Friday, August 29, 2014


So, I'm gearing up to head to a great conference this next week with my buddy, Sean Brainard! We'll be at the Experience Conference in Orlando with hundreds of other Worship Leaders, Pastors, artists, hipsters and creative folk (best game of the week is Sean and I playing "Spot-The-Worship-Guy")... If it's anything like last year, it will be a blast!

I mean, the music is stellar, the speakers are top-notch, but the real win is being able to unplug and get perspective on what this whole ministry-thing is all about, why we do what we do, and how other people are tackling the same stuff we sometimes get so head down into. We get to talk about life, how we juggle the load, what is happening in the big picture... and brainstorm about what is up ahead. For people that are swimming in a never-ending week-to-week... that is priceless!

There is an incredible buzz around New Life and this sense that the big things we've seen over the last couple years are nothing compared to what's ahead - and so, it's great to be able to gear up, see if we can gain some insights from others and prepare to dive in to the next wave.

You'll probably see about a million or so selfie's as we travel, so pace yourself...

Say a prayer for Sean and I as we travel and we look forward to getting back and racing again!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Prince, the Internet & Faith

“The Internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it. All these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”
- Prince (2010)
"Nah, nah, nah... I can't hear you over all the numbers in my head!"

Sounds like one of those statements you wish you could take back, doesn't it? There have been tons of quotes over the years that have talked about how unnecessary various advancements are or how certain things just won't work. Take a look at a handful:

  • “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.
  • “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” — T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).
  • “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932
  • “The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.” -– Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder, 1916
  • “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903
  • “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — A memo at Western Union, 1878 (or 1876).
  •  “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?” — Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter’s call for investment in the radio in 1921.
  • “When the Paris Exhibition [of 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.” – Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson 

Somehow, even the most brilliant of minds were capable of missing the mark on things that we all know now to hold value. The question then is, why couldn't they see the credibility of things that were, in fact, very possible?

I remember talking to a friend that had bought his grandmother a BluRay player for Christmas. He was so excited to show her how stunning the picture and sound were and told her he would bring some new discs over the following week for her to play. By mid-week, she had called him to tell him she had taken it back to the store. 

"Why?", he asked. 

"It doesn't work... none of my records are that small...", she replied.

The truth is that the issue was less about the item and more about not seeing the benefit of the item in action or knowing how it worked. When we don't know how something works it tends to get shoved in a drawer somewhere, dismissed or returned. Sometimes we are the ones that say that it "doesn't work well" or it's "not useful" or even that it's "just broken". There are also occasions where we push something aside because we don't want to change how we've been doing things for years. We don't like thinking that our way is harder or wrong in any way, or really don't want to work up the energy to adjust.

In a lot of ways, having faith falls into the same overlooked drawer.

In many of my conversations with friends over the years, the talk is less about belief as it is the benefit or use of belief. What might start off as "I just don't believe in God" turns into "I really don't get the whole 'christian' thing". 

Often, there's a lot of "It just doesn't seem like something that makes sense or works"... and that statement has made more sense to me over these years.

They haven't seen our faith, our hope in action.

Now, Christianity has done a great job of drawing out the plan, laying out diagrams and schematics. We know our 5 points, procedures, and even offer degrees in how well we think we understand how it all works. For some, that's all they need in order to explore faith... but for many, they just don't get how it works, haven't seen it in action, don't think there's any way it connects to their lives, and have decided that it "just doesn't work". We might want to think about the demonstrative side of our belief.

One of the most compelling things about Christianity is seeing it lived out. The reason for that is simple - it shows people how it works. They experience the love that was previously embedded in a book, in a video or on a bumper sticker. They become recipients of a kindness from those that know a peace beyond all understanding. They are presented with a gift that is not based on the condition of their past, present or future... a gift that is never taken back no matter where their lives derail or pause.

There was a friend of mine that was getting nowhere trying to teach his dad how to use his computer. He couldn't get him to read the starter book or take any tutorials... and the laptop just sat. 


One of his dad's old high school friends showed him a site where he could connect with their old car club from senior year. Suddenly, his dad had the instructions out, was watching tutorials (even signed up for a class at the mall) and was able to navigate his way to connecting with those friends from a lifetime ago.

What changed?

Someone demonstrated how it worked and how it could impact his life.

Our reality is that we are also dealing with a lot of people acting out "christianity" in a lot of wrong ways. There's the protesters, the rioters, the conspiracy theorists, the political machine, those spending more time condemning those around them and pointing out where they didn't measure up, yelling at a fallen world instead of offering hope. The demonstration of our faith has to outshine the darkness and even the tainted light around us. The great thing is that the light is not our own so it's intensity is not a problem, just how willing we are to put it on a stand for all to see and be drawn to.

There will still be those that just don't want to change, that don't think their way is wrong or that this is something that works for them. There are those that will stumble over the idea of Jesus... 

but if that happens, let it be because of Jesus and not our unwillingness to live out his words.

This is our ongoing challenge... to live out our faith, to demonstrate it in the lives of others, to shine brightly. 

That's what separates our faith from... just another fad.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Waiting For You" - (recorded for "The Rest Is Silence")

Several years ago, after a group of us had been hanging out following a mid-week young adults service, I sat down and and quickly wrote out the first verse and chorus of this song on the back of a concert flyer. A few weeks later, I found the paper and sat down at a piano and clunked through the melody and finished the song with a friend's guitar.

Hearing it come together with the smooth vocals of Molly (Nass) Molenhouse and the incredible piano movements of Tyler Huston (The Straw Theory, NovaLux) was so much fun - I've been tempted to re-record it, but there's something special to me about this take and how it turned out.

Feel free to take a listen:

The Heart of a Tyro

If you've happened across the MOTION Creative Arts page at, then you've probably read our description of the ministry and the roles of those that serve. If not, this is the text:

"We believe that creativity is a strong and dynamic catalyst for innovative missional movement within a community.
Every movement is propelled forward from a spark. We believe that the role of creative arts, whether in music, design, video, recording or any other form, is pivotal for creating motion in our community. Through creativity, we are inspired to use our gifts to worship our God. Through innovation, we challenge each other to reflect the most creative force in our universe, our God that created us all.
Matthew 5:16 tells us that when we display the light we have inside of us that those around us will see it and glorify our Father in heaven. Every aspect of our MOTION Team is aimed at providing avenues for creativity to be utilized to glorify God, to ignite our community into missional movement and to spur each other to do likewise.

Our MOTION Team consists of an incredible group of talented people! Several have committed themselves to development in leadership and others are training up members and growing the team. The MOTION Team (Music, Media & Tech) consists of 4 primary roles:

MOTION Team Maven: A Maven is defined as someone that "understands and passes that on to others". The role of a Maven in the MOTION Team is to develop others into strong leaders, to pass on their experience to others for the better of the team and to cultivate the core.

MOTION Team Journeyman: A Journeyman is a strong, dependable and growing leader in their field. The role of a Journeyman in the MOTION Team is to lead multiple teams as Directors or Administrators, recruit new members and to provide support and strength to the core of the ministry. 

MOTION Team Tyro: A Tyro is a leader in training. The role of a Tyro in the MOTION Team is to grow in the area they are committing themselves to for development. This includes team development, leadership training, logistical training and platform experience. 

MOTION Team Member: Our MOTION Team Members make the ministry of the team possible. They are key volunteers that have committed themselves to serving on a rotation in key areas in order to make the ministry amazing!"

I love how this team works together and the core of why we do what we do - and the people involved make it incredible! The part of this that sticks with me is how the roles evolve and, even more so, overlap... For instance, my role is as a MOTION Team Maven, to train up others into leadership and pass on whatever understanding I've learned along the way. But in order to be the absolute best Maven I can be, I need to constantly be a solid Team Member and an ever evolving Tyro. Often, we get this mentality woven in to our thought process that leadership and success are all about moving from a lower position to a higher position - and maybe in corporate structures that carries some weight. For others of us, we desire to be a part of something bigger than management, something that pulls in people from all aspects of life, something that has a movement at its core - for us, we need to understand that the strongest leaders are learners and do not see that as weakness, that those who lead well stand shoulder to shoulder with the team they serve, that being a Journeyman or a Maven means becoming keenly aware of how much you still have to grow.
Sure, leadership does tend to have positions and titles, but the amount of influence and impact that comes from it depends on how much the individual embraces every aspect of the team. If a leader simply morphs into calling shots and commanding others, their influence and impact shrinks to a single entity. Leaders that embrace the whole find the level of influence and impact swells to the size of the entire movement... and beyond.
The key to it is this - embrace the heart of a Tyro, no matter what position you hold.

*Want to get involved in MOTION? Go to: and fill out the quick form at the base of the page!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Because I Know - (Song from 02/15-02/16 at New Life)

I've had a few emails and Facebook messages asking about the song we did a couple weeks ago, "Because I Know". It was a song I wrote and recorded a few years back on an album which is now sold out (The Rest Is Silence). It's also one of the tracks on the project set to be released later this year, "Shine Brighter", which will be a compilation of previously released worship tracks and a couple of brand new songs (which I mentioned in an earlier post).

So, in the meantime, feel free to listen to the song below and add it to your SoundCloud playlist... and most of all, enjoy!!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need... roads." 

- Doc Brown (Back To The Future)

It's a little bit of a shock to realize that the future that Marty and Doc (and the sudden appearance of Elizabeth Shue) arrived in is next year for the rest of us - 2015. All those cool gadgets we were looking forward to, auto-fit clothing, hover boards, flying cars - haven't exactly shown up yet. That far off year of 2015, with all of its promise, still lies a tad out of reach. Well, not the year so much, just the promise. Somewhere between 1985 and now, the future just... happened.

So what does the future look like?

Well, to quote another movie, "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future." (I'll give you a second to recall who said that one). The funny thing about the future is that it always feels way past tomorrow, a stone's throw away from today where we heave our hopes, our plans and the things we feel are just not possible today. The future has potential... endless potential. It's that time when we will be able to write that novel, that song, spend time with our kids, catch up with our friends, travel. It's that promotion we think we'll have, the wisdom we feel we'll have surely gained, the point beyond the struggles of "now". It's a treasure chest of dreams and mile markers, and storage for missed opportunities of today. But, somewhere between then and now, the future just... happened.

So often are we enamored with the prospects of tomorrow that we forget today is the future we were so eager to embrace yesterday.

Did you miss that?

Today IS tomorrow... (okay, now I've made you go cross-eyed... sorry...) we blink, open our eyes, and it's the future date we thought about when we were 15. But, for some reason, we miss it. We keep thinking that the future is still that stone's throw away... and since we aren't ready for it, all of the things we looked forward to get pushed a little further...


As a creature of imagination, I tend to get lost in tomorrow. I picture what it will look like in a few years... but when those few years become a few weeks, a few days,... when they become today, my eyes are still gazing off in the distance. Man, I can NOT wait for tomorrow.


...imagine if we lived out the potential of today, this moment. Not in some superhuman or unreasonable way... but really treated today as it should be, the treasure chest of dreams and mile markers... a chance to not miss opportunities. I believe this more and more each day, that the best way to have a future you want is to create, embrace and build on the present you have. In my faith, that reminds me that eternity doesn't start sometime down the road, eternity is in the steps I take - today.

Years ago, I had an idea of what today would look like and was excited about the future with all of its plans and possibilities. Today, not only am I still enamored with tomorrow, but I'm realizing just how incredibly cool today is...

...even without the hover boards.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Weekend Setlist: 02/15/14 - 02/16/14

This was a great weekend at New Life: Peoria - I had the cool opportunity to lead the music with an incredible team and see Courtney Johnson and Jon Montoya continue to step out and develop as leaders. They did a great job and took lead on the songs "Like A Lion" and "The Stand".

We also were able to pray for Pastor Greg Rohlinger, his family and the community at Palm Valley Church as Greg continues to stand strong and battle against the disease he's been fighting the last few years. It's always a great moment to link together as a united body, especially when you are rallying together around such an inspirational individual. Continue to pray for Greg as he recovers from his latest surgery!

Here's the setlist from this weekend:

You Alone Are Worthy - Lincoln Brewster
Like A Lion - Daniel Bashta
The Stand - Joel Houston
Because I Know - (this one was one I wrote)
Beautiful Things - Michael & Lisa Gungor

Monday, February 10, 2014

Worship Compilation, New Life releases... and more new stuff!

Heath Michael Bottomly

Many of you have heard the songs I've been able to write over the years and it's been very cool to see what God has done with many of them! Since several titles are now sold out, I'm in the process of compiling several of the worship recordings from albums over the last 10 years... and writing/recording a few new ones as well, onto one full project. 

On a similar note, we have some cool things coming up at New Life, including a new EP from our very own Sean Brainard, entitled "Moments". He's been tracking at our studio, HEATHROWE Studios and it's sounding killer! I've also been able to work on the artwork for his project and everything is coming together really well - so stay tuned for more info on its release (but I CAN tell you it's on April 6th...)!

In the meantime, here's a link to one of the tracks that'll be on my compilation, off of "The Rest Is Silence" project... enjoy!

Song: It's You That Can Change Me

Friday, January 24, 2014

Risk vs Recklessness

I am often told that an attribute of my type of leadership personality is my willingness to take risks. Some say that with a negative tone :-) while others communicate it as a strong value...

But I’ve also seen people that applaud their own ability to take “risks” and categorize their leadership actions under this high adrenaline personality trait. It’s trendy... all the cool kids are doing it... Unfortunately, too many are not actually engaged in risk, but are wielding the idea of risk like a 2 year old with a butcher knife. 

Allow me to clarify...

Crazy or self-focused ideas and actions should not necessarily be defined as risk as much as they are “risky”. Sure, risk is defined as peril or a possibility of loss or injury, but if you’ve ever dusted off that RISK board game from the family closet then you know that there is a calculation that precedes risks taken in good leadership. I have come to find over the years that true leadership risk is not blind or ignorant of what is at stake but, rather, feels the full weight of the chances involved, what could be lost, what could break, and still sees the opportunity as one worth taking. If you’ve ever found yourself at a blackjack table in Vegas, you know that it is MUCH easier to gamble with someone else’s money or even your own winnings... what hurts is when you know you could lose something crucial. When it’s your money, you might pause a little more before telling the dealer, “Hit me.” See, leadership is invested... it bothers to know what the downside could be and, if the leader has been truly invested, has skin in the game. Leadership risk feels the weight of potential loss and factors that in to the big picture. It sees the potential but carries the weight of the loss.

You see the things that you helped build that could be lost.

You know the names of those that could be affected.

You know the difficult road that faces you if you fail.

You are prepared to look others in the eye and carry them out of the potential fallout.

Then, if the scenario is worth it, you take that risk...

I worked with an individual once that would choose options that were often risky... they would see something cool that someone else had or had done and then decide his team needed to do the same... they would blow through resources based on the latest buzz or thought in their head... they would move people around like pawns and work outside of the team. At one point, they spent through almost an entire budget for a few events that simply highlighted their role. The mentality of this person was that they were a risk taker... and that it was one of the things that made them a good leader - that they were willing to follow their vision regardless of the cost and that any loss paled in comparison to the personal victory they could gain. But, they never were personally affected by the fallout of their short-sighted choices. Actions that are taken in this manner are not good leadership risk... they are recklessness... only when you feel the weight of what you would lose, only when you think of the whole, only when you have skin in the game, only then does your ability to take risks become a positive element of your leadership.

Otherwise, you’re simply gambling with someone else’s money.

I believe that a good leader does indeed take risks... and guess what? They will fail many times... But that leader will be able to lead through failures because their team knows that they never took those risks lightly nor absolved themselves from the ramifications of those decisions.

Don’t be afraid to risk! That’s how some of the most amazing things come to fruition - but know the difference between leadership risk... and recklessness...

...“Hit me.”