Monday, February 27, 2006

How did I get here?

I have asked myself that question a number of times in my life.

I asked it 15 years ago when I found myself (along with my wife and my 3-year old) in North Carolina. Starting a new life...

I find myself asking that same question again. I can tell you that if 3 years ago, if I had scripted the next 3 years they would have been NOTHING like what really happened. I would never have imagined being where we are now.

That is the power of God's guidance and of his hand our lives.

It seems to me that there was another guy that probably felt something similar to what I am (on a much larger scale). He was busy trying to wipe out these "Christ followers" and doing a good job of it. He was VERY GOOD at his job. He had no intentions of changing the direction of his journey, but God had other plans for him. God met him on the road and explained things to him and his life was NEVER THE SAME. I think his name was Saul, or was it Paul? Acts 9

The journey is certainly not over, but at any one point in a journey you are somewhere. Sometimes it's where you want to be, other times you are trying to get somewhere else, other times you are just trying to keep your head above the water or trying to avoid the quicksand. Other times the journey itself prevents you from reflecting because of its demands, and then you get a get to take a quick stop and take in the scenery.

I can't believe I ended up here, but I praise God for guiding me here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


When I was in grade school, I can remember the P.E. teacher (Mr. Moore - the one that gave me my first nick name..."twinkle toes"...I hated it) having to spend extra time with me on balancing exercises. It's pretty simple, I couldn't even walk a straight line. They had me practicing to walk down one of the painted lines in the gym without losing my balance. After trying baseball, basketball and other sports I finally figured out in Middle School that running didn't take a great deal of coordination and found a sport I could handle.


It seems I have always struggled with it and I still do today. As an adult, my problems with coordination just means that I am clumsy. I have broken almost all of my toes over the course of my life and I am plain dangerous with a knife.

My issue with balance seems to also manifest itself in non-physical parts of my life. I have always been the kind of person that is easily distracted. I focus really hard on one thing and then I have to catch up on the rest. I've known this about myself for a long time, however I've had little success in dealing with it.

Lately, I have had a bit more success with this, but it's been hard. It's like when you finally realize that you are an adult and that you have to do things that you don't want to, but you do them anyway. I sometimes get just plain mad about having to change gears...let's just say my transmission is like one of those old trucks that you have to muscle the gearshifter to get the car into the right gear. You can get the job done, but doing it is tough (sometimes it takes two hands) and wears you out over time. Also, once you get it into the next gear you are more inclined to keep it there longer than you might normally because of the effort it takes to change it.

Guess I better stock up on transmission fluid.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Moving on..."Pressing On"

OK, here's a much more positive approach to what I was trying to say with "Moving On" I especially like the line "And to go back where I was would just be wrong...I'm pressing on." However, this song is pretty my right on, in more ways than one. Read away...

Think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
Out of mind, out of state.
Trying to keep my head on straight.
I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
There's only one thing left to do.
Drop all I have and go with you.

Somewhere back there I left my worries all behind.
My problems fell out of the back of my mind.
We're going and I'm never knowing (never knowing) where we're going.
To go back to where I was would just be wrong.
I'm pressing on.
Pressing on, all my distress is going, going, gone. (pressing on, pressing on)
And I won't sit back, and take this anymore.
'Cause I'm done with that, I've got one foot out the door.
And to go back where I was would just be wrong
I'm pressing on.

I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
Out of mind, out of state.
Trying to keep my head on straight.
I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here.
Adversity, we get around it.
Searched for joy, in you I found it.

You look down on me, but you don't look down on me at all.
You smile and laugh, and I feel the love you have for me.
I think we're going somewhere.
We're on to something good here, and we're gonna make it after all.

Pressing On
Relient K

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Church Music VI - "How do those words taste?"

Excuse me while I eat and type, I find the Veranda font somewhat bitter compared to Tahoma, but meatier...harder to swallow.

Part of the fun of writing a blog is going back and reading what you wrote before. I started this blog as a way to chronicle my journey and it's..interesting (excuse me while I wipe my mouth, the words can sometimes be messy) to look at the journey and be reminded of where it started, where it took me and where I am now.

I wonder where I will be 3 months from now or next year? God is my "tour guide" so the answer is ANYWHERE!

So, I was reading my blog Church Music V - "Corrective Lenses" and the other 4 parts to that "series" and I have to start eating. Eating my words. (excuse me again, while I take a drink of Mt. Dew to wash some more down)

Looking back at what I said then is like looking at myself through a telescope. It's not so much that I disagree with what I said, it's more about the way I said it. However, there is that phrase (gulp) "I believe in ACapella music for corporate worship." (gulp) that came from my fingers and my mind. Since I now weekly participate in corporate worship with every conceivable instrument in them was I wrong then, wrong now, have I had an epiphany, or does it really matter?

I don't have all the answers yet, but I know this. I am truly enjoying where God has led me and I am doing all I can to hang on to his hand as he leads me through the crowded path ahead. My other hand is stuffing my mouth with words and wiping the mess on my sleeve...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


OK, so lately I have something happening inside of me that I'm not used to. It's a strange feeling...what is happening to me? It's really weird and I hope that I can figure out how I'm supposed to wrangle it day to day...because I don't plan on letting it go...if I can help it.

I'm talking about that elusive feeling that I have only tasted for short periods of time, flipping end-over-end when it was quickly pulled out from under me like when you try that cool trick on a table full of dishes.


Dare I even mention it? I mean, as a Christian our strength comes from God...not from self. Ok, so I'll call it confidence. God is powerful and he has shared that power with his children throughout time. Why not me?

Lately, I have felt differently. I know that bad things are going to happen, but I don' that isn't the right word...I know that between God, me and my wife we are going to get through it.

But, that's just the icing of the cake. All my life I have been frozen with the fear of what others will think of me. Do they like me? Did I just make them uncomfortable? Never offend (at least not on purpose), never oppose, just go with the flow. Somehow, that's just not cutting it anymore. I watched my mother do that her whole life and what did it get her? I was a chameleon. You could tell what I was going to do by looking around and seeing what everyone else is doing.

This infusion of confidence has been hard to handle. I can say with a bit of certainty that it's gotten me into a few "tense moments" at work because I have decided not to just say..."whatever".

I have to figure out how to tame this beast, but not put him down...ride him?

Monday, February 13, 2006

God Is No Fool

I started another blog. This is something I have wanted to do for awhile. When I was in college I was introduced to a book called "God Is No Fool" by Lois A. Cheney. It is no longer in print. It's a simple devotional book that was the first to make me think in a completely different way about me personal relationship with God.

It is my intention to put all 99 devotions in this blog over time. I just want others to benefit from these inspiring thoughts.

God Is No Fool

Friday, February 10, 2006

Moving On Redux

Believe it or not, there are a few people that read this thing (other than me), although it's certainly not common knowledge by any respect. One such person told me the other day that they didn't understand Moving On... and that someday I would have to explain it to them.

Here goes.

First of all, it's just a song and not all of it really applies, but it certainly described my feelings at the time. Also, if you have ever heard the song, it's got some attitude and that's something I need right now.

Oh you know I did it
It's over and I feel fine
Nothing you could say is gonna change my mind
Waiting and I wait at the longest night
Nothing like the taste to sweet decline

I was down, I fell, I fell so fast
Dropping like the grains in an hourglass
Never say forever cause nothing last
Dancing with the thorns of my buried past

For me, this song is about moving on and moving on involves, first...moving. Going from one place to the next...a change. If there were ever a time that someone could "change my mind", that time is closing. Not because my mind is closing, very much the opposite, because it's opening! Because I have opened my mind to new things I see things differently and I can't look at them the old way anymore. Once I watch a movie at the theater, I can't stand to watch the "TV Version" of it because I know there's something missing. Besides, why would you care now, after all this time after I waited for you to question me before? ("Nothing like the taste to sweet decline"). Where did my "friends" go?

Yes, I fell and fast, but now God has picked me back up and instead of avoiding the past I am looking it over and realizing it was just part of the journey ("dancing with the thorns of my buried past").

Nevermind there's nothing I can do
Bet your life there's something killing you...

...Take a good hard look for the very last time
The very last one in a very long line
Only took a second to say goodbye
Then the pleasure 'bout the pleasure's
been mine, all mine

OK, this is a dig. But, I feel like I deserve to give out just one very subtle parting shot. This is after getting a call from someone from my past wanting to clear their conscience so they can feel better about themselves ("Bet your life there's something killing you"). No concern about how me and my family are doing, just concern for personal demons. The pleasure is mine and I love where God has guided me, I pray that I will always follow him...he has never let me down.

OK, there it is. Yes, it was a"moment of angst", what can I say?

Monday, February 06, 2006


LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.

Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.

My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?

Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.

Psalm 6:1-4

My God is awesome, one reason I know this is because of his seemingly limitless patience with the likes of an idiot like me. I disappoint him, time and time again and he still picks me up and blesses me...Why?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Rabbit Hole

"This is your last chance. After this, there is no going back.
You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Remember that all I am offering is the truth.
Nothing more."

"The Matrix"

"After this, there is no going back"... If you have seen the Matrix, you realize that once you leave it, that you can't just go back. Besides, why would you? In this fictional world, why would you go back after you know the truth about where you have been? It's not so much that where you are is Nirvana, but now you feel like you are where you are supposed to be, so why would you go back?

I've considered this many times in the last few months. Knowing what I know now, what would I do if I were faced with a decision to "go back". There was a time when I would have ran back as quickly as possible, but now I know a little more of the picture. I am seeing the world through my eyes, less hindered by filters that have been there for years. I can see.

Not unlike Neo in "The Matrix", when I first started looking around without the filters on, it hurt.

"Why do my eyes hurt?"

"You've never used them before."

Now, I ask myself. Am I a Christian or am I a part of "The Church of Christ"? The answer is liberating... I am a Christian...only. I am no longer bound by a name, by a group of people, but free to worship God as a follower of his son. Now the options are wider.

I have often dicussed my feelings about instrumental music in the worship service and I have always said that I feel that ACapella music is the best way. I still have a predelection to ACapella music, but now there's something else rolling around in my head. I have been searching for a group of people that worship God with an open heart, that love and accept visitors, that worship more dynamically (meaning that worship is not rote and memorized and cannot be merely viewed but must be participated). Maybe instrumental music is just part of that package, maybe it's VERY DIFFICULT (not impossible) to do this without it.

I'm not saying that you can't have a "dynamic" worship and congregation without instumental music, what I am saying is that having it allows you to have more people involved in it and more options available to you. That snowballs and as the momentum of more involvement grows and grows you end up with something you couldn't do before.

In my humble opinion, using instrumental music in the worship would be just one of the many tools available to have an engaging, participatory, vertical worship service. Just as "ACapella Churches of Christ" lean on that ACappella worship, I sometimes wonder if "Instrumental Churches of Christ" lean on instrumental music too much. There is a lot to be said for the quiet reflection of a single voice or group. On the other hand, I have noticed that good instrumental music in a worship can give great flow and help create mood.

For me, the bottom line is that I'm really not sure I could go back, now that I have "taken the pill" and opened my eyes. I know I couldn't go back to ritual and rote, I have plunged into the rabbit hole...

"...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