What I’m Listening to: Mat Kearney



It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, so I thought I’d share about some music I’m really enjoying (got a few posts planned). I’ve got Mat Kearney’s “Just Kids” on repeat a lot lately – probably driving my family and friends crazy. To be honest, I never really intentionally listed to Kearney before – sure he’d come on the radio now and again and I was familiar with him – just never got into it.

This album though is pretty interesting. Lot’s of great sounds and production. Great hooks and sing-along choruses. And a cool balance of gut-wrenching and fun writing – all delivered with Mat’s unique singing, rapping, and spoken word.

While I really enjoy every song from the album, here are a couple highlights:

  • Moving On – great song dealing with regret/forgiveness, super catchy and fun to listen to. I really like the guitar movement starting on the second verse and some great drums.
  • Heartbeat – this one is just a fun poppy sing-along song.
  • Billion – somewhat cheesy, but again so much fun to listen to. Kind of like an 80’s pop mixed with a reggae feel. Fun to listen to with your one in a billion.
  • Los Angeles – such a great hook in the chorus of this song. Sounds like a little autobiography by Mat and how LA is woven into his story. If I had a convertible, I’d blast this driving down Sunset, at sunset – so cliché.
  • Shasta – this simple song makes me think of times past, memories from childhood and all the different cities I grew up in or visited. It’s very moving how Kearney really captures something with just guitar and vocal tracks…

Here’s a couple other short reviews that are well written:

“Mat Kearney delivers nostalgia perfection on Just Kids. His lyrics are intimate, his emotions are infectious and his feel-good pop will make you dance.”-NewReleaseTuesday.com

“Experimenting with a cacophony of sounds from 80s-pop to rustic folk to contemporary EDM to 90s-soul-rap, there isn’t a dull moment on this record.  And to add further zest to already a spicy record are the vivid images and picturesque descriptions.  All of these thus make Just Kids a gorgeous three-dimensional sonic autobiography.”-Hallels.com

After listening to it for a week or so, I checked out a few videos just to learn more. I was super impressed with his behind the scenes studio stuff, his acoustic stuff, his live performances, and even his video production, which includes a single drone shot video to “Heartbeat” that’s pretty cool. I’m super impressed how he translates his produced recordings to live one’s – real “next thing” kind of stuff, I think – I just love the idea of an acoustic guitar and drum machine/looper in the same breath. I’ve put a couple videos below.

Visit matkearney.com to check him out more and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

A New Season of Ministry


Every few years I end up re-inventing myself. I love learning and trying new things. I love to dream up and build new things. I’m blessed that I’m in an organization where I can do just that.

When I joined Rancho about six years ago, I answered a phone call that came out of nowhere. The week before I had resigned my position at a church I helped to build, but a church that was quickly unraveling (that’s a story that I need to tell someday). Jen and I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we did know that God was opening doors for a new season of ministry with Rancho.

I came on as a pastor to help at Rancho’s school, Rancho Christian. It was during this time that I was introduced to Rancho and I made some deep and lasting relationships with many staff members. I spent a few years there, and by God’s grace, some great people, and a lot of work, the school grew – new leadership was installed and I was able to enter another new season.

This time I worked with the Worship Department at the church. During that time I was able to hire and work with some amazing people. I also said goodbye to some incredible people, thankfully – I’m able to still call them friends and still stay connected to them to this day. One person that I was able to help bring to Rancho was a friend I met named Tim Manigault. He quickly became the obvious choice to take our Worship Department to the next level. And so another chance to reinvent came my way.

I’ve always loved culture and people and the church – so my next journey was overseeing “Connecting” at Rancho, which basically meant anything that connected the church with people: look & feel, design, social media, online ministry, welcome ministries, small groups, etc. Just as I was getting my feet wet in this new role, my friend who was also my boss entered a new phase of life and ministry himself, which left a void at Rancho… so guess what – yes, another new season.

Next I joined a new team of three as the Executive Pastors of our church. As a team, we would oversee and lead our staff. It was a new idea – so I was on board. Together we began dreaming what Rancho could be as we headed into a building phase, doubling our campus size. Then, just a few months after this transition came the opportunity, once again to reinvent. And that brings us to this past weekend.

Last weekend, I officially took on the role of Executive Pastor of our Murrieta Campus. We’ve been going to that campus since it launched and have watched it grow over the years. Now we can really put some serious energy into the campus and work with our great friends, the Beavers, and see what God has planned for Rancho Murrieta.

I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love as a job. I’m thankful for a wife who is supportive and a family ready to take risks with me. And I’m thankful for the hundreds of people who call Rancho Murrieta home and looking forward to serving with them as we live out the love and life of Christ in this community.

Check out Rancho Murrieta on Facebook here. And come join us any Sunday at Murrieta Mesa High School at 10:00am – we’d love to have you and make sure you come by and say “hi” – I’d love to meet you!

P.S. here’s some of the fun stuff we do at Rancho Murrieta:


Greater Series Graphics


This season at Rancho, we are doing a series titled “Greater” (No Guilt in Life, No Fear in Death), leading up to Easter 2015. The art for the series was developed attempting to be more future-leaning and bold as we wanted to make a statement and invite the community to something interesting for this series and Easter.

The black speaks towards darkness/despair and the red towards the redeeming blood of Christ. The “greater than” sign speaks to how the grace and life in Christ is greater than sin, death, guilt, darkness – and the Church, by this power is greater than and overcoming darkness in this world – lot’s of hope in a seemingly dark place.

Hidden in the background of the design is a portrait of Jesus, hand drawn by our graphic designer. We used it last summer (2014) in a series called “Portrait” as we looked at the person and life of Christ. We then used that same graphic to create a participatory project for another series call “I Was Here”. We setup the outline of Christ (from the previous series) on a large banner and invited people to put their thumbprint in a “paint by numbers” type layout. A large portrait of Jesus Christ began to emerge. I pulled that final project into Photoshop and screened it into the background of “Greater” – so there literally hundreds (if not thousands) of our church family’s thumb prints embedded within this design…

Resource: HBR Podcast


PrintI listened to this today and was really intrigued by the content – I think it’s worth the 15 minute listen or you can read the transcript:

Is Work-Family Conflict Reaching a Tipping Point?

I think it’s important to stay informed as we lead/pastor/teach in 2014 and we’re all dealing with families – especially in the church dynamic. I felt this podcast was really eye-opening and a conversation starter on multiple levels as we seek to lead and pastor families in the church.

Some of the most interesting statements/comments:

You surveyed graduating college seniors in 1992 in 2012. And in the class of 1992 78% said that they did plan to have children. But by 2012 only 42% said they planned to have children.

another thing that we observed was the change in how many hours people expect to work. So in 1992 the anticipated hours per week was 58. In 2012 it was 72.

So for one thing young men today expect, much more than their predecessors, to have a spouse who is fully engaged in her career.

In addition young men today are more likely to want to be engaged on the domestic front as fathers and as partners, to be more psychologically and physically involved in family life. And so the conflict between their work and potential family roles is much greater as a result. And that’s one of the things that we saw that helps us explain why fewer men are planning to have kids. Because they don’t see how they can do it.

Having seen their parents generation. Which went from 15% of mothers in 1992 being full-time employed to 50% of the class of 2012. They see what’s required. And many, especially women, are saying to themselves, well if I’m going to have kids then one of us should be at home. And it’s probably going to be me. So again, there’s another tension.

And again for women in our sample the more you identified as agnostic or atheist the less likely you were to plan to have kids of your own. So we infer from that the norms associated with traditional religions about the role of women society, they’re having less of an impact in terms of how women are thinking about their future.

So that men today, compared to their predecessors 20 years ago, are more egalitarian in their perspective. They’re much more likely to support a 50/50 model of shared responsibility, of shared care at home and shared commitment, equal commitment to work. The interesting thing though is that women are less so. So their belief in the necessity of a 50/50 world has actually gone down. So as a result you see men becoming more egalitarian women less so.

For people to have work schedules and workplaces that enable them to do the things that matter to them in the different parts of their lives. And the companies that are ahead of the curve on progressive, flexible, work policies are going to be attracting the best and brightest.

There’s been a number of important stories coming out over the last few months about trying to rein in the beast of overwork. And to give people opportunities to have more lives beyond work. And whatever can be done to fight what remains is the stigma flexibility. Men and women taking time. And still in many of our companies they’re seen as not committed. And it’s just foolhardy to be measuring people on face-time.