Tuesday, July 27, 2004


"...We are not infinite.
We are not permanent.
Nothing is immediate.
We're so confident.
In our accomplishments.
Look at our decadence..."

"Gone" by Switchfoot

This life is just a whisper, it's just a grain of sand in the beach of time...  Eternity is something that we cannot grasp.  All of my life, just concentrating on the idea has given me the chills, it has reduced me to a lump of flesh and made me tremble.  I have often thought about it in the shower in the morning when it's just me awake in the house and it's then (for some strange reason) that it hits me square in the face. 

   I'm immortal.

   I will die.

   My soul will live on forever.

   No amount of thought will help me understand what eternity is while I'm still here.

Maturity (the constant journey towards it) has helped me to recognize that it's those times when I have to just say "Lord, I'm gonna have to trust you on this one.".

"...'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?'..."
Mark 8:34-37

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Spontaneous Part One

Can spontaneous, interactive worship be pleasing to God?

I almost find that question offensive...yet, there are many around me that ask that question over and over again and come up with an answer that shows their fear of what would happen to worship if we "let go of the reigns".

I have been brainwashed my entire life with the notion that we (the Churches of Christ) are trying to imitate the Church of the first century, yet the answer you get from this question perplexes me. If you study the Bible and look at how the Christians of the first century worshipped God you see nothing but spontaneity and interaction.

Worship for the first century Christians was a living, breathing activity that required all of themselves. Not, the unilateral, funeral-like pattern we have adopted. God-fearing souls of today call for order and solemness in our corporate worship, yet what really happened during the early days of the Church was something that we would never recognize today. Men spontaneously reading scripture, raising holy hands in heart-felt prayer to God, and singing all sorts of songs.

A few months ago I made vow to myself and shared it with my friends and family. I have been a song leader since I was about 12 years old and plan on doing it until my vocal cords will no longer function. Over time, song leading has become routine and rote, just something...I do. No more.

No more opening the song book and picking the first 5 songs that I like, an invitation song (from the 900 section) and a song for before the Lord's Supper. No more of the following "We will now sing number 438, (pause) number 4-3-8 (pause), (pitch), (pause)...." You get the point. I just can't do it anymore, and I won't.

I am throwing out the part of me that want's to do things the easy way and just get up there and get it done. Good-bye.

More later.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Lost in Hope

Jonah 2:1-9 "...In my distress I called to the LORD , and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.' The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD , and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD ."

Have you ever been lost?

When I was a kid in elementary school, my mom would take us to the biggest store around at that time...K-Mart. It was the equivalent of going to Wal-Mart now. We went there alot and spent a good deal of time there. Inevitably, I would tire of following my mom around in the clothing department or whatever and ask if I could go look at toys.

As the minutes went by I would continue looking until I would wonder where my mom was, so I would start looking, of course starting where I left her. She was rarely still there. I would start walking up and down the aisles, looking down each one and as I went from aisle to aisle with no luck, my pace would quicken...and so would my heart. When I found myself at the end of the store I would turn around and do it again, this time faster. "Where could she be?", but it was such a big place. Questions would start in my head "what if she forgot me here?"

Often, I would find her before I started to really panic, but occasionally, I didn't. So I would go up to the Customer Service desk and ask them to page her...how embarrassing!

Was I lost? Not really, my mom new I was in the store and deep down inside, I knew that my mom wouldn't forget me at the store. Knowing those two truths didn't make me feel better when I was running down the aisles calling her name.

I started thinking about this when I read the lyrics to the song "Tourniquet" by Evanescence. The song asks the question that seems to wander into every red-blooded Christian's mind at one time or another. "Can I be so lost that even God can't save me?". "Can I do something so repulsive that God could never accept me into his arms again?"

The answer is a bold "NO"! If you need proof, you need not look farther than the somewhat infamous preacher named Jonah. Jonah TRIED TO HIDE from God and when he did, God showed him that he sees everything. Then when Jonah was in the belly of the big fish and sure that he would die he said "From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. " (Jonah 2:2) Jonah was terribly lost, afraid and on the edge of death. Jonah was far, far away from his Lord...or so he thought.

Then Jonah called for God "To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD , and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. " (Jonah 2:6,7) God was just a call away (just as my mother usually was), God is ALWAYS just a call away.

No, there is no place on earth or anywhere else that God cannot reach us, hear us, or care for us.


i tried to kill the pain
but only brought more
i lay dying
and i'm pouring crimson regret and betrayal
i'm dying praying bleeding and screaming
am i too lost to be saved
am i too lost?

my God my tourniquet
return to me salvation
my God my tourniquet
return to me salvation

do you remember me
lost for so long
will you be on the other side
or will you forget me
i'm dying praying bleeding and screaming
am i too lost to be saved
am i too lost?

my God my tourniquet
return to me salvation
my God my tourniquet
return to me salvation

my wounds cry for the grave
my soul cries for deliverance
will i be denied Christ
my suicide

© 2003 Wind-Up Records

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Thank you...pioneers.

A few days ago, my wife and I had a conversation with an elder and his wife. It was a great conversation and very enjoyable...and enlightening (as is usually the case when talking to someone that has an open mind). Something came up that I want to share.

Sometimes those of us that are looking, praying and asking for Christ's Church to update itself forget that those we may be knocking heads with did the same thing. We forget to thank them for the great work they have done to give us things that we take completely for granted now, but were divisive issues in the past. So, you don't believe that the same person that is arguing with you about clapping in worship service may have had a hand in updating the Chruch of the past? Let's look at a few examples of things that are relatively new in the Churches of Christ, but that we take completely for granted.

Bible classes. Yep, there is nothing in the Bible mandating that a Church provide bible study classes as part of it's mission, yet it's a staple of any Church today.

Youth Groups. What we do with our youth today is a far cry from "...unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) It's great, powerful, and wonderful work, but somewhat new.

Fellowship Halls. Here's a biggie. This is a topic that is still on the hearts of some of our older people. Years ago, the idea of having a kitchen in a Church building was just wasteful. They take the idea of stewardship very seriously (as they should) and spending God's money on a place to eat just didn't make sense at first. Now we are spending it on projectors, digital cameras, computers, networks.... Get the point?

We should thank those that have fought for what is right before us, we should thank them for having courage in the face of blinding ignorance, and we should remember that we are where they have been.

Thank you.
"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18