Lessons Learned from a Music Curmudgeon


I was a music major my whole freshmen year of college.  Those were far different days and it seems like a century ago that I spent every day pouring over music textbooks and in practice rooms.  I really enjoyed my days as a music major and learned a whole lot about discipline, but there were just some things I never understood.  One of those was recital etiquette.


Recital etiquette, you know, where you have to look like you’re at a funeral at all times and not allowed to clap at the end of a piece no matter how much you enjoyed it?  I’m a very expressive person, and if I really like a piece of music, I want to clap more than anything.  I would always compromise by offering some goofy facial expressions and silent claps, but I never dared to make a noise for fear of being looked down upon by the recital etiquette gods.


This past Saturday night, a few friends and I got tickets to the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra where they were playing one of Beethoven’s most famous pieces (I forgot the name…this is why I’m no longer a music major.).  Jackson’s elite was in attendance decked out in the finest tuxes and ball gowns and speaking of their dinner dates with the governor and such. Surely these people would adhere to proper recital etiquette. The first movement of the piece ended, and the audience exploded into applause!  “What?!” I thought with joy, “the dreadful recital etiquette has been violated!”  In response, I also gave hearty claps.   However, not everyone enjoyed this uncivilized behavior.

An elderly gentlemen behind me who was dressed to the max in his tux and matching pretentious expression audibly expressed his disgust at this behavior.  “NO NO NO!,” he protested with spit flying into the row in front of him, “how dare they applaud?!”

I immediately stopped clapping and could not believe how mad this old curmugdeon had become just because people were clapping for a piece of really good music.  Really dude?  You let simple clapping ruin your experience?  Just because they clapped did not make the piece sound any less wonderful.  Just because they clapped, Beethoven did not roll over in his grave (it’s not like he could hear them clapping anyway).   I just couldn’t believe it!

After that, I could not stop thinking about how many times in life I’ve been like that old man.  Admittedly, I did not pay attention to the next movement because I was thinking of how many life applications could be found (sorry, Beethoven!).  Here are two of the ones that stuck out to me:

1. We let small  things ruin all of the good things.


Ever had a really good day and then something small comes along and ruins it?  Yeah, that’s happened to me a bunch.  In fact, on my birthday, it was one of the greatest days in my life until I spilled a whole grande Pike’s Place on my nice button up shirt.  I was so mad until I realized that it was still a great day after a quick change of my shirt.

Why do we let that happen to ourselves?  We are creatures of negativity and we let something tiny and negative overshadow a whole lot of positive. Next time this happens, I encourage you to overlook the small, negative and focus on the good that has happened and will happen.  Bad things are going to happen, laugh about that coffee spill on your shirt and move on and enjoy the rest of the day!

2. We let other people’s actions turn us into grumpy people instead of loving people. 


I grew up in a great church for the most part.  However, occasionally, we would have someone who would come in who was not raised in church and might not have dressed in their “Sunday best”, or whatever that means.  I would always feel so bad for them as I felt the judgement cast from others who could not believe someone would text, or come in late, or speak in certain ways, or dress a certain way in the church house.  I’m sure this is the same for most churches.

Let’s love people. Let’s not focus on how they act when they might not know the “rules” or social norms of a certain part of life.  Especially in church. Let’s welcome them in and love them instead of focusing on how they act or the things they don’t know. The greatest thing is love, so as believers, we should love above all else and if their behavior is truly bad, then it will change because of your love.  Accept them, don’t judge them.


So ultimately, don’t let the small, bad things in a moment kill your joy, and don’t let the actions of other people cause you to be a grumpy old man.  And if you go to a recital, be sure not to clap until the very end.



Today is the day! After months of speculation and prayer, today is the day that the 2013 CentriKid staffers will find out which of the amazing eight CK teams on which they will be serving this summer!


I absolutely cannot wait for 8pm central time when Hannah and I get to add all of the new CK7 staff members to our Facebook group and begin the amazing journey of becoming a family. We have been praying for months and months for each of these staffers, even when we had no clue who they were, and I can’t wait to get to know each of them over the coming months.  And more importantly, I cannot wait to see how God will use each of them to further the Gospel with the kids they will encounter at our four locations this summer.

So tonight, at 6pm Las Vegas time, I will be flipping out as the new 2013 CK7 staff is announced!…and then I will run downstairs in Caesar’s Palace to watch Celine Dion in concert.  It’s going to be an amazing Sunday!

My team and I would would greatly appreciate prayers over the next few weeks as we prepare for camp and especially during the summer!  Here are 5 ways that you can pray for all of CentriKid staff (from @CentriKid on Instagram):

  1. Pray that staffers would begin to prepare their hearts to share the Gospel.
  2. Pray that God would place specific kids in the paths of specific staffers to connect their stories.
  3. Pray for leaders as they prepare to humbly lead and serve their teams.
  4. Pray that God would begin to open the hearts of kids and adults to hear His Word.
  5. Pray for team unity.



CentriKid Blog: How to Start Conversations With Kids

This month, I got the awesome opportunity to write a blog post for CentriKid.com.  It was one of the most fun projects I’ve gotten to write lately.  I was so thrilled to get to write about one of my favorite things: talking!

However, compressing my thoughts into 300 words was a major challenge, but probably a really good thing for someone who rambles like I do.

You can check out “How to Start Conversations with Kids” here:

How to Start Conversations With Kids.