use Backing Tracks With Your Band – Intro To Ableton Live

Philip Ableton Live Leave a Comment

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In this 2nd “Intro to Ableton Live” video I explain how to start using tracks within your “Master Set List” and how to route it to separate the click from the tracks.

See the first video.

This is just a step up from using Ableton solely as a click track. There are several ways to achieve the same result without using Ableton Live, for instance….mix down all of your tracks to a stereo track where you main out sends are panned hard right…and then pan click hard left.

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