It's been overstated that the purpose of our lives is to "worship God". Being a worship leader I believe that my job is to create the best opportunity for people to enter into worship. I think most of our life can be reduced to creating or taking opportunities...
Monday, December 14, 2009
Families are families because of something in common. At the end of the day, that shared connection always stands stronger than any differences. And, thank God for that!
Friday, December 11, 2009
I was pretty comfortable and enjoyed the times I set aside to read about the past conquests of these world-changers, but it got personal for me on Wednesday night. I intended to sit on my chair, wrapped-up in a fleece blanket with a cup of tea, and read the last few chapters; however, it didn't end up so cozy for me.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
"I wish Barnes & Noble had a diving board instead of a front door.
That way, I could jump into the books and swim around like Scrooge McDuck in his money bin.
I want to run down the aisles with my arms open wide pulling books from the shelf that I then roll around in and laugh, laugh, laugh the day away while Natasha Beddingfield’s “Unwritten” plays in the background.
I love bookstores.
But recently I thought I was going to throw up in one.
I got all dizzy and sweaty. I felt faint and had to sit down. I lost the wonder of Tom Hanks in the toy store scene of the movie “Big.” I panicked.
Were they out of Bassin’ Magazine? Did the shelf that contains the veritable wall of “Left Behind” books fall on my foot, crushing several, small but significant bones? Were the moleskine notebooks in the wrong section of the store? Nope. It was much worse than that ….
I realized the Stuff Christians Like book wasn’t going to save me.
I had gone to Barnes & Noble that day to research what other books were in my category. So I went through hundreds of different Christian books and hundreds of different humor books. And I couldn’t find many that were like the one I had written. Sure, Stuff White People Like and Stuff Mid Westerners Like, but there wasn’t a Christians humor section for my book to land safely in. I couldn’t find a place on the shelf were the book I wrote would fit. I started to think, “Oh no, my book is not going to sell.”
I started to think, this book experience isn’t going to change my life. It’s not going to be some financial windfall or make me famous or taller or less insecure. It’s not going to save me.
Then I got really depressed and dizzy and other words that mean the opposite of “awesome.” That’s when I remembered a truth I have learned 37 different times:
“My greatest disappointments in life are when I ask anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ to be my savior.”
Have you ever done that? Have you ever unknowingly said to a new job, “OK, new job. Here are my expectations. I want you to make me happier, filled with joy and more content as a person. I expect you to save me from my previous job and magically make me a better person.”
Or maybe you’ve done that with a relationship. “OK, new boyfriend. I need you to fix all my problems. I have some hurt in my life, some emptiness in a few spots and I need you, in the context of this dating relationship, to fill me with a light that shines bright and true and perfect. OK, go!”
Or maybe for you it’s stuff.
I thought owning a guitar would make me a better guitar player. Maybe you thought buying a new car would make you feel new. Or owning a house in the right neighborhood would make you feel right.
I don’t know you that well, but I do know this, that person you asked to save you, that possession you asked to heal you, failed. Your wife made a mistake, your boyfriend was human, your mom messed up. The job turned out to be different than it was promised to be. The shine wore off a new toy.
And for me, those moments feel a little terrifying. I thought this was the one. I thought that writing a book would save me. From the mundane, from the difficult corners of life, from all the little things that just don’t seem to go right.
But it didn’t and it won’t.
Because that’s Christ’s job.
He and he alone is in the Savior business. He and he alone can rescue you from deep waters. He and he alone can save you from powerful enemies. And you know why? You know why God does that? It’s not because He has to. He doesn’t do it out of obligation. Not at all. Psalm 18:19 says “He rescued me because he delighted in me.”
I hope the Stuff Christians Like book sells a ton of copies. I hope you’ll buy 14 each and give them out to friends like orange flavored tic tacs or big league chew gum. But regardless of it sells a million copies or 17, please know this, it won’t save me.
That position is already filled in my life and it’s filled in yours too.
So let’s stop asking anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ to be our Savior."
I hope this was as encouraging to you as it was to me!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
...Then, I started thinking that the countdown is pretty distracting to the work I need to accomplish this morning before I leave.
...Then, I started to think about all the other countdowns that are a regular part of my life. Here are just 10 of them, in no particular order:
1) the morning alarm clock
5) Brett Favre's retirement decision(s)
6) Christmas morning
7) the start of a movie (maybe the original "countdown"?)
8) July 4th fireworks
9) my mother's scoldings ("I'm going to count to 3, and if you don't _________ by then, You're going to get...")
10) battery life on my cell phone
And, after all of those thoughts on countdowns, I still had room for one more... I hope that this holiday season's countdowns don't get me too distracted from the things that I should be doing right now.
With that, I have to get back to work.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As Christians, we’re told that we were “created to worship God”, and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone suggest anything to the contrary. But, there’s a good part of my heart that just doesn’t believe that God’s desire in creating worship was to be for His glory first. I don’t know that there is scripture to back this up, but I think that it would be contrary to the character of God for Him to have created worship for the primary purpose of glorifying Himself. Certainly, He receives glory from our worship, but I believe that His glory is a fruit, or an after-effect, of His actual intentions.
One of my favorite sections of scripture is from Proverbs 3. Verses 5 and 6 are an exhortation to “trust in the Lord with all of your heart and not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” I love that word, “acknowledge”. Other ways to say it might be to “consider Him”, or to “give Him credit”, or to “point out His effects in the world”.
Now, go to the end of the Bible, in book of Revelation. It was written by a guy named John, who was so outspoken about the message of Jesus that he was thrown in prison for his preaching. After the authorities failed in several attempts to kill him, they sent him to the Island of Patmos to live until he died. While there, God opened up the clouds and gave him a vision of heaven. He wrote down what was “revealed” to him, and it was called the book of “Revelation”.
In the 12th chapter or Revelation, John says that he heard a voice saying that the accuser (Satan) has been cast back to the earth (stripped of his power), and they (the accused, or the Christians that made it to heaven) overcame Him (Satan) “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony”. Certainly, we know that we receive access to God because of the “blood of the Lamb”, or as a result of Jesus’ death on the cross; however, I think we miss the depth of this next statement… they overcame him ALSO by the “word of their testimony”. The testimony doesn’t replace the blood of the Lamb; the testimony affirms its power over Satan! The testimony is more than just a declaration of our salvation; it’s our acknowledgement of the Power of God! It’s our consideration of God’s influence in our lives! It’s the credit we give Him for the daily graces He provides! It’s our announcement of God’s effect on the world!
Psalms 22:3 says that God is “enthroned on the praises of [His people]” or that He “inhabits the praises of His people”, depending on the translation you read. Basically, the presence of God is with those who worship Him—He “fills up” their praise. In the Old Testament, occasionally God would physically appear to His people; He would come in the form of a dove or act of creation, or just audibly speak. But in the New Testament, after Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that He would send the “His Spirit”, or the “Holy Spirit”, to act as a comforter for us in His physical absence.
Okay, so we’ve determined that worship is more than just singing a song; it’s acknowledging God, or testifying about the character of God and the impact that God has had in our lives. Also, we know that God inhabits our “acknowledgement” of Him, and He does so by sending the Holy Spirit to be with us. Now, check this out…
Galatians 5:22-23 lists 9 effects we can expect to see once we encounter the Holy Spirit (the “fruit of the Spirit”). They are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.
I believe that God intended worship as a vehicle for us, His people, to make it through the battles we face while on earth. Because, when we acknowledge God, His promise is that His Spirit will come to meet us and we’ll know it because we’ll see the effects of His Spirit.
Imagine the difficult situation you’re in right now… you know, the one that is making your entire world feel like it’s shaking, and where there’s no rest. Now “acknowledge God” and say, “God, my world is a mess, but You created the world, and You alone have power over this situation. You have it all in control. My trust is only in You!” Now, because you’ve acknowledged God, His promise is that His Spirit will meet you, and you’ll then feel one of the effects of His Spirit… maybe peace?
Possibly you’re angry with someone who’s hurt you deeply… the wound is exposed, and every new interaction with that person just gets worse to the point you feel like you’re going to lose control. You “acknowledge God” and say, “God, I’ve been hurt and I’m angry! But, You were beaten and killed, mocked and shamed, and all of that was done unjustly. You understood more than anyone else understood, and you responded with sincere concern for those that were offending You.” And, because you’ve acknowledged God, His Spirit rises in you and you feel an effect of His Spirit… maybe self-control?
I don’t claim to know exactly how this all works, but I believe that our ability to worship God is His gift to us in order for us to be able to more victoriously deal with the circumstances we struggle through while on the earth!
…such a cool thought…
Monday, November 16, 2009
Like any other busy man in a hurry, I’ve been known just to pick her up because she can’t keep up to me! And, while I know that (most times) she doesn’t mind being carried, I’ve realized that some of my most favorite times are when I just slow down and take on her pace for a time.
I’m not sure that she’s conscious of my adjusted pace, or of my preference to walk much faster… but I sure notice.
How eye-opening it is to slow down and take things from her perspective: the road we’re crossing is that much larger, the steps we have to take are that many more, and the draft of passing pedestrians is that much more effective to her balance.
And, while I’m just imagining here, maybe her greatest challenge is feeling like she doesn’t belong… consider the size of doorways, seats in cars, etc.; not to mention, the number of “adults” that expect that she understands things communicated the same way they understand them.
Maybe I’m wrong… maybe she doesn’t even consider it. Though, I am pretty sure that this “pace principle” applies to a lot of our relationships. I’ll bet that some of our biggest frustrations would be calmed if we only took the time to slow our pace to match the pace of the ones we’re walking with.
Perhaps seeing things from their perspective would not only make a significant impact in how they see the world, but also teach us the importance of seeing them the way Jesus would have… I don’t recall Him ever being too busy…
Wow... 3 years, 1 month, and 10 days goes by quickly! In that amount of time, we got pregnant and had our first child, wrecked a car and bought another, we added a significant number of bullets to our resumes, and I didn't write 1 blog post!
I'm not sure what to blame it on, except maybe that I'm lazy.
I'm trying to embrace creativity in several areas of my life, and I decided to engage a principle from Darrell Evans about creativity. Basically, there is no bad creativity. Every creative thought you get out of your head allows you to move on to the next one.
I'd like more creative ideas to flow regarding God, work, music, and relationships, so I'm back at it.
So, I say to the Glory of God and the development of myself and others, "Blog on."
Friday, October 06, 2006
I've never come up with, or thought through anything new on my own, for all Truth is God's Truth and already exists. As Rob Bell puts it in his book, "Velvet Elvis," our job as Christians is to go through the world pointing out the truth of God. Our job is not to be right. When we become "right" we are separated from those we see as "wrong". John Fisher says that Jesus never sees the world as "wrong" so much as he sees it as "lost." What a great way to put our job in reaching the world.
Today I had a great, and revealing, conversation with a girl at work. She and I were talking about different kinds of churches and denominations. She mentioned that her husband doesn't like churches that are too "evangelical." I asked her to explain what she meant, and she said that he doesn't like it when he feels like the church is "pointing it's finger at him." Wouldn't it change the world forever if Christians put the fully-loaded pointer finger back in the holster and opted to bring light to the presence of God in the world instead. Our job is not to be right, but to declare the Glory of God. To point out His acts of power, provision, artistry, healing, compassion and the like.
So what does this have to do with my influence? Again, I love to influence and be influenced. But I really have to be careful not to see God in this world through my eyes and proclaim that as the only truth, like somehow I've figured it out. You see, we all see the world differently, but that makes us the same. We all have different ways of finding God in the world. Instead of pointing a finger at an unbeliever, condemning their sin, howabout digging into their soul to find out how they think God speaks to them? You never know what your influence might teach you about the Truth of God in the world.