Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jakob Alexander Womer

Finally, he came.....

As many of you know, Patty and I have been going through the adoption process, and on Wednesday, April 11, at 12:54pm, Jakob was born. He is home, and doing all the things healthy baby boys do. We are so excited and thankful to God for this gift. Although we are not getting a lot of sleep, we are spending a lot of time just looking at him and enjoying how perfect he is (I'm sure there's no parental bias involved).

We are also so thankful for the community at Terra. They have surrounded us with love and support since the day we found out he was on his way to us. We have learned so much already from the great example of parenting we see in our friends and family.

I believe adoption is the heart of God. He comes to our rescue, taking people who have no hope in ourselves, and gives us a future (as Ed would say, He gives us Life, Place, and Meaning). I'll keep you up to date on his progress.

Oh, by the way, if you parents aren't aware, there is an amazing collection of lullaby CDs out there called Rockabye Baby, which are music box arrangements of popular musical artists. Coldplay is Jake's favorite right now, but The Beatles and Radiohead are on their way. Check it out on iTunes

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

catching up....

There is so much good music out there right now. If you are writing out your Christmas list for your mother to give to Santa the next time she sees him at the mall, here are some to put on the list:

"The Crane Wife" The Decemberists
Amazing music and lyrics from a quirky, ex-bookstore employee, civil war uniform-wearing, Portland-based band reinventing a Japanese folktale.

"Bring Me The Workhouse" My Brightest Diamond
Former Sufjan Stevens backup singer, Shara Worden, sings like a mixture of a fifties jazz singer and Portishead. Great!

"Speak For Yourself" Imogen Heap
Once the main force behind electronic duo, Frou Frou, Imogen Heap now layers harmonies over light ambient electronica. A masterclass in vocals.

"Till The Sun Turns Black" Ray LaMontagne
New Hampshire-born singer/songwriter with a gravely voice and quiet guitar. The Van Morrison of our generation.

"Come On Feel The Illinoise" Sufjan Stevens
Stevens has promised to write a CD based around all fifty states. This is #2, after Michigan. You will either love it or hate it. I find it one of the most creative things I've ever heard.

"The Eraser" Thom Yorke
Greatest band in the world, Radiohead, lead singer/songwriter's solo album. Need I say more...?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The River Street Revival Tent Meeting

With the business of the A29 Bootcamp happening this week, I had forgotten I wanted to chat a little about last weekend's River Street activities.

We talk alot in church circles about being missional. We create committees specifically designed to plan events within the walls of the church that will draw in non-Christ followers. If we have guts, we even try to get out on "the streets" and share the "good news". But I have often tried to picture what it would look like to reflect Christ in culture, without watering it down or freaking them out with our agenda. And how do we get them into the church, speaking their language, creating opportunities for conversation (which leads to releationship, which leads to trust, which leads to influence, which leads to conversion and discipleship)?

Last weekend I got a glimpse of it. On Saturday, Oct. 7, local artists put on a fashion show extravaganza at Revolution Hall called "Trashion". The purpose was to bring together artists, musicians, and fashion designers and raise money for local galleries. Two bands were booked for it: Ten Minute Turns (from Brooklyn) and Hundred Monkey Theory (from Albany). [Now let me just interject that this is not a moment to promote my band. I would've felt this way had it been any band playing relevent music, while at the same time reflecting God.] As I stood on the same stage at RH that we lead worship from every Sunday, and played to 650 people, most of whom do not know Christ, I got thinking. They don't seem to mind us. They are paying close attention to our performance, yet aren't leaving with their Newcastle. Instead, they seemed quite engaged.

As Patty sang...

"Break my heart until I know I’m not my own Remake me into the image of Your Son Oh break me, remake me I want You I need You"

...they pressed in even more. Did they realize they were experiencing people passionately worshipping the creator of the universe?

Three doors down, at the same time as Trashion, Terra Nova Gallery was hosting their first Art Opening, complete with wine, cheese, and live music. Three local photographers (non of which happened to be Christians) showed their work as 200 locals passed through our little lobby and lounge. With Terra pastors and members circulating throughout the evening, many reported back spiritual conversations, most of which began with, "What is this place? Is it more than just a gallery? A church???".

So, I am beginning to see what it could look like for the Church to go into culture, clearly communicating God's truth in a passionate, artistic way. While also seeing the culture step through the doors of the Church, being spoken to in their own language, with no agenda other than to appreciate and support local art and those that make it.

It won't look that way for every church. We just played the cards we were dealt. But it's a start.....

Friday, August 25, 2006

What Could You Listen To Forever?

In an effort to stay up to date on the Terra Nova community and it's musical language, I am asking for your Top 5 Musical Artists. On the proverbial deserted island, these are the only artists on your eternal iPod. Here's a look at mine:

1. Radiohead
2. Coldplay
3. Sting
4. Wilco
5. Nickel Creek

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Earthly Understanding of Worship

I recently wrote an article for Acts 29 and thought I would share it with you.

An Earthly Understanding of Worship
Scott Womer
Worship Arts Pastor, Terra Nova Church, Troy NY

Often I am asked for my definition of worship. We constantly strive to fit the otherness of God into a box we can understand and control. In his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer (1961) writes, “Left to ourselves we tend immediately to reduce God to manageable terms”

(p. 8). I believe worship is a concept we will not truly understand, nor be able to define, until we kneel before the throne of God in eternity, and at that point, defining worship will be insignificant.

In my spiritual journey, the idea of worship has been a fluid one. As I see more of God, as I press deeper into Him, as more of Him is revealed through the Scriptures and His people, my worship of Him increases. Worship is like a canvas that is constantly being added to with small brushstrokes, until the picture becomes clear, and we see Him in full, and hear the words, “Well done”. So instead of limiting God by attempting to define what our ultimate reaction to Him should look like, I will instead paint a picture of what I have experienced thus far. With Scripture as our final authority, we will also look at what great thinkers, writers, leaders, and worshippers have said.

Worship is an active response to God’s revelation so that He alone is glorified.

“The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him” (Tozer, 1993, p.12).

Just any response is not enough; we must respond in a way that brings Him glory. Even our ignoring His initiative and revelation is a response; yet it is a response that is not desired. We are to turn and “follow hard” after God. The more we respond in this way, the more we will see who God is, which in turn will induce us to respond in an even deeper way.

“Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever”
Westminster Confession of Faith

“God is most glorified is us when we are most satisfied in Him” (Piper, 1986, p.9).

Worship is the overflow of a heart amazed by the otherness of God. This happens in our private moments and it happens in our public moments. It is demonstrated when we treat our wives kindly, when we take in the Adirondack mountains, when we paint, sculpt, or write, as well as when we speak or sing praises at the top of our lungs. When we experience how big God is, we then have no other choice but to fall on our knees before Him.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." - John 4:23-24 (NIV)

Worship is both Private (the personal daily interaction between the Trinity and us) and Public (we as a community responding to God in our midst).

“For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them." - Matthew 18:20 (NLT)

Worship is both Monastic and Missional, offered to an audience of one, yet declared loudly to the world around us how we feel about our God.

“And David danced before the LORD with all his might, wearing a priestly tunic. So David and all Israel brought up the Ark of the LORD with much shouting and blowing of trumpets.” - 2 Samuel 6:14-15 (NLT)

Worship is both Ancient and Modern. It is deeply rooted in the faith of our fathers, yet spoken in our culture’s language. We would be arrogant to think that the only mediums with which to worship have been created in the last quarter of a century. Historically, there have been truths spoken, lyrics written, and scenes painted that communicate truths about God. These offerings of worship are an important part of our spiritual heritage. We would do well to resurrect these ancient expressions because they teach us about God’s nature in a depth that, I believe, is not duplicated today. These truths are eternal and unchanging; however, if we are expecting the language of those truths to be timeless or universal, we are mistaken, and are limiting the incarnation of God. We must find a way to balance the past and present experiences of worship.

Worship is Holistic. It is an act that equally requires all parts of our being and senses.

Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: `Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'" - Mark 12:29-30 (NLT)

Bob Rognlien (2005) describes the Heart as the volitional (what we choose), the Soul as the emotional (what we feel), the Mind as the intellectual (what we think), and Strength as the physical (what we do). It is a combination of these things that creates a holistic worship lifestyle.

He says, “As we explore what it means to worship God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we would be wise to remember that these words are symbols that point to different aspects of what it means to be human and that a unique combination of all four are integrated and inseparable within every person.” (Rognlien, 2005, p.41).

God is glorified in us, not only when we sing a praise chorus or hymn, but by the choices we make each day in our jobs, by the emotions we feel when our friend finds great prosperity, and by the pursuit of knowledge, which deepens our understanding of the Trinity and gives us strategies for a God-centered life.


Piper, J. (1986). Desiring God. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, Inc.
Rognlien, B. (2005). Experiential Worship. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress
Tozer, A.W. (1961). The Knowledge of the Holy. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Tozer, A.W. (1993). The Pursuit of God. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications

Friday, May 12, 2006

Are We Having Fun Yet?

When we come to a church worship service, are we looking to have fun? I can remember a time about 12 years ago when church had gotten boring and dead to people. They were looking to be refreshed, to have a reason to smile in church, maybe even laugh......We as church leaders thought, if movies, plays and comedy clubs can pack them in, than we could also, IF we could just make it "fun". So we recreate the Sunday service, combining humorous sermon illustrations (mostly taken from Readers Digest "Laughter Is The Best Medicine" columns), comedy skits (which were worse than post-Chris Farley SNL), and happy-clappy songs about Father Abraham, "scratching the back of the one next to ya", and feeling overly intelligent when we could all spell, "I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N". And strangely enough, I think it worked. Churches were filled to the steeple with happy, laughing, orthographically impressive, back-scratched Christians. Done, we did it. Now all we have to do is keep them laughing for the next 50 years, or they'll go somewhere else.

Well, I'm noticing them going somewhere else, and it ain't always First Funny Church of Giggleville.

You see, I think they have enough events to go to in life. Baseball games, football practice, tae kwon do, the neighborhood playhouse and cinema, the local microbrewery, kareoke, all in enough time to get home to watch Survivor, Earl, and The Office. They don't need one more place to go to be entertained. They need Christ and community with His Church. They need opportunities to sing, pray, and learn the Word. This must be our priority.

Now before you start getting all jumpy and threatening to beat someone bloody, I'm not saying every Sunday has to be a Good Friday service, in silence, with black curtains, music in minor keys, a worship leader that looks like Robert Smith, and a moody, self-deprecating preacher. What I am saying is that people are changing. I don't believe they are looking for Pastor Jim Carrey, they are looking for someone to be real, reflect Christ, and teach the Word. If that particular teacher is funny, that's great. I think it's healthy for people to laugh, at themselves and at others. Seinfeld taught us that. I'm not teaching a course on public speaking, sermon preparation, or church psychology. I'm not saying don't tell a joke, perform a skit, or crawl through the legs of a fellow pastor if it crosses your mind. I'm am talking about reassessing our intentions and priorities. If your first comment on Sunday morning was "it was fun" and not "it revealed Christ", you may want to turn in your rubber chicken for a Bible.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Trippy Preservice

Many of you have asked about the electronica/trippy/trance stuff we play prior to services at Terra Nova. Here is a sample of the main artists we rotate through. I look forward to the place where we are playing recordings of these types of artists from within Terra. Or better yet, these artists within Terra are playing this kind of music live prior to services. Although I am primarily a guitarist, I love trippy electronica, especially when I am working. You will often hear artists like this seeping out from under my door at the TN World Headquarters.

Artist: Graffiti61
CD: Mind Blossom

Artist: William Orbit
CD: The Best Of Strange Cargos

Artist: Boards Of Canada
CD: The Campfire Headphase
CD: Music Has The Right To Children