Monthly Archives: March 2014

Subliminal

Trying something different today

photo taken from the internet, copyright not mine

Iridescent

Wasteland

Overcomes

Neverland

Desire

Echoes

Rivers

Infiltrate

Frozen

Yesterdays

Outlining

Undetermined

Coming

As

New

Systems

Ecology

Emerge

Terminal

Hope

Irresistibly

Sequences

 

 

Let me know if you spot it (this may have been a better idea in my head than on the page)

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis, the life of a redeemed man of God

The process of changing from what the world told us we should be

Into who God says that we really are

 

The growing pains

The frustrations

The disappointment when old habits take over new desires

 

When you become the hypocrisy that you despise

Those moments when all seems dark

Yet you see the light at the end of the tunnel

 

You move towards it, slowly, awkwardly

Your cocoon is very real

However it is not a place of hiding

 

It is a public display of your struggles

As you begin to shed the shell of transformation

You begin to realize just how different you are

 

You are not perfect

You may not be fully “fixed”

But your heart is pure

 

Your desire unquestionable

Give me more of you oh God

More of you and less of me

 

That I might become more like you

Make me the me, that You see in me

Not for me, but for Your glory, to benefit Your Kingdom

 

Let Your Light Shine

You are not just another person

You are not run of the mill

You are not insignificant

 

You are beautiful

You are a unique creation

You are amazing

 

You have gifts

You have talents

You have a purpose

 

You are loved

You are accepted

You are welcome

 

Your destiny awaits you

Your destiny is calling

Your destiny should not be wasted

 

My friends, my brothers and sisters

No longer hide your light

Let Your Light Shine

 

 

Shine on my beautiful wonderful friends. Let’s make this world a place with no hidden lights, that the light of love may be seen and received wherever there is life.

 

Isaiah 60: 1-2

60:1 “Arise! Shine! For your light arrives!

The splendor of the Lord shines on you!

60:2 For, look, darkness covers the earth

and deep darkness covers the nations,

but the Lord shines on you;

his splendor appears over you.

 

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

A bridge

A bridge, a bridge, I need a bridge
Searching the cosmos in helter-skelter fashion
For a perfect, beautiful, flowing bridge

Then with stupefaction, the bridge was there
Of all places, in the shower
I found the bridge, the perfect bridge

Alas as the mind wandered, weary in the fog of morning
The lyrical gift was misplaced
Lost on the ever flowing tide of creation

And now, with great frustration
The search for the perfect bridge
Continues in earnest

Worship leader?

You know how it happens, you ask a question, you have a brief conversation and before you know it, you’ve volunteered to do something completely out of your comfort zone. Well that’s what happened the 2nd Saturday in January when I was helping out at the Solomon’s Porch homeless ministry. There were a couple of really cool songs they played over the PA that I wanted to know the names of so I could learn them for my own entertainment. Somehow that conversation led to me volunteering to lead worship at some point in the future. Now I could be all coy and pretend that this outcome was a complete surprise to me, but if I’m honest I knew that the conversation I was having was going to end this way. Sometimes as a believer you just know things are going to happen in a certain way, usually because God has told you. Fortunately the idea of doing this had been in my mind and on my heart for a while, probably a year or so. God’s timing was just right though and so in the healthiest period of my life came the time to do something completely out of my comfort zone.

Previously when I had considered being involved in worship music with an audience, the idea was only ever to be playing guitar. I’ve said previously on here that one of my great regrets was never having played in a band publically. However, in that I have no great desire for a 2nd job (try finding a good band that doesn’t want to turn it into that), or to spend my weekends in bars anymore, I figured that worship might be the best / only way that I’ll ever get to scratch that itch. So my idea was, one day I’ll grab onto my Stratocaster and play in a band while someone else sings, hopefully get the chance to play a bluesy solo or something. That was my idea, nothing grand or anything, but that was it. However it seems that my idea was not THE idea, not God’s plan.

One of the great things about publically sharing my attempts at learning to record music is that it has helped me, somewhat, with my alarming lack of confidence with my singing voice. As I’ve started to sing more, I’ve started to find my voice, that might sound strange but previously I always found myself doing an impersonation of someone else when I sing. When I sing today, unless I’m doing it on purpose, I sing with my voice, using my voice more has opened up my range more too, it turns out I can actually sing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to quit my day job, but I can hold a tune which is kind of cool.

So on to THE plan J Saturday March 8th, the day I made my debut as a worship leader, just me and an acoustic guitar. Not so sure I’m comfortable calling myself that, but that is what I did that morning. It was a strange experience leading up to this moment. This is something that has been in my heart, something I have talked to God about, something that I know He wanted me to do, I knew that in my heart and in my head. However despite knowing that God does not give us a spirit of fear, I have had a heck of a time sleeping this week, nervous, anxious, excited, a mix of all of them. Friday morning struck with the whole “what am I even hoping to accomplish with this” attack from the enemy. Which while discouraging, what really a valid question, why was I going to do this? The voice within, the counsellor spoke to me and it all made sense. For all that God has done for me in my life over the last 10 years, what more fitting of a sacrifice could I offer to Him, to show that I truly trust Him, than to publically sacrifice my fears. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear in general. This was not about me, this was about telling my Father that I truly trust Him. In the process, hopefully I could give some people an enjoyable time with some live worship music and help to set the atmosphere of worship to help people allow God to do the work on He can in their hearts.

We got to Solomon’s Porch at around 0830, the first thing that struck me was the amount of volunteers there. God bless spring break, all told there had to be over 70 people there to help, I’ve been there when there were maybe 25 or 20, it was amazing to see so many people wanting to love those less fortunate than them. There was a youth group from a church in Texarkana there whose pastor and their worship leader spoke some wonderfully encouraging words to me and prayed with for me before I went out to play. It never ceases to amaze me how God will place just the right people in your life at just the right time, these wonderfully genuine, new friends were just what I needed at that moment.

And then, it was time. There was no turning back, no running away, I had to trust God and go do what He had called me to do. The truth is I was shaking a little at first, my voice was a little quite at first & thank God for not only His amazing grace, but the wonderfully familiar song amazing grace. I opened with that song for no other reason that it is so comfortable to play and sing.

Funny thing with the set list, when I first agreed to do this, the thought was to play 3 or 4 songs right before the sermon. Usually they have breakfast and then the clothes ministry, bible study follows that right before “church” then they wrap up with lunch. When I emailed to confirm this week I was asked if I wanted to play for about an extra 45 minutes prior to the bible study time as well as lead worship. It’s a good thing I had been playing more than the 4 songs I had on my heart for the “worship” time. So in a mass panic of extra practice this last week I showed up ready to play up to 13 songs, some more polished than other but pretty confident in all of them.

When I got there and saw the army of volunteers, I also discovered there were some folks there who were also ready to sing. Their loving respect for the work I had put in was awesome, so we decided that I would play the time prior to the bible study and one song during “church” time before handing it over to their team who would be giving most of the service anyway. (I put church in “” as in truth, the whole time is church. It is a gathering of God’s people doing God’s work, it is Jesus in action, it doesn’t get more church than that, but to specifically point out the Mercy Seat Church part of the ministry, I figured that would work).

So I started to sing and play & you know what? I wasn’t terrible, I got over my nerves and by the end of it I had really enjoyed myself. There were moments when I was just lost in the music, playing for an audience of one & I think it showed. Some of my friends who were there to serve didn’t know I was going to be signing (I had kept it quiet, not wanting to make a big deal out of it, silly really), they all had wonderfully nice things to say to me afterwards, in fact everyone did, it was just really nice. I’m still not about to quit my day job 😉 but I will be singing the praises of the living God in south central Dallas on the second Saturday of the month for the foreseeable future. And so the journey continues, my wonderful walk with my redeeming Father. Thank you Jesus, thank you for it all.

 

Apparently this is my worship face  🙂

worship face 2

 

These are the songs I played.

 

Amazing Grace, my chains are gone

You Never Let go

Furious

Beautiful Things

This is Amazing Grace

My Redeemer Lives

Christ is Risen

How He Loves Us

 

10,000 Reasons

20140308_100920

School run

As you exit the car

As you leave the protective cocoon

The place of safety that we keep you in

 

Where we can shelter you

Where we can guide you

Where we can mold you

 

When you leave our protection

You go into your own world

A world over which I have no control

 

With such little influence

I know that I will never know fully what happens in it

And I have to trust you

 

I have to trust God

That everything will be ok

So have a good day at school, my dear precious child

Judges 19 & this crazy world we live in

Do you think the world is a mess today? You’re right, I certainly agree, but then again, hasn’t it always been? If you think it’s worse than ever, I’d challenge you to go read some of the old testament, now that was a screwed up crazy world. They didn’t even have CNN & FOX to skew everything, imagine how crazy it must have really been!

Take Judges 19 for example, a guy welcomes a stranger into his house for the night, a truly nice &  neighborly thing to do. Then some freakoids from the town bang on the door and ask for the male guest to be given to them so they can rape him, REALY??? I mean, that’s really when you know the neighborhood has gone to the dogs! So what do they do? Stand up to them? Confront them? Even hide in a closet? No, the man sends his concubine out in his place! What a despicably cowardly act. In the face of depravity, this knucklehead didn’t stand up to defend this woman who he was obliged to protect, out of fear he gave her up to be raped and murdered. The end consequence? A bloody civil war amongst the Israelites that costs the lives of 65130 fighting men and the entire city of Gibeah.

I wonder what would have happened if the man had stopped right there and prayed to the Lord almighty? Or what if the man of the house called the people out by name? I know he was an older man, but I’m sure he knew these men and their families. Maybe Judges 19 would have been a blank page, maybe it would be the story of a man who turned to God for protection. Instead it is a story of how far out of kilter our lives can get & consequently the lives of all those around us, when we act out of fear instead of faith.

2 Timothy 1:7

New International Version (NIV)

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

1 John 4:18

New International Version (NIV)

18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

As I listened to this text the other morning whilst driving to work I was stunned, appalled and strangely comforted that I live in such great times. Yes there are horrific acts all around the world every day, there is terrifying civil unrest, there are wars, there is poverty, greed, acts of atrocity and all kinds of unsightly things. Yet we also have civil and human rights, more people (Christian or not) trying to make a positive difference in the world than ever, meeting the needs of the poor and broken around the world. Is the world a mess? Yes it is. Is it worse than ever? I believe it is better than ever, despite the fear that news stations try to sell us.

Let us in these trying times, cling to the hope of the Living God and reject the spirit of fear that he does not give us but the world tries to sell us. Take comfort in the knowledge through our fellowship with Jesus, we walk in the light, despite this dark world.

Judges 19 (NET Bible)

Sodom and Gomorrah Revisited

19:1 In those days Israel had no king. There was a Levite1 living temporarily in the remote region of the Ephraimite hill country. He acquired a concubine2 from Bethlehem3 in Judah. 19:2 However, she4 got angry at him5 and went home6 to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah. When she had been there four months, 19:3 her husband came7 after her, hoping he could convince her to return.8 He brought with him his servant9 and a pair of donkeys. When she brought him into her father’s house and the girl’s father saw him, he greeted him warmly.10 19:4 His father-in-law, the girl’s father, persuaded him to stay with him for three days, and they ate and drank together, and spent the night there. 19:5 On the fourth day they woke up early and the Levite got ready to leave.11 But the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Have a bite to eat for some energy,12 then you can go.” 19:6 So the two of them sat down and had a meal together.13 Then the girl’s father said to the man, “Why not stay another night and have a good time!”14 19:7 When the man got ready to leave,15 his father-in-law convinced him to stay another night.16 19:8 He woke up early in the morning on the fifth day so he could leave, but the girl’s father said, “Get some energy.17 Wait until later in the day to leave!”18 So they ate a meal together. 19:9 When the man got ready to leave19 with his concubine and his servant,20 his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Look! The day is almost over!21 Stay another night! Since the day is over,22 stay another night here and have a good time. You can get up early tomorrow and start your trip home.”23 19:10 But the man did not want to stay another night. He left24 and traveled as far as25 Jebus (that is, Jerusalem).26 He had with him a pair of saddled donkeys and his concubine.27

19:11 When they got near Jebus, it was getting quite late28 and the servant29 said to his master, “Come on, let’s stop at30 this Jebusite city and spend the night in it.” 19:12 But his master said to him, “We should not stop at a foreign city where non-Israelites live.31 We will travel on to Gibeah.” 19:13 He said to his servant,32 “Come on, we will go into one of the other towns33 and spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 19:14 So they traveled on,34 and the sun went down when they were near Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin.35 19:15 They stopped there and decided to spend the night36 in Gibeah. They came into the city and sat down in the town square, but no one invited them to spend the night.37

19:16 But then an old man passed by, returning at the end of the day from his work in the field.38 The man was from the Ephraimite hill country; he was living temporarily in Gibeah. (The residents of the town were Benjaminites.)39 19:17 When he looked up and saw the traveler40 in the town square, the old man said, “Where are you heading? Where do you come from?” 19:18 The Levite41 said to him, “We are traveling from Bethlehem42 in Judah to the remote region of the Ephraimite hill country. That’s where I’m from. I had business in Bethlehem in Judah, but now I’m heading home.43 But no one has invited me into their home. 19:19 We have enough straw and grain for our donkeys, and there is enough food and wine for me, your female servant,44 and the young man who is with your servants.45 We lack nothing.” 19:20 The old man said, “Everything is just fine!46 I will take care of all your needs. But don’t spend the night in the town square.” 19:21 So he brought him to his house and fed the donkeys. They washed their feet and had a meal.47

19:22 They were having a good time,48 when suddenly49 some men of the city, some good-for-nothings,50 surrounded the house and kept beating51 on the door. They said to the old man who owned the house, “Send out the man who came to visit you so we can have sex with him.”52 19:23 The man who owned the house went outside and said to them, “No, my brothers! Don’t do this wicked thing! After all, this man is a guest in my house. Don’t do such a disgraceful thing! 19:24 Here are my virgin daughter and my guest’s53 concubine. I will send them out and you can abuse them and do to them whatever you like.54 But don’t do such a disgraceful thing to this man!” 19:25 The men refused to listen to him, so the Levite55 grabbed his concubine and made her go outside.56 They raped57 her and abused her all night long until morning. They let her go at dawn. 19:26 The woman arrived back at daybreak and was sprawled out on the doorstep of the house where her master58 was staying until it became light.59 19:27 When her master60 got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and went outside to start on his journey, there was the woman, his concubine, sprawled out on the doorstep of the house with her hands on the threshold. 19:28 He said to her, “Get up, let’s leave!” But there was no response. He put her on the donkey and went home.61 19:29 When he got home, he took a knife, grabbed his concubine, and carved her up into twelve pieces.62 Then he sent the pieces throughout Israel.63 19:30 Everyone who saw the sight64 said, “Nothing like this has happened or been witnessed during the entire time since65 the Israelites left the land of Egypt!66 Take careful note of it! Discuss it and speak!”

Next Chapter

59sn A concubine was a slave woman in ancient Near Eastern societies who was the legal property of her master, but who could have legitimate sexual relations with her master. A concubine’s status was more elevated than a mere servant, but she was not free and did not have the legal rights of a free wife. The children of a concubine could, in some instances, become equal heirs with the children of the free wife. After the period of the Judges concubines may have become more of a royal prerogative (2 Sam 21:10-14; 1 Kgs 11:3).