Category Archives: Worship

Graves Into Gardens

New record for 7 years between posts…

The craziness of this time has me thinking about my friends and family, those in my community, and those around the world who are living in the midst of fear.  Any time something tragic happens, I often wonder how people cope with it without the hope that comes from a belief in the King of Glory.  I know that people all around me are waking up each day in fear, with each and every news headline and tweet feeding more fear into their hearts and minds.  We seek comfort and control, but nothing feels similar or common.  We’re working from home, teaching our kids, communicating via video chat, and unable to offer even a simple handshake or high five, and especially not a hug.

We need to fight the desire to seclude ourselves during this uncertain time.  Yes, we need to keep our physical distance from others, but we must find ways to let others know we care about them when we are all feeling a bit alone and scared.  I also pray that we have people that we love and trust enough to tell them when we’re struggling or feeling fearful.  Our pastor made the comment that “it’s okay to have fear, but it’s not okay to act fearful.”  We need others to come alongside us in those moments and remind us of the power of the Lord.  He moves mountains, parts seas, brings the dead to life, and lives inside every believer.

My Friday morning men’s group has been reading through Ephesians, and there is some big language from Paul that comes up.  He talks about things like “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and being “chosen in him before the foundation of the world” and “making known to us the mystery of his will.”  Those are things that I can’t even wrap my head around, but then I read things like this…

“…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and the know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

– Ephesians 3:17-21

None of this is a surprise to Him.  He’s still on His throne, and we still won’t understand what’s happening.  But, we can know that He loves us more than we can ever know, and He desires to use us to bring Him glory in this time.  Friends, let us remember that He has done great things and will do greater things than what we are facing.  Let us be His hands and feet and love well in this time, knowing that He is good and He will be glorified!

Lord…be our Hope, our Confidence, and our Redeemer! Amen!

What Do You Live For?…

Have any of you ever felt stressed at the end of the day because something didn’t go as you had hoped or planned?  I put a lot of pressure on myself to not let people down and do the right thing.  But sometimes I over think things to the point where I paralyze myself rather than acting confidently.  So, the other night I began to think about what it is that I really spend my time focusing on, thinking about, and yes, even stressing over.  The more I thought about it, I began to realize that all the things that I spend time thinking about and stressing over have taken the place of the Lord.  I know that may seem a bit extreme, but think about it with me, when I stress out about work, money, friends, and even family, I am placing some type of excessive value on approval or success defined by those things.

Scripture is very clear that we can only serve one god and gives specific examples of how to address each of these in relation to Himself.

Work:  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23 ESV)

Money:  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24 ESV)

Friends & Family:  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 ESV)

Don’t get me wrong, there is a fine balance between doing each of those things well, as we are called to in Scripture, but we are never told to allow them to take His place.

So, what is it that you put an exorbitant amount of energy and focus in each day?  And what do you need to do to correct that focus?

Beautiful Things

I know that I am a “hot-mess”, as my Crissy would say.  I go through life trying to do things as I think I need to do them, often trying to live up to expectations, real or false.  What I end up doing in many instances is over-thinking and completely jacking it up.  I do truly believe that I have been extremely blessed by the Lord with some amazing gifts and talents, but He didn’t give them to me for me to control and analyze every opportunity to use them.  And He sure doesn’t teach me things daily so that I can dwell on them either.  He has given me such gifts and taught me such lessons so that I can honor Him.  Only when I submit to Him and His Will can I be considered a Beautiful Thing.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 reads:  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

Tomorrow is Maundy Thursday, the day that we reflect upon Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us, individually.  On this day, He made the sacrifice to forgive our messiness and make us Beautiful Things.  “Out of chaos, life is being found in YOU…YOU make Beautiful Things out of us!”

Revelation Song

(Sorry for the video closeups of Kari Jobe…I just wanted to have the album version instead of a live version.)

Day by day, I fight the urge to look out for my interests.  I do the things that I feel like I need to do in order to be successful, whether it’s work, or school, or things around the house.  I allow myself to become burdened with these things.  Sometimes, it even gets to the point of becoming so burdened that I don’t do any of them well…

Then I hear the booming voice of this tiny woman and the truth that she speaks from the Word of God!  ““Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”  How trivial are my silly responsibilities in comparison to the Glory of the King of Kings?!  “With all creation I sing PRAISE to the KING of KINGS!”  He has conquered all things and we know that from Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

And the mercy seat that she’s singing about, we’re told that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, interceding on our behalf (Romans 8:34)!  For that we can be nothing less than filled with wonder!  I will adore you Lord!

Like An Avalanche

All day, pretty much every day, I have music playing.  Sometimes it’s worship music, and sometimes it’s not.  While I really like any good music, there is just something about good music that worships the King!  So here is what is going to happen…I’m going to start posting some of my favorite worship tunes that are current or old, and include some reasons why I like them so much.  The way it will work best is to click play on the video, then read the few lines I have posted.  I know you all have better things to do than to spend 5 minutes reading my blog, so thanks!

Cris and I had the privilege of seeing Hillsong United live a couple weeks ago and they were freakin amazing!  There is such an amazing feeling of standing in worship with 15 thousand folks making a joyful noise.  “Like An Avalanche” is one of my favorite tunes these days!  First, I can relate to feeling of finding myself on my knees worshiping the Lord of Grace!  In Romans 7:15-17, Paul says, “For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now If I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin who dwells within me.”  When I first read those words in high school I will never forget the feeling I received.  I could relate perfectly Paul (and that may be the only time I can say that!).  What it comes to is that when I try to do things on my own, I usually mess them up because of my prideful and foolish ways.

But, 2 Corinthians 12:9 also says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness!  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that he power of Christ may rest upon me.”  Knowing this truth, how can we ignore Him and turn away from such an amazing gift?

Jesus, take my heart and take all that I am!  With all that I am, I will love you!  Take my heart, take all that I have, Jesus how I adore you!  And I find myself here on my knees again, caught up in grace like an avalanche!  NOTHING compares to this love!