Nov 22, 2010

"and heaven meets earth like a (CENSORED!!!!!)"

a lot has happened since my last blog. this first segment will be for those who are not involved in my immediate world:

1) I am (finally) Employed. I work for Booster Enterprises, a company that does elementary school fundraising. I get to speak life into kids daily. hand sanitizer is required

2) 4, count them, 4 of my good friends have gotten engaged: Bret Waldrep to Jennifer Waites, Malcolm Reddoch to Sydney Flowers, Eric Parker to Katie Shaddix, and Ashley Breitenstein to Corey Wilkes.

What. the. Heck.

3) CGI Harry Potter and Hermione made out naked?!?!?!?! Poor Innocent Ron

that should get everyone about caught up. 

recently I have had the privilege of leading worship again at my home church in alabaster. Leading worship for middle schoolers and highschoolers is a whole different ball game, especially given the circumstances I came into.  after my first week my drummer informed me that he wouldn't be playing because he was, get this, grounded. these are the kinds of life or death issues I'm dealing with. 
during the first week i played mostly new songs, including How he loves by John Mark McMillan. I've referenced this song in an earlier post (see Post Here) and how much it means to me. now before i even got up there i realized that the infamous Sloppy Wet Kiss line was going to be an issue, but luckily my favorite chipmunk, who sometimes leads worship under the name David Crowder, had covered this song with the line "unforeseen kiss". now why the image of some creeper sneaking a kiss from a girl is better than a sloppy one beats me, but I had determined that this version would be more appropriate. 
Unfortunately, my subconscious had different plans, and when it came time to sing the lyrics in my less abrasive way, something took over and I said that which will forever haunt me in middle school land. 

now i tell this story to illustrate a point, I think. I, personally, resent the idea that we are going to sing different words because the original ones make us uncomfortable. the idea of Gods' love being messy is something that doesn't fit in our neat and pretty view of how we want God to look. but the reason the Gods love is NECESSARILY messy, in my humble opinion, is not because of the bride groom but the bride. 

Listen to the Song. the whole thing is about being emotionally swept away by the fact that even though we are broken, afflicted and continuously unfaithful, God is Jealous for us. for God in all of his Glory to interact with Us in all of our sinfulness, things tend to be sloppy, because he is not surgically precise when he displays his love to us, he LAVISHES US with it! we do not have a portion of his love, we have the fullness of his affection.

I think this scares us, to be honest with you. we are so scared of kids making out with their girlfriends that we try to sterilize our worship, to the point that what happens is we sing a lot of right things, but we aren't moved by them. 

here is why I lead worship: to lead people to the feet of Jesus. the only things that can happen there are Humiliation, Exaltation, or Rejection.

  The Cross will humiliate you if you'll stop trying to clean the blood off of it. it is where the Love and Mercy of God are set on display BY HIS WRATH BEING DISPLACED FROM ME TO JESUS.  the picture of Gods Love is incomplete without an understanding of the weight of what Christ endured. 

Once brought low, you see the magnitude of What Christ has done, and you cannot help but to worship him. He is great, and his greatness is most uniquely and gloriously shown in his love and sacrifice for sinners. 

the last reaction is quite honestly the one that we are most prone towards. its not a rejection of the cross as an idea, because we LOVE the cross as an idea. But if we begin to see it for what it really is we might do something crazy, like give our lives up. and so we insulate ourselves, sing under our breath so no one thinks we're getting "lost in the moment", we may clap to the beat a little bit, but we will NOT make a spectacle of ourselves. "those people" are just trying to get attention. 

I know, there are practical reasons we should sing the verse about sloppy wet kisses to middle schoolers, they're immature and will probably laugh. but if we continue to insulate them, can we really blame them for their immaturity?  

thats whats rolling through my dome right now. i should have more time to blog in the coming weeks. i'll try not to take to long of a hiatus. until next time, stay classy interwebs

Oct 26, 2010

I think, therefore I have no clue

Last week I had a conversation via twitter with a friend about an issue of which was more paramount to salvation: submission or understanding. lets define our terms.

 what I mean by Submission is the act of an individual subjugating himself to the Lordship of Christ. what i mean by understanding is a mental ascent to the knowledge of the truths about Christs Lordship and believing rightly about those things. 

some will say that there is a level of understanding that must be reached before one can submit to Christ and his Lordship. we must understand that he loves us, is worthy of our submission, and that this submission is to lead to our ultimate good. some will balk at the last one, saying that we should submit regardless of whether or not its for our good, but Christ uses our own pleasure and joy as a motivator for submission Matthew16:24-25 for instance....

I will say that I sympathize with this position greatly. it seems harmless enough to think that one must think rightly about these issues before one can truly understand what there submission means.  

but I'm afraid that what we are doing here is placing some extra implications on the Gospel that are simply not in scripture. Paul gives us the two requirements of salvation in Romans 10:9.

"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." 

here we see that confession of Christs Lordship(submission) and belief in the resurrection are the two elements that are necessary for salvation. some will surely say that belief in the resurrection is alluding to the understanding that is necessary. but I think that anyone who says this has trapped themselves to believing in a faithless Christianity. 

Quickly, show of hands, who understands the Resurrection from the Dead?.........................anyone?........sweet. I think what is actually shown in the passage from Romans is a Submission WITHOUT understanding. anyone who says they understand what put life back in our saviors body believes in a smallminded Christianity. 

the reason I write this is twofold.

First: we have lost the art of submission in our churches

what I hear all to often in working with church people are musings about what they would do differently if they were in leadership, why the leadership is wrong, and their desire for things to be different. I can't help but wonder what our churches would look like if we understood the place that submission holds in our faith. our entire system is based on submitting to a higher authority that we cannot and will not understand. and yet we refuse to submit to the authorities that have been placed on our churches. 

Second: we are no longer tolerant of mystery, so we have oversimplified our faith

the problem with believing that there is an understanding level that is necessary for submission is that when we come to things in the bible we don't understand, we either disregard it as not important or we reduce it down to something we can handle. we have lost the ability to live in the tension that is the gospel. 

the last, unspoken reason behind all of this conversation is the arrogance that we think we understand anything about our faith in the classical sense. now before you call me a crazy liberal, think for about 2 seconds. are you really arrogant enough to believe that you UNDERSTAND the atonement? the resurrection? the Cross? sure you have a grasp on what scripture says about these things, you may even have a sound theology about them. but to say that you understand the death of Christ is absurd. its incomprehensible. but we MUST believe in it and in what Scripture teaches about it. we can certainly understand  the logical consistences between these truths and the doctrines in scripture, but the foundational truth about all of this is that it is UNBELIEVABLE. this is why we must be born again. we will not believe these truths unless God changes our hearts towards him.

we may not ever understand completely or even marginally understand why we must submit to Christ. we simply have faith that he is who he says he is. the depths of our relationship with Christ are not bound by our ability to understand them. 

I will continue with some more thoughts that i had thinking about this issue in the coming weeks. hope this will hold you over Gail

Oct 5, 2010

that love me for the man I've become not the man that I was....

 I've had some time this week to reflect on my college years, and I have come to the not so novel conclusion that if can be summed up in the relationships that were created through the heat and pressure of my semi-academic career. there are some who will tell you that you need to diversify your friends, and I believe that I was most fortunate to be able to stumble into exactly that.  I have some of the best friends in the world, and even truer still I have gained brothers that I will love for the rest of my life.

 it's strange, but I feel a certain bond with these people unmatched by anything I had in high school. these are the people who watched (and still are waiting) me become the man that I am. I've laughed till I cried with these people. with some of them I've just flat out cried.I've certainly had my ups and downs. There are people who this time last year I considered my friends that i barely speak to anymore. There are people who were little more than acquaintances that I now consider best friends.

I think at the center of this is a need for community. I hate being by myself for longer than a day, I am a relational individual, I process things through interaction with other people. I think on some level we all have a desire to share our lives with others.

The part of this that is most exciting to me is seeing people who i haven't seen in months and being able to share my experiences with them and have them tell me what their life is taking them. I have a friend in Nashville working in a job that he loves, friends in California planting churches, friends in Texas going through leadership development, friends dealing with unemployment, friends finding jobs, friends losing them, and yes, even friends who are still in college.  We are all learning different lessons and growing in different ways, and while we do this separately, when we get together its time that I cherish

Recently I got to spend some time with a few of these people, and while we were all together, it was nothing like old times. in the short 5 months since we were all together our individual lives have changed drastically. we're all in different places, in periods of constant change and "becoming adults". and i wouldn't trade it for anything. i miss these people dearly, but I can't wait till I see them again and get to ask what they're learning, who they're impacting, and what Christ is Teaching them. its in these conversations that i will always have a bond with these people, because through everything they are my brothers ans sisters whom I will always love.

Sep 30, 2010

The Song Inside the Sound of Breaking Down: the lost album

John Mark McMillan is one of my favorite people playing music right now. the title of this post corresponds with Johns independent album released in 2005. I love this album, which is why when i was surfing the interwebs today looking for it to link, i was surprised to find that it was gone, magically erased from the annals of internet history. the only place you can get it, to my knowledge is here where some jerk face is selling a copy for 99$ (if said jerk face comes across this blog and is also John Mark, my apologies. Otherwise, insult intended)

 now i'm sure that there are those of you out there who can find it for free by way of torrent, but it strikes me as Odd that a whole album, one that i purchased on Itunes this time last year, is now unavailable to the general public. This album has a very significant place in my heart, I found it at a time of emotional turmoil, and songs Like Closer, How He Loves(the real version guys) and I Am a Temple were a source of great comfort to me.

Closer, which is adapted from the blind man in Luke 18. This song would play on repeat as I walked across the University of Alabama's campus with my over sized I-Like-Music-More-Than-You-Do headphones, during a season of life where my mind swam through an ocean of self doubt. as my mind tried to tread the water of my emotions, this song became my cry into what I saw as an endless sea, but I soon learned that my little world was nothing compared to the love of God.

I am a Temple is a song that if you happen to be driving next to me when this song graces my ears, then you will hear my voice, through steel and glass and whatever other ill conceived obstacle in its path, not singing but yelling the lyrics. I'm obnoxious like that. sorry to all who have experienced this phenomena. the reason for the decibel level in my singing was the same reason a mother doesn't whisper words of warning to her children as they run into the street. thats called negligence. I have to constantly remind myself that it doesn't matter how filthy I am, how worthless I feel , because the moment I say that I am unworthy is the moment that I devalue the the Cross of Christ. he has made me clean. and I am forever grateful.

I am not even going to quantify the effect that John's Song "How He Loves has impacted my Life, I will simply post his own. I know that its cruel to post how much I love this album, because I can't share it with you. but maybe if you bombard Johns Twitter with requests for the album he'll give in and make it available again, or direct you to where this short sighted individual was to lazy to look.

Sep 24, 2010

and so it begins......again

Hello internet, it seems that we meet again. its been a while since you and I have had a working relationship. I hope this time will find us both more agreeable in nature

I have a habit of starting these and stopping them, but hopefully I will be able to keep this up this time, being unemployed leaves you a lot of time when you're not interviewing for jobs. or watching the price is right thinking "man, Bob Barker has gained some weight!"

this will serve as an outlet to share my thoughts and ideas about things that i'm studying, random current events, and to serve as as some accountability for my Bible Study.

The internet is over saturated with people who think they know everything. I know I don't. Stop laughing Gail

Ok so the truth is that I am just as arrogant as the next guy if not more, but I do know that I am certainly not as smart as I think I am, but I am confident that my friends are collectively the smartest people I know, so hopefully we'll solve a problem or two, maybe global warming, that'd be one for the ages.

So hopefully this will be edifying for you the readers. and will keep me from going insane.

until then, Hide your kids, hide your wife