Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas For Everyone feat. Justin McRoberts

This is Justin's annual hometown hullabaloo. As always, proceeds go to benefit Christmas For Everyone (CFE), a Christmas Day program serving the homeless and working poor.

A great evening of music, inspiration, generosity and community.

Tickets: $8 adv / $10 at Door. Raffle is $1 each
Advance Group Tickets available at

6:45pm Doors, 7:30pm Concert


Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve - PIE FEST

WEDNESDAY, NOV 26 - 7:30pm
Saint Matthew Lutheran Church
Walnut Creek, CA 94598 (map)

We gather together on Thanksgiving Eve for worship and a pie fest each year. This year we will be joined by the Hills Vineyard and Shelter Covenant Churches from Concord.

Shelter’s worship leader, Justin McRoberts, will be presenting an evening of worship and inspiration. He is an internationally known Christian musician, a highly respected singer, songwriter and speaker who, over the past nine years, has carved out a niche for himself in the independent music scene. Central to Justin’s work is advocacy on behalf of the poor and oppressed through Compassion International, the International Justice Mission and the Blood Water Mission. Compassion International is an international Christian “adoption” group, that connects Christians who want to help poor children and their families throughout the world. One hundred percent of the monthly support given goes to that child and their family! There is no other Christian group who has that type of efficiency. This evening, we will have the opportunity to adopt a child, if we so choose.

Our Pie Fest, which follows worship, is a great time of fellowship as well as a means by which we collect dozens of pies that are passed along to groups that are serving those who cannot afford a Thanksgiving Dinner. We ask you to bring two pies—one to share
that evening and one to give away.

Invite your friends to join us for this unique evening. And don’t forget the pies!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Guest List

What would Thanksgiving look like if we focused less on the meal (the food and all the trimmings) and more on the guest list? This video can be found Work of the

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kristyn & Keith Getty at Northcreek | Nov 2

Keith & Kristyn Getty
In Concert
Sunday, November 2 at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets: $15 (front/center section seating), $10 (priority seating) $5 (open seating)

Click Here for more information and for group tickets.

When you think about timeless hymns such as, “Blessed Assurance,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” these hymns which have endured the test of time were written by authors such as Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, and John Newton whose lyrics and melodies evoke truths that are synonymous with the Christian faith. Who is writing hymns for the modern church of the 21st century?

Keith and Kristyn Getty stand at the helm of a group of hymn writers who are creating new hymns for the church today. With hymns such as “In Christ Alone,” “How Deep the Father’s Love,” “The Power of the Cross,” “Speak, Oh Lord,” and “O Church, Arise,” their simple folk melody and storytelling lyrical style have a universal appeal for all, which are timeless in theology and melody.

NorthCreek Church would like to invite you and others to a night of worship and praise with Keith and Kristyn Getty on Sunday evening of November 2 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets for this event are priced at $15 for priority seating, and $5 for general seating. Tickets are available on campus either at the NorthCreek Café and Bookstore, church office, or at a one of our tables in the courtyard on Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lots Happening at Saint Matthew

Evening Worship Concert
On Sunday November 16, Saint Matthew will host a worship concert featuring Art Heckman from Clayton Community Church, Ryan Morgan from New Life Church in Alamo and other valley musicians. It promises to be an evening of great music with our hearts directed to God in worship. Come give thanks and sing praise! Invite your friends. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

David Matthews Thank You
In September, David Matthews stepped down from directing the Bells of Saint Matthew. Thank you, David for your generous service, leadership and direction. May you be blessed as this new season of life and may God’s peace be with you. We are currently looking for a new director for the Bells of Saint Matthew.

Justin McRoberts at Saint Matthew for Thanksgiving Eve
Justin McRoberts, from Concord, is a highly respected singer, songwriter and speaker who, over the past nine years, has carved out a niche for himself in the independent music scene. Central to Justin’s work is advocacy on behalf of the poor and oppressed, predominately through Compassion International, the International Justice Mission and the Blood Water Mission. Justin will be sharing his gifts and ministry with us on Thanksgiving Eve, November 26 at 7:30pm. Justin's Website

Christmas Singers Wanted
You are invited to join with the Saint Matthew Choir and Worship Team as we prepare for the Christmas Season. On Christmas Eve, we will be singing a Christmas classic: George Frideric Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus from the Messiah. If you’ve ever sung in a choir or have ever wanted to sing in a choir, this is your opportunity. Please join us and add your voice to the mix to make a joyful noise! Choir rehearsals are every Thursday from 7:30pm to 9:00pm. Worship Team rehearsals are every Tuesday from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. Please contact Jason Bendickson or Laurie Van Buskirk

Thursday, August 21, 2008


My good friend Dave Foster called me the yesterday to let me know that his CDs had finally arrived! I'm thrilled that this project is finally finished (although, maybe not as thrilled as Dave) and that we now have a great offering of music to share with y'all.

I'm honored to have been a part of the process of putting this album together. Take a listen at Dave's Website or his myspace page.

CDs will also be available at Saint Matthew Lutheran Church this Sunday! $12 for 1 CD, $20 for 2 CDs.

Also available through snowcap and coming to iTunes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Links Galore

There's been so much going on lately, I can hardly keep a blog. Crazy. Regardless, I just want to share a handful of links that will keep you in the know about what's going on around Saint Matthew and the Valley!

FREE CONCERT! "Songs from the Valley" August 17th at 7pm
Saint Matthew Lutheran Church
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Myspace friends!

Art Heckman - Worship Leader from Clayton Community Church
We're workin' on his album right now!

Dave Foster - Worship Leader from Hills Vineyard in Concord
New Album "Iron" out in August!

"Songs from the Valley"

Jason on Bass! This is my page with some funky bass tunes.

My brothers Aaron & Sean have a U2 Tribute Band - U277


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Free Concert "Songs from the Valley"

“Songs from the Valley”
A free concert at Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Walnut Creek
Sunday August 17th at 7:00pm

Dave Foster
Worship Leader at Hills Vineyard in Concord
Art Heckman
Worship Leader at Clayton Community Church in Clayton
Jason Bendickson
Worship Leader at Saint Matthew
Keenan Boswell
Former organist at Saint Matthew and Julliard Student

“Being part of the body of Christ in the valley is a real blessing! I’ve gotten to know Dave Foster and Art Heckman over the last few months as fellow worship leaders and musicians who are seeking to know Christ more through the music they create and the relationships they have. Worship is of paramount importance to these guys and I’m honored to have the opportunity to learn from them as they share their hearts and their music with me. Along with myself and Keenan Boswell, we’ll be sharing music that we’ve written as well as songs that we feel are speaking to the hearts, minds and souls of those who live in the valley. Come and sing Songs from the Valley with us!”

- Jason

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Joe: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

Joe: The Extraordinary Life of and Ordinary Man is a two act play written and directed by Brian Mercer of Asuza Pacific University. The Asuza Pacific Players will be joining us at Saint Matthew on Sunday, June 22nd for an evening performance. Bring your friends for a memorable evening.

June 22
Saint Matthew Lutheran Church
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Friday, May 9, 2008

Acts for Everyone

My wife is reading a book right now called "Acts for Everyone" written by N.T. Wright. It's an accessible take on the book of Acts, meaning not overly scholarly. Eugene Peterson (Author of the Message) writes, "A rare event: a commentary that is learned without being stuffy, accessible without being reductionist. Tom Wright joins us in our homes and workplaces, our sanctuaries and classrooms, in genial, prayerful conversation over this text that forms our lives, the New Testament Scriptures. "

On Sunday, we kick into a several month-long series on the book of Acts. If you're looking for a commentary to take on this journey, I would like to recommend the 2 volume series, "Acts for Everyone"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I'm not sure why, but the audio player on the previous post stopped working. Let's try again, shall we?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

New Recording (sort of)

This Sunday, Sara (my wife) preached on the value of compassion and how we're shaped and molded by our experiences through the Holy Spirit to be more Christ-like and compassionate. Sara requested that we sing "How Deep How Wide" - a song I wrote for her ordination - following the sermon.

Last fall, Keenan Boswell and I shared a bunch of new music at an evening concert at the church. We got a decent recording of the event and I have since then added some extra layers to the recording. I laid down an extra guitar track, a bass track and took a stab at playing some drums. Turned out good, I think.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jon Abel Concert | April 19 | Doors open at 6:30pm

On Saturday, April 19th, Sanctuary Ministries will be hosting a concert by Jon Abel. Jon is the former youth director at Clayton Community Church. Oh, and Jon wrote the song "Awesome Is the Lord Most High" that we sang this last sunday!

Doors open at 6:30pm!

Sanctuary Ministries (map)
2250 Commerce Ave. D
Concord, California 94520

Art Heckman, the current Worship Leader for Clayton Community Church will be opening for Jon (and I'm playing bass in his band).

Here's Jon's online info!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Page Elements ------------------------->

I've discovered, thanks to my friend Art from Clayton Community Church, this great website called

It's like facebook or myspace for music and musicians. Very fun. I've been posting a few links to songs that I've found on imeem and one that I just recently uploaded. I wrote a song called "Hymn of Praise" for lack of a better title. Check it out just over there on the right.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hymn of Praise

So, I'm trying to find something that will work for the Easter Season as a "Hymn of Praise" - something that lifts up the glory of God as it's theme. I'm working on finding something modern to fill that spot. Who would've known that I might be drawn to a Twila Paris song called "Glory and Honor." This song is on her album House of Worship released in 2003 was here first worship project since 1991.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Recording "Blessed Be You Name"

A few weeks ago, I set up our portable recording system and spent some time recording our rehearsal. I got a pretty good take of "Blessed Be Your Name" and I mixed it down in GarageBand. I added a couple of instruments (bass and electric guitar), but everything else is a live take. Very fun.

Have a listen. Blessed Be Your Name

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Our Beautiful Day | April 19

“Our Beautiful Day” April 19, 2008
Reaching out with compassion to our community.

Dear Pastors and friends of “Beautiful Day”,

Thank you to all who have given us names of volunteers from your churches. If you haven’t done this yet, please send us the names of those who could be church liaisons and prayer leaders ASAP.

What we need now is to identify project leaders for each of the following projects:

(Cambridge Elementary)

1. Blacktop for basketball courts 2. Inventory and collect items for up to 40 “safety” backpacks.

(Oak Grove Middle)

3. Landscaping & irrigation 4. Collect items for kids to buy at school store.

(Ygnacio Valley Elementary)

5. Landscaping 6. Provide sturdy no-fabric chairs for office waiting area.

(Meadow Homes Elementary)

7. Electrical work 8. Replace carpet in faculty lounge with tiles. 9. Landscaping.

Please announce these needs to your congregation this Sunday, Feb.24, if possible, and on Sunday March 2. Ask that people who have skills appropriate to these tasks commit to being project leaders and send their names and contact information to Tom Patitucci by March 3. If you have other means of communicating these needs to your people (email, through small groups etc.) please use those as well.

Thank you for your participation in what we pray will be a “Beautiful Day” of service to our community in the Name and Power of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The Compassion Task Force
Kurt Holm
Layne Kilbreath
Ron Musch
Tom Patitucci

Monday, March 3, 2008

Holy Week Schedule

This year, Easter is extra early. Actually, it's about as early as it can possibly be. Julie Gibson, the Director of Worship and Music at Saint Matthew wrote an interesting article for our newsletter about how the date of Easter is determined.

Julie writes, "Easter could occur as early as March 22nd, but that hasn’t happened since 1818 and won’t happen again until 2285. And the last time Easter fell on March 23rd was in 1913. That won’t happen again until 2228. The latest Easter can occur is April 25. Next Year, Easter is on April 12th."

For those of you who are primarily concerned with THIS YEAR'S Easter celebration, the Holy Week Schedule for Saint Matthew is as follows:

March 16 Palm Sunday - "From Obscurity to the World Stage"
8:30, 11:00
March 20 Maundy Thursday - Valley Wide Worship Service
7:00pm at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church.
March 21 God's Friday - "From Safety to Sacrifice"
7:30pm | Special Program for children will be available in the Fellowship Hall, nursery care available.
March 22 Easter Eve - "From Death to Rebirth"
6:30pm | Baptismal Service for all ages
March 23 Resurrection Day - "From Darkness to Daybreak"
8:00, 9:30, 11:00 | Nursery Care Available

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Many Things in the Valley

Here in the Contra Costa Valley, there are many things happening that we, as the Church, can get plugged into to be inspired and empowered to live lives fully devoted to living out the Great Commission.

- 40 Hours of Prayer begins week of March 17
- Community Wide Communion Maundy Thursday: March 20
- Walk for a Cure - CF Team Sierra: April 19
- Our Beautiful Day - Compassion in Our Community: April 19
- Celtic Way of Evangelism Conference: May 3
- Doing Justice Conference: May 9-10

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

U2 Craziness

I've got three brothers who live in the Pacific Northwest. One is an aspiring writer, one is a systems administrator for a software company called OmniGroup, and the other is a professional musician living in Seattle. Two of the three have formed a band called u277, a U2 Tribute band and they play regularly in the Tacoma/Seattle are. I happen to think they could be the best U2 Tribute band out there, even better than Zoo Station, the Bay Area's premier U2 Tribute band.

And in addition to this battle of the bands, we now are able to see U2 (the actual band) peforming in 3D! I'm planning on seeing it down in Dublin at the IMAX soon!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lenten Journey

The season of Lent is fast approaching (starts Feb 6th). This year, we've partnered with churches all over the valley in a project called iLent ( - starting Feb 6th, you'll find devotionals and videos that should encourage you on the 40 day journey through the season leading up to Easter.

For the iLent project, I recorded a song with my friend Dave Foster from the Vineyard Church in Concord. He's a great guy and wrote a great song called "Iron." Here's a video.

You'll be able to find out more about valley-wide events and the valley churches at

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Love GarageBand

I dig GarageBand, the basic multi-tracking software that comes with the iLife software pack you can get for a Mac. It's intuitive, easy to use and sounds pretty darn good. I do not personally own a Mac, but I'm hoping to sometime in the future. I borrowed a MacBook from my friend Mark Pitzlin who directs "Puppets of Praise." I spent the last couple of days laying down tracks just to get some ideas out of my head. Here's what I came up with:

I got together with a friend of mine to start writing some tunes to see what might happen. We mostly came up with chord progressions and basic themes, but nothing concrete. Regardless, I took one of our chord progression ideas and put some groove to it and this is what I came up with. DEMO

And on Sunday, we did an arrangement of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" that I put together for band and organ. Our handbell director joined in on the bells, too! Wonderful. This is just an instrumental take on what we did without the bells and whistles. I incorporated a basic drum grooved I borrowed from a Sara Groves tune. DEMO

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Song Story 'God of Justice' by Tim Hughes

Last Sunday, we sang a song called "God of Justice" by Tim Hughes. The following is an article from Worship Leader Magazine on the story behind that song. If you'd like to purchase the song on iTunes, you can find it here.

“God of Justice” Written byTm Hughes
By Jeremy Armstrong

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12 NIV).

The first time you heard about it, you may have been turned off. There is nothing attractive about a wild-eyed, frizzy- haired, Old-Testament-passage-quoting stranger with a finger in your face telling you that social justice is the only way to Jesus. That doesn’t sit well with your spirit, because you have been following Christ for some time, and this is the first you have heard of this point of view. And you are not against the idea behind it, it’s just that this person introducing it to you is so, shall we say, zealous.

Clothed in Compassion
Most likely, we all have a deep understanding of social justice in our souls but we have a different name for it. The Apostle Paul exhorted the church in Colossians to clothe themselves with compassion. What a gentle way to describe the essence of social justice. Nothing judgmental, a simple charge to wear “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”—make it a part of who we are. If you are clothed with those aspects of our faith, and you are confronted with injustice, action is your natural response. This is how it was for Tim Hughes, writer of such songs as “Here I Am to Worship” and “Beautiful One,” when he and his wife went to Tanzania with a charity, based in England, called Tearfund.
“While we were there we met an amazing lady named Joyce,” says Hughes. “We visited her home in Uhambingeto, met with her family and heard her story. They didn’t have any clean, accessible water in the village, so leaving each night at midnight with an empty container; Joyce would walk for over 10 hours until she returned home at around 10 am. The following morning exhausted. It has been estimated that Joyce has walked the equivalent of three times around the world in the pursuit of water. The injustice of this was overwhelming. How could that still be possible in a world today where so many of us have so much?”

Woven Together
It was stories like that one, coupled with Bible studies, various trips to Africa and discussions with friends that birthed the song “God of Justice,” which can be heard on his newest album, Holding Nothing Back. Hughes says, “When I read the Bible, one thing seems abundantly clear; God is passionate about the poor Jesus made it so clear in Luke 4:18; He says, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.’ In Amos 5, God’s heart burns with anger as He rebukes a people who offer up songs of worship and other choice offerings, but trample and deprive the poor for their own selfish gain. We can’t escape the truth—God’s heart breaks for the last, the least and the lost. If I want to glorify God in all that I do, then issues of justice and the poor need to be at the core of who I am. And the Church needs to be singing about God’s heart for the poor. We need to remind ourselves that as God’s people we need to go and serve the marginalized.”

It was this heart and passion that gave him the inspiration to pen “God of justice,” but it was also the organization Tearfund that Hughes originally had in mind when he started the song. “I’d been deeply impacted by spending time in South Africa and seeing the harsh reality of life for many people living there,” he says. “I’d met people in Tanzania and heard their stories and struggles to survive. So I felt a strong conviction that the Church needed to be singing about God’s heart for the poor, and our responsibility to serve amongst the poor. Not just to throw charity at those on the margins of society, hut to lose them and be in relationship with them. With all these thoughts buzzing in my head, I was asked by Tearfund to write a worship song for them. I’d been trying to write a song on God’s heart for justice for a while, so I already had lots of ideas. One afternoon at home I picked up the guitar, and the melody and words seemed to flow out.”

Backed by the Word
Of course there are plenty of Scriptures that support this theme, but for Hughes, the key verse was Micah 6:8, “He has showed you, 0 man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to lose mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
“This puts every thing into perspective, even songwriting,” says Hughes. “If I want to please God with the songs I write, then I need to live a life of lose. As James says, ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world’ (James 1:27). I’se been feeling really challenged in my life about what I place priorities on. God’s heart breaks and beats for the poor, the downtrodden, the abused, the fatherless, the lonely, and the hurting. If am not allowing my heart to feel the same sense of passion for these people then I may write a song that I love, but in God’s ears it will be an unpleasant sound. He’ll he looking down saying, ‘spare me Tim.’
“I’m trying to learn what it means to love the poor, and, to be honest, at the moment I’m way off. But I’m on a journey— God is gracious, but the call is overwhelmingly clear.

Workers Are Few
While it seems that the call is clear, there is a bit of a disconnect. There is so much hurting in the world. But one positive reality of the digital age is that the world is getting smaller. Our neighbors can be two houses away, or live in St. Petersburg, Russia, and be only two clicks of the computer mouse away. Because of this, more and more people are taking responsibility to lose all of our neighbors. “In England the churches I’m involved in are getting better at responding to issues of social justice,” says Hughes. “I’ve been hearing a lot more talks on the subject, but more than that, I’ve been seeing the Church getting out there to make a difference. At my church in London we have groups that are working amongst the homeless, the prisons, ex-offenders, the poor, people affected by HIV/AIDS and refugees. There are also groups looking into global warming, asking questions like, how can our church become carbon neutral? And I believe it’s because the Church is realizing that God has called us not just to proclaim good news, hut also to he good news. Actions often speak louder than words. God has called us to go, but the wonderful truth and an essential part of the song ‘God of Justice,’ is that we don’t go out in our own strength. God wants to fill us up and then to send us out.
“And as worship leaders, the best way to encourage our congregations to mow into action is to model it ourselves. The late John Wimber once said worship is ‘caught rather than taught.’ I think if we want to see the Church rising up to stand for justice, loving the last, the least and the lost then we need to be doing it ourselves as leaders. If we just talk about it with our words and fail to live it out with our actions, then no one will follow.

Distinct Opportunity
Action is certainly the most important part of leading, especially if you want to encourage your congregation to get out and heed God’s call to act justly. However, worship leaders also have a distinct opportunity to speak into people’s hearts and minds in an intimate way. “We have a responsibility as worship leaders,” explains Hughes. “The songs we sing on a Sunday can have a huge impact in people’s journey of faith. In many ways it’s the songs we sing that mold and shape people’s theology. So let’s engage with these issues and let’s find songs that speak about these themes. Let’s be a people who remember poor communities, who sing about God’s heart for the widow and the orphan, who look to God to fill us up and send us out to be good news to marginalized people. And let’s involve our worship teams in this adventure.”

To find out more about Tearfund

Thursday, January 3, 2008

70 Days of Vision - The Great Commission

On January 6th, we're kicking off "70 Days of Vision: Gaining a Biblical Worldview." This will have a church-wide emphasis from Sunday morning worship to small groups. And on January 20th, Dr. Kent Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries will be joining us at Saint Matthew.

The evening of the 20th at 7:00pm, Saint Matthew is hosting a "Great Commission Rally" and all are invited! It is our hope that many people from many different churches across the Diablo Valley will come to hear Dr. Kent Hunter speak on what it mean to be the church in the world today!