Leadership

Prayers at Dawn | Piano Instrumental Interlude [Episode 104, September 30, 2018]

Prayers at Dawn – Piano Interlude

My morning prayers began well before dawn on this significant day.   This is the day that I close the book on eleven years of ministry at St. Simons Community Church.   Sunday, September 30th, 2018.

Although my alarm was set for 6:30 AM, sleep eluded me and I found myself awake around 4:45 AM.   By 5:00 AM I was enjoying my time of devotion and prayer.  This piano composition came shortly afterwards.    The emotions that were swirling around me were numerous, including excitement but also some pain, grief, and anxiety.   Would I be able to lead our team on my final Sunday without breaking down?   Would I break down in tears on stage in front of nearly 1,000 people?  Would I be so overwhelmed with emotion that I was unable to effectively lead our band or congregation?    What would I say to the people that I love so dearly who are so sorry to see my departure?   What would I say to those who, for whatever their ultimate reasons, were instrumental in my dismissal?

This interlude is rather short but brought me a sense of peace as I played.   I love to play these and linger in the spaces, uttering simple phrases and prayers as I play.  Many times I just say “Lord, come”.   My desire is that the music will touch thousands and thousands of souls across this planet and bring them peace and comfort.

I’m excited about the dawn of a new day.  It’s a new season.

Listen:

Watch:

Seasons Come, Seasons Go (And We Don’t Control the Weather)

Seasons Come, Seasons Go

Dear Friends,

As many of you have discovered over the past couple of days, I was released from my position as the Worship Pastor at St. Simons Community Church early Monday morning. As I have been saying this week, “Seasons come, seasons go, and we don’t control the weather”!

Although I’m disappointed and saddened by the decision, it was not a surprise or shock to me. Over the past year, the leadership has expressed their concern about my ability to effectively lead our congregation into a more meaningful worship culture. These conversations were difficult but were always conducted with a heart of love and respect. At my request, the leadership has given me the opportunity to lead our congregation one final time this coming Sunday, September 30th.

I am overwhelmed with the emails, texts, messages, phone calls… Instagram private messages, tweets, Facebook Messages – I mean… you guys really get creative in how you want to communicate with me, haha! Seriously, the outpouring of love and support has been breathtaking and I honestly cannot possibly acknowledge or respond to every one of you. Please know that I see and hear you and I am so grateful for your encouragement.

As I told my 4 kids, I am proud of the work I did for the Kingdom of God through the ministry of St. Simons Community Church these past 11+ years. I hold my head high because I am proud of the legacy I leave behind. I am proud that my dismissal was based on the desire for a change in direction and not because of any policy violation, correction, unethical, or moral behavior. (I also told my kids that there will always be someone who can’t accept that and will speculate as to ‘what really happened’ and that they can be assured that this is true).

 

  • I know that God is good.
  • I know the Church, in all of it’s imperfections, is good.
  • I am at peace and although greatly disappointed, I am excited about what God has for us in the future.

Nearly 12 years ago, the leadership of SSCC approached who was currently serving as their worship leader – someone who had helped start the church and led faithfully for many years. The season was over and it was painful to say “we love you and thank you, but it’s time for a change”. That transition opened the door for me to come and serve for over 11 years. I will forever cherish the time I have spent at SSCC. I’ve seen enormous, significant life-change through this ministry. I know that the leadership’s decision to initiate another transition was not easy and was painful for them as well. They have been honoring to me and have been extremely gracious in making sure that my family is taken care of during our time of transition.

SSCC is blessed beyond measure with a richness and abundance of talent and selfless, faithful singers, musicians, and technicians who made my job so easy. I will terribly miss making music and worshiping with this amazing, diverse team of people more than anyone can ever imagine. I love them deep to the core!

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

What’s next is the question everyone is asking me. The truth is, I have no idea. I’ve always been an entrepreneur of sorts and have lots of ideas. Although I recognize that I must be flexible, our heart is to remain in the Golden Isles. This is our home, our kids are deeply involved in this community and well frankly, this place is just special to us.

I’ve always had an e-commerce company as a side-hustle and I will be investing a lot of my time into building those brands. With more than a dozen years of e-commerce experience I have a vast amount of knowledge and education that I will be offering as a consultant. But as everyone knows, my primary passion is, and always will be, music.

I will continue to compose weekly piano instrumental interludes for my “Worship Interludes Podcast” that has now exceeded over 130,000 downloads in over 170 countries. I’m approaching a major milestone of nearly 1 million “plays” of my piano music on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and YouTube. I’ve been holding off on releasing new piano albums and I now have time to devote to more composing and writing.

The reality is, I’ve been either a part of a worship team, or leading a worship team, practically every Sunday since I was in high school. (With the exception of my wayward freshman year at Georgia Southern University, that is!). For the first time in over 30 years, I am not obligated to be on a stage or platform every Sunday. I just may enjoy having church in a deer stand or on a river. I will enjoy asking God where He wants me to go. For the first time in over 20 years, I may be able to spend Christmas Eve with my family. Make no mistake, the sacrifices I’ve made for ministry have been more than worth it. I am forever grateful for the time that God has given me to serve such an amazing congregation who have demonstrated their love and commitment to Jesus in so many ways.

We are grateful for your love and prayers.

Love and peace,
Fred

Inbox Zero: How I’m Going to Bed with Zero Email

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Inbox Zero.

I’ve heard that it can exist but never dreamed I’d attain it.   As a musician/composer, church leader, social media user, and entrepreneur, I wear far too many hats to be at Inbox Zero.

As you can see from this real screenshot above, I have different email accounts for each role that I’m in.   Most of my e-business emails come to one account, my personal email to another, my church email to another and my @highestpraise.com email is used for my music and “Highest Praise Productions, Inc” corporate correspondence.

I’ve been reading David Allen’s infamous productivity book, “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity“.  I’m only half way through the book but have been applying the principles already.   (GTD is the acronym for “Getting Things Done”, by the way).   As far as how I obtain that with email, I won’t try to explain that in as much detail as my friend Michael Hyatt does.  Michael was one of the first who introduced me to the “Inbox Zero” concept on his incredible blog so go and read that if you’re interested.

Basically, I’m using two primary tools to get my inbox to zero and get my “multipassionate” self in order.   (yes, that’s the new buzzword for crazies like me who are passionate and engaged in many different activities).   There’s the obvious … my email program … and then a resource called ASANA.

asana_pcI discovered ASANA when our admin team at my church started using it.  They would build projects and assign tasks with it.   I’d open my inbox and have a bunch of emails about various tasks that were assigned to me like a virtual to-do list.   I didn’t like it and would beg the admins to “stop ASANA-bombing” me.

When I decided that my life felt too chaotic and I wanted to make a change, I came back to ASANA.  It allows me to create multiple workspaces to represent the sections of my life, similar to the way I’ve created separate email accounts.   If I forward an email to ASANA  from one of my email accounts, it recognizes the email and assigns that as a new task in the correct workspace.

Capturing and Clarifying

Email has already somewhat captured tasks or items for you, whether you like it or not.   These need to be clarified, though.     When I go through my inbox, I ask myself the same questions that are taught in David Allen’s book.

  1. Is this actionable?   Yes or No?
  2. If no – I need to delete it, or archive it.  Perhaps it’s not actionable, but it’s information I may need later.  If so, I archive in my mail folder.  If it’s part of a project that is farther away, I forward the email to ASANA and let assign it to “later” project.
  3. If the answer is YES, I ask myself another question:  “Can I accomplish this in two minutes or less”?   If so, I try to do it immediately.  If not, I either move it into ASANA as a todo, a part of a project, or better yet, I delegate it to the person who is better off handling that.

This is how my inbox stays clear.  You might say “you just moved all of that to ASANA, so really, your email box is empty but your ASANA box is full”.   You would be correct without the other important steps:

Organizing, Reflecting, and Engaging .

Once or twice a day, I go through each workspace in ASANA and either accomplish, delegate, or move each task to a project.  Projects with established due dates are kept fresh and vague projects or fresh ideas are simply marked as “later”.  Lastly, I delegate.  I lead by delegation and run my businesses that way as well.

Is this a Better Me?

I can say that I’ve been at this for one full week so it’s too soon to say I’ve nailed it.  However, I can testify that it’s boosted my productivity and increased my sense of peace.  I am remembering things, accomplishing more, not dropping the ball on projects, and best of all – I’m freeing up space in my mind for new, creative ideas to come forth.  Every thing that comes to mind that I need to do (or want to do), I try to get out of my head as quickly as possible and into ASANA (capturing).  Since my iPhone is with me always, that’s super easy with the app.

I think this may be more helpful if I share some practical examples.  Let’s save that for another post in the near future, so stay tuned.   Because actually, writing this blog was a last minute decision that wasn’t in the plan — it wasn’t in the task list, nor was it a project .. it just happened.  You’ve got to have a little wiggle room, right?  But, there are urgent things due TODAY, like sales tax returns and some accounting in my business.   Then maybe I can switch to my music workspace and work on that new piano album!

Your Turn

Hope you have an amazing weekend.   If you’re still with me — I’d love to hear from you via comments below.   This post isn’t really about music, it’s about my life and leadership principles.  How do you like this content?  Would you like to see posts like this in addition to regular life and music posts?  Scroll down and comment away.