You’re my Prince of Peace, and I will live me life for You

Just wanted to check in and let you guys know what has been going on these past few days.  It has been hectic trying to get things together for the new school year as well as everything here at the church.  I am taking 5 classes this semester at seminary.  That is the most I have ever taken in a given semester.  I know that it will be crazy at times, but I know that with the help of Christ I can do it.  He is my Prince of Peace, and He will get me through it all.  So school has started back in case you did not catch that.  Also we are about to kick everything off at the church for the Fall, and I am trying feverishly to get everything in order for it to be a great time for the youth and for the rest of the congregation during worship time.  Needless to say, it has been rather busy, but I do have my wonderful wife to help me get things done, and the power of the Lord to get me through.  Sorry that there is nothing majorly theological in today’s post, but I will work on something good for next time.  Until then…

Published in: on August 27, 2008 at 6:37 pm  Comments (1)  

I will not be silent no, I will not be quiet anymore…

My post today will be short and to the point.  I know that I am beating a dead horse, and there have been far more eloquent people to address this issue before I have.  However, why is it that music, and more specifically its volume, such a source of contention in churches?  I truly do not understand why people get so up in arms about it.  If the music is too loud, then  certain people complain about it.  If the music is too quiet, then other people complain about it.  There simply is no way to scratch everyone’s itch when it comes to worship music.  Therefore, I will give you my humble opinion on the subject.

I am a person who grew up in a first baptist church that was considered very conservative in nature.  It was choirs and hymns every Sunday.  By no stretch of the imagination could the church have been considered “contemporary.”  Thank the Lord that it has changed since then, but that is another story.  I said that in order to let you know where I am coming from in this conversation.  I do not come from a vineyard background or from some ultra-progressive emergent church background.  However, I love the new music that is coming out.  The thing that upsets me most is that church members, young and old, seem to be more close-minded than ever these days.  Older people tend to want to sing only hymns because “that is the way it has always been done.”  On the other hand, younger people tend to want to sing only new praise choruses.  I find myself right in the middle.  I love the new praise music and the new/revitalized hymns that are coming out, but it would be tragic for the church to lose sight of the hymns that have grown the church over the past 200 years.  These hymns chronicle the movements of God among His people over history, and they tell the story of His people’s love for Him.  The newer songs are the voice of the people now.  God is stirring again in the hearts of young people, and it is of utmost importance to not quelch that.  I just don’t understand why there can be no happy medium.  I try my absolute hardest every Sunday to strike that balance.  I am of the belief that, as a minister of music, I have the responsability to reach as many people as possible with a certain style.  Unfortunately there will be outlyers on either side of style that I employ on a given Sunday.  I am not saying that those people do not matter, but I am saying that it is strictly impossible for everyone to be happy with the type of music played at every single service that is planned.  Fortunately, that brings me to another point.  I cannot compute the comment, “I just can’t worship to that kind of music.”  My question in response is, “Does the worship come from the music or from the worshiper?”  I think that one could deduce from my tone that the worship has nothing to do with the song itself.  Worship is not a song.  Worship is a way of living.  I am not saying that a song cannot inspire someone to a deeper level of worship, but all to often people rely solely on the song to bring them into worship and that cannot be the case if true worship is going to take place.  For real worship to occur, the preparation has to have began long before one is seated in a sanctuary or worship center.  The preparation should have been taking place the entire week prior to that point when he or she sits down in that room.  This leads to my final point.  A worship service is not for you.  We have such a consumerist point of view in the church today.  A worship service, on any day of the week, is a time for us to pour out or gratitude and worship to God.  It is not a time for us to sit and be fed.  We should leave a worship service totally spent, in that we should be pouring all of our energy into the worship of God the Father.  I hate it when I hear people say, “I didn’t get anything out of that service.”  What an incredibly arrogant thing to say!  That service was not for you, about you, or concerning you.  That service was for the Lord, and he is the one who should be getting something out of it.  I am not saying that you cannot be blessed by what takes place in a worship service, but what I am saying is that the primary focus is not us.  If you are prepared for worship, and you come in with the attitude of giving back to God, then the outcome will be much different every time.

Sorry that was not very short, but it was important for me to say that.  Hope that it spurrs conversation or gets you thinking.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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Ever faithful, ever true, You I know You never let go

I just wanted to take the opportunity tonight to say a few things about our Lord.  He is so stinking cool!  He loves us more than we could ever know, more than we could ever even fathom.  Even when a person may hate God with everything that is inside him, God loves that person completely with a love that can break through the hate.  I am so thankful that God and I collided nearly 15 years ago.  Little did I know that journey that He had in store for me.  I would never had imagined at that point in my life that at the age of 24 I would be married to a gorgeous woman, have the cutest little girl in the world, and be a staff member at a church in Mableton, GA.  God has plans for you and I that will blow your mind.  I love the words to the song by David Crowder Band called “A Beautiful Collision.”  You should read them:

The heart breaking makes a sound
I never knew could be
So beautiful and loud
Fury filled and we collide

So courageous until now
Fumbling and scared
So afraid You’ll find me out,
Alone here with my doubt

Here it comes, a beautiful collision
Is happening now.
There seems no end to where You begin and there I am now
You and I collide

Something circling inside,
Spaciously you fly
Infinite and wide,
Like the moon and sky

Here it comes, a beautiful collision
Is happening now.
There seems no end to where you begin and there I am now
You and I, collide

Yeah Yeah Yeah

Here it comes, Here it comes, Here it comes now
Here it comes, Here it comes, Here it comes now
Here it comes, Here it comes, Here it comes now
Here it comes, Here it comes now (You and I)
Here it comes, Here it comes now (You and I)
Here it comes, Here it comes, Here it comes now
Feel it coming on, Feel it coming on now, Here it comes now
Here it comes, Here it comes, Here it comes now

I just love those lyrics.  It is so true how we collide with God at the most seemingly inopportune times for us, but in all actuality it is the most perfectly ordained time.  God reaches into our lives at the exact moment that things seem completely lost to this world and its whims, but He knew that we had to be brought to that point in order to have the humility to rely fully on Him.  God is not going to force us to love Him, but He sure knows great ways to lead us to that point.  Not that He is spiteful or coercive, but that He knows what must be done in order to get our attentions, and at that point we have no where else to turn but to the one who created us.  What a great place to turn.  We think that we have everything in control, but it is truly quite to the contrary, and yet God has the grace enough to let us come to that realization and give us a second chance.

We had such a great worship experience last night.  I think that it was exactly what Kim and I needed considering the past week that we have had.  I cannot give details, but just trust me that it was difficult.  I love that God works things together for good for those who love Him.  It was awesome that God gave us a time to just pour out our hearts to Him, and be refilled with His unfailing love.  We were guest worship leaders at a reconnect weekend at our home church in Powder Springs.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  I needed a time of worship with other believers where I was not the one ultimately responsible for leading the congregation.  (I know that it sounds crazy, but the is a huge difference between worshiping as a lead worshiper and worshiping as a member of the congregation.)  I love those times when you know that God is there.  I mean, I know that He is there with us whenever we meet, but you know what I mean when I say that God just filled up the room.  He was all over the place in that sanctuary.  It was a great time with old friends and family.  Then follow that with a great worship service this morning at Westside.  We debuted our new praise team this morning.  It was so encouraging to see our people worshiping in a fresh and renewed way.  People were excited to be there and singing.  I love it, as a lead worshiper, when you see people really getting it and connecting with God during a service.  It was cool though.  I think that the praise team is going to be a wonderful addition to our worship services at the church. 

So I just needed to say that.  I truly hope that this blog touches the lives of those who read it.  If even one was directed toward the cross throught this blog, my ramblings are more than worth the time it takes to create them.  I leave you with the words to the chorus to the song “Surely We Can Change”:

When all the love in the world Is right here among us And hatred too
And so we must choose What our hands will do

Where there is pain Let us bring grace
Where there is suffering Bring serenity
For those afraid Let us be brave
Where there is misery Let us bring them relief
And surely we can change Surely we can change
Oh surely we can change Something

Published in: on August 17, 2008 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It was the mash…it was the monster mash!

I guess what they say about full moons and everything is true.  Things are kinda crazy today.  First off this morning I get almost all the way to work and realize that I left my briefcase with my computer and all of my papers at the house.  I had to drive all the way back home and get it before I could come to work.  That made the start to the work day much later than usual.  But I did get to listen to Neal Boortz for a much longer time than normal.  Secondly, there is this whole thing with some people in North Georgia that say that they have found a Bigfoot body out in the woods.  They are having a news conference today to present the scientific findings on the carcass.  That is some crazy stuff. I mean what if they really have a Bigfoot on there hands, that would be outrageous.  I think of the doors that it opens.  It means that we need to go fish Nessie out of the Loch, chupacabras are really sucking the blood out of goats in rural places, and aliens are taking people into space ships on a weekly basis.  What is this world coming to.  I know that I sound completely cynical right now, but what does it mean if there are other things out there that we don’t know about.  I’ll tell you exactly what it means.  It means that we don’t know everything.  What a profound conclusion!  It is so counter-cultural to think that humans do not know everything about everything, but I know that it is true.  We simply don’t know as much about life and this world as we think that we do.  I just wanted to get that off of my chest today.  I hope that you have a great weekend.  I have a busy one ahead of me.

Published in: on August 15, 2008 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

What can make me feel this way…My girls!

OK, so those of you who don’t like to read all that sappy love stuff should probably stop reading, but those of you who are still interested, I invite you to read on.  I just need to say that I love my family.  My wife is the greatest woman in the whole wide world.  She is a great friend (in fact I would call her my best friend), she is a wonderful mother to AG, and she is a fabulous cook to boot.  She is also a good blog writer.  You should check her out.  The link is right over there in the right hand column.  I love Kim with every bit of my heart.  She strives to be the woman that is described in Proverbs 31.  I’m not saying that she is perfect, but then again who is.  However, she does try her best to work toward that description.  She is my greatest fan as well as my hardest criticizer, but I would not have it any other way.  She is so good to bounce ideas off of for various ministry things, and she is just downright fun to be around.  I love her.  Also there is this little girl that lives in our house with us, and she is about the coolest thing that I have ever seen.  Anna Grace brings so much joy into our lives.  She is so much fun to watch.  I love to catch her when she is really focused on something and she does not know that I am looking.  To watch her learn and see her grow is fascinating to me.  She has a laugh that will cause the hardest heart to be melted.  I teared up the other day when I was walking outside with her.  She made her way to the edge of the pavement, and before she stepped off she turned around to me and held up her hand as if to say, “Daddy, I want to hold your hand so that I don’t fall.”  I could not hold myself together.  I began to cry.  It is so amazing that this little girl loves me so much and looks to me for protection and guidance.  I love her and her mother both with all of my heart.  Well that is that.  I just needed to say that and get it in print.  I love my family, and I don’t care who knows it.

Published in: on August 14, 2008 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  

You put on quite a show, very entertaining…

Just checking in from the vay-cay.  Things have been going very well.  We are having a great time up here in Illinois.  We went to a cake store yesterday, and it was kinda cluttered.  It had a lot of great cake stuff though.  We watched the season finale of Wipeout last night.  It was hilarious.  Today we went to the park and rode a carousel, looked at some ducks, and played on the biggest playground I have ever seen.  We are going swimming tonight at this park right down the road.  They have a really big slide, and it looks fun.  Please pray for my family.  There are some things going on right now that need to be bathed in prayer.  That is all that i can say about it, but please pray for members of my family other than Kim, Anna Grace, and me.  I’ll talk to y’all later.

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 4:15 pm  Comments (1)  

Da na na na na na na na….Batman!

Yeah so by the way we made it to Illinois safely.  It was a long trip, but I had my two favorite girls with me so that made it bareable.  We had a great first day here yesterday.  I have already had the chance to eat a bunch of cheese, eat a butter burger and fried cheese curds from Culver’s, and spend time with the family.  I really do like coming up here.  It rained most of the day yesterday, so a great deal of the time was spent inside, but we had a good time bowling on Wii.  So you are probably wondering about the title for today.  Well…about midnight last night Kim nudges me awake, and I roll over to see her looking back over my head with an expression of pure fear on her face.  She follows this by exclaiming, “There is something in here.”  My mind races because “something” could include everything from a mouse to pterydactyl.  It was about this time that I hear the flutter of wings and see the black blur fly over about three feet above our heads.  I say, “Holy Crap! That is a bat!”  Needless to say we made a rather hurried exit from the room with daughter in tow.  We came downstairs to inform kim’s parents of the situation, and within a few minutes we were returing to the room.  This time, however, we also possessed a broom, a tennis racket, and a tupperware dish with a lid.  It had been a long time since I had seen a grown man use a tennis racket like a baseball bat, but Steven did just that as the bat made a circle around the room.  The bat fell to the floor and we pinned it there with said tennis racket.  It was at this point that we realized that we had no plan for transferring the bat from the floor to the tupperware dish (with the lid, of course).  The bat was making a terrible sound at this point, and it was showing it’s rather large teeth as a way of letting us known of his dislike for the whole situation.  We finally decided to hit it in the head with a drumstick in order to stun it.  Unfortunately, it was a little bit harder of a hit than we expected, and the bat is no longer with us.  Following the entrance of the hazmat extraction team and the ultimate cleanup, we had a great night of sleep.  I do not know what is planned on today’s activity schedule, but I am sure that it will be fun.  Talk to y’all later.

Published in: on August 5, 2008 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment