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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stones of Remembrance


While having a conversation with someone the other day, I began recalling the story of my grandmother’s conversion. She was a wonderful woman who didn’t come to know Christ until she was 80 years young. I remember how a neighbor came and sat down with her and shared the Good News of Jesus Christ. What a glorious day it was for her and our whole family.

Thinking about that caused me to remember some other great events in my life. I have been so blessed throughout my years to have some great times with family and friends. In the midst of turmoil, it is good to have joyful memories to recall. No matter what happens, I will always have these embedded in my mind.

While certainly not being one who totally understand all of the complexities of the human mind, I’ve come to learn that major events of joy and pain cause a chemical to be released in the brain that in essence burns the experience in. What is so miraculous is that even many years later, you can still remember the smells and sounds of the occurrence. It’s not just confined to the emotional tag either. Many times a sound or a smell can trigger the emotional tag.

In the Old Testament they had sites where they piled some rocks and named the place after the event. They were called stones of remembrance. Everyone around knew what took place there. Some where places of great joy or victory. There were a few places where the memory was not one of happiness but of defeat or mourning.

This got me to thinking….why would you want to remember the bad things? Wouldn’t it be much better to only focus on the happy moments? I for one don’t want to think about the bad things that have happened.

I don’t believe we should focus on or dwell in the times of pain or regret but I do believe it is healthy to visit those places. Just don’t stay there. There is, however, one place of suffering and shame that we could all probably do better by visiting more often….the Cross of Christ. In fact, during the Passover, He broke the bread and gave them drink symbolizing His body and blood. He even said “as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me.” What happens here is that a horrible act is remembered and because of that joy is birthed within. While I believe in being reverent during communion, there is also something to the joy that erupts within. His sacrifice bought my freedom. His death gave me liberty. His atonement brings me life eternal. For the joy that was before Him, He endured the cross.

I invite you to take some time to remember. Remember the good things. And old song I recall hearing in church asks God to remind me. It says to “roll back the curtains of memories now and then. Show me where You’ve brought me from and where I could’ve been.” Get into the discipline of taking communion at home once in a while. Remember the Cross. Remember the sacrifice. Remember Him.

This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope.
Lamentations 3:21

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stryper,DC TALK, Carman, Petra, Newsboys..

Any of you readers have these CDs, or should I say Cassettes? I was just reading a blog someone did on Stryper and I recalled when they were the one and only Christian rock/metal band until the crosses (White, Barren, & Neon) came along. I used to have all of their stuff but I actually don't own any of their music now. My wife says they are extremely talented but just cant sing (she says this about almost every Christian Rock band from the 90's). They say history repeats itself but I don't see the spandex and high hair thing coming back anytime soon. Although stryper is back at it with cds and tours. Nothing against them but I thought of this when the Rolling Stones came back out and started touring that perhaps there should be a "force retirement" age for all bands. I mean seeing Jagger with a walker or cane singing Jumping Jack Flash or a few years from now Van Halen and the boys singing Jump at a rest home just doesnt cut it. Then again it would make a interesting reality tv show. Then there is Petra they may be the dinosaur of CCM music and have made more changes to their lineup then Menudo (see wikipedia if you have no clue and just thought I named a Mexican food?) to keep going through the years. As for the Newsboys well they are very much still around but no that new lead singer is not from Australia. I met theses guys back in the 90's when they were touring over 300 days a year playing any place available (i do mean ANY, I think they would have played at your cookout or even a yard sale) as I use to listen to the heavier music I would joke with my friends and say I was a closest Newsboys fan. But Steve Taylor did turn them to in a real band with his added lyrics to the songs. I mean "when you come back again will you bring me something from the fridge" only Taylor could put those lyrics to a reference on the second coming. DC Talk ,well they brought SAFE Christian Rap to a all new level. Perhaps the Pat Boone version of "gangster rap" and much better then Carman. What can I say about Carman. He actually won best rap/hip in 1996 Dove Awards.. That says so much for those awards in a major small way. I would have open the envelope and said REALLY? Seriously? is this a typo? Can we go to a commercial? I actually got all warm and fuzzy inside when I heard the news and realize I was about to throw up. I'm sure he has talent but please save the rap and hip hop for somebody Else, anybody! I recently saw him on tv in concert (okay I was just flipping the channels) and he was singing(?) as animated veggies danced on the screen and with Carman was four young men dressed in some loud green,orange,silver,blue outfits perhaps a version of the Baptist Street Boys? Anyway to each their own. I Mean there are really bad Christian and Non Christian artists and "btw" I'm not sure why we even label music in such a way. But it gets me how really bad artist become famous and sell out concerts and some really really good musicians have a hard time making a living at the same thing. In any case now that you are finished reading this go to Itunes and listen to those great 90 bands or better yet break out those cassettes.

"Booty God Booty"

If nothing else I thought the Title would get your attention..Now if nothing else while you are online do checkout Stuff Christians Like Blog..this man is a good daily read and here is something that just took place in less than a day that is amazing and reminds once again I treat God much of the time that He is short arm, and I wonder about Him and even more so about a church(as a whole) are we asleep but this is a great reminder that He is moving and people (church) is listening... btw "the title is from a message by the writer of this blog"-
$30,000 in 18 hours.

Did that really happen yesterday?
Did we raise $30,000 in 18 hours to build a kindergarten in Vietnam?
Did a blog, that isn’t even based on an original idea, come together and do something much bigger than a blog?
Did a community of people who use the phrase, “
Booty, God, Booty,” and know how to instantly score how metrosexual their worship leader is, really give $5 and $10 and $5,000 donations until they hit $30,000?
Did that really happen yesterday?
It did and if there’s one thing I want you to remember, it’s this:
The miracle of yesterday is so small compared to how much God loves you.
The sum of $30,000 is so tiny compared to the outrageousness of God’s love for you. He’d crossed countries and oceans and space and time to pull you close, traveling to Vietnam is but a hop skip and a jump for a God who can’t keep Himself away from you.
That’s the truth of yesterday, but what does tomorrow hold?
Good question, I think there are four things we could do …
1. We could stop.
2. We could raise the remaining $60,000 to build the two other kindergartens in the area.
3. We could figure out if it’s possible to raise money to sustain and nurture the one kindergarten from yesterday.
4. We could find sponsors (like Compassion International, Catalyst, Samaritan’s Purse, Zondervan and Desiring God) to send me,
Abraham Piper, Tripp Crosby and a bunch of ya’ll to Vietnam next year to pour into that village in a 3D way and make a documentary film of the whole thing.
Clearly, that last one is far fetched, but after yesterday, I’ve decided to retire the phrase “far fetched” from my vocabulary.
I’m talking to Samaritan’s Purse today to figure out next steps, but in the meantime, if you missed the razor thin 18 hour window of craziness that was yesterday,
you can still donate. We’re going to continue raising the money and I don’t want anyone to miss the chance to be part of this just because they don’t read Stuff Christians Like on Mondays. Click here to donate.
Yesterday in my journal, I wrote to God, “I pray you raise $10,000 today. I pray you blow everyone’s expectations out of the water.” And $10,000 felt big and impossible but I forgot something I learned a few years ago – God loves dancing.
In 2006, after a really tough season, such a fantastic Christian word, I realized that I had made God into an emo God. I had made him a God of weeping and tears. When life got hard and painful, I would go see him, take him my problems and weep with him. When life got good, I would walk away and eventually pat myself on the back for all the good times I was experiencing. The outcome of that cycle was that I associated God strictly with seasons of hardship, pain and suffering, and never with joy.
So one morning driving to work, I confessed, “God I’ve made you into a God of weeping. I don’t know how to dance with you.”
And I felt like God said back, “Well, the best way to learn is for me to give you lots of reasons to dance.”
Today is a day of dancing.
Let’s put the glory and the honor and the whoa did that really happen where it belongs – God.
Let’s finish this sentence:
God is _______________
I’ll go first:
God is just getting started.
God is bigger than my big dreams.
God has a huge heart for children and that includes me.
Your turn:
God is _________________