Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Music Tuesday - Saviour King by Hillsong

Well if you haven't figured this out by now, I was born in America but my heart is in Australia. I have really enjoyed Michael Frosts messages and I love his accent. And Hillsong (along with Vineyard and Passion) is one of my favorite producers of music. United is probably my favorite band.

And haven't you noticed that all praise and worship songs sound just a little better with an Australian accent? I'm sure we'll all speak that way in the New Heaven and Earth. :)

So for this week I'm encouraging you to check out Saviour King by Hillsong. This album is loaded with choices. It has some songs that just rock and others that reflect. Right now I'm really enjoying I'm Not Ashamed when I need to hear something loud. This song has some excellent licks in it. In Your Freedom has a great chorus at the end of the song. I think it would make a great camp song.

Lord of Lords
is just beautiful. But then again, we've come to expect that from most any song that Brooke sings. One Thing is traditional Hillsong. It sounds good, is easy to sing along with, and is pure praise towards our Great King.

To Know Your Name
has a great melody. I would love to sing this one with a bunch of friends someday.

Hosanna
is a great song, but I must say that I think I like the Passion version the best so far.

And the title track, Saviour King, really is my favorite song on the album. I can sing it over and over. Thankfully on the United Album, All of the Above, they do sing it over and over for 12 minutes! :) The track on Saviour King is only a paltry 7 minutes and 30 seconds. ;)
The words of the chorus are pure adoration. A song of love for our Saviour King.
We love you Lord, we worship you
You are our God, you alone are good
You asked your Son to carry this
The heavy cross our weight of sin

I love you Lord, I worship you
Hope which was lost, now stands renewed
I give my life to honor this
The love of Christ, the savior king



Tuesday Giveaway:
First person to reply or comment can pick whatever song they like off of the Saviour King album and I will send it to them through an iTunes gift.

Winner:
Debby

Calvary Setlist for April 27th, 2008
Trading My Sorrows
Still
Made Me Glad
Shout to the Lord

A Great Epitaph

From Monday's reading this description of Joseph of Arimathea struck out at me...
Luke 23:50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God.

Isn't this something to be said of every true believer - They were seeking the kingdom of God.

Lord, I hope someday that someone will be able to say of me - he was seeking the Kingdom of God.

Looking for an Old Testament Scholar

I was reading in Judges 8 and found something I had never noticed before...(This may be because the word crescent is not found in Judges passages in the NIV)

Judges 8:21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself and fall upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength.” And Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels...26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian, and besides the collars that were around the necks of their
camels.

Similar ornaments are also mentioned in Isaiah. They were worn by some of the most vain women described in the scriptures. But the Lord would humble them too.

Isaiah 3:18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents;

Does anyone know what these "Crescent Ornaments" represented? Were they some form of idolatry? Were they worshipping the moon? Was it something that signified royalty? I've spent just a few minutes looking online, but haven't found any real clear answers. If you know anything about this, drop me a line.

Learning the Hard Way

Gideon's 300 through the power of the Lord have defeated the Midianites and now they are chasing after the kings of Midian...
4 And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. 5 So he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6 And the officials of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” 7 So Gideon said, “Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.”

Because of their unwillingness to give some bread, 77 men would learn the hard way...
13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a young man of Succoth and questioned him. And he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are exhausted?’” 16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth a lesson.

Lord, please help me to be quick with generosity for Your plans, even when the odds don't look so good.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"...That's So Old Testament."

This is a quote from my message today. I was getting a little carried away discussing the idea of "Come and See" vs. "Go and Tell." Some of the terminology commonly used with this is "Missional/Incarnational vs Attractional." I know Perry Noble thinks this discussion is a waste of time, but he truly has one of the best "attractional" churches that I know of.

Looking at this in an extremely simplistic manner, in the Old Testament God used more of a Come and See approach and in the New Testament we are directed to Go and Tell. Come and See was an opportunity for God to draw people to Himself by blessing the nation of Israel. The nations would "Come and See" what God was doing and they would hopefully want to know more about Him.

But in the New Testament commission passages, we are sent out on mission with God. We are to Go and Tell of the great things that we have seen and heard. We are to model Jesus' incarnation with our own incarnational ministries.

How this plays out in the local church is interesting. Is your church's strategy to invite people to come to the weekly gathering that they may hear the gospel and be saved? Or is the main focus of your church's weekly gathering on developing the "saved" so that they will be prepared to step out into the community to live and speak the gospel to those in their world?

Is your local church extremely concerned with drawing people in with good programs, and excellent music and dynamic preaching? That would be the idea of "attractional." Or is your local church more concerned with diving into your community and rubbing elbows with people where they live and serving them so that they may be reached and loved? That would be more the idea of "missional."

When I was commenting today on "attractional," I stated, "that's SO old Testament." But I also noted that even though I feel it is more of our local church's vision to go and tell, we still want people to feel welcomed when the come to our weekly gathering. As Hirsch states, being missional doesn't mean that you have to be "unattractive."

I respect the effort of churches that work so hard to build God's kingdom through "Come and See" methodology. They are pouring out their souls to reach lost people. But I am concerned that sometimes we may confuse a really cool or hip service with the power of the gospel. I hope we are working just as hard to go and tell as we are at making people feel welcomed in our church house.

I also understand this is not an either/or proposition. Two of my buddies who are church planting have strong attractional weekly gatherings, but during the week their churches are busy doing kindness projects striving to bring God's love to the community rather than just waiting for the community to come to them.

I think the problem with being "missional" or taking the go and tell approach is that often times it is more tedious and less glamorous and sometimes even a little harder to identify. Going and telling just doesn't work well with the American mindset, so we'll go to plan B. If our people won't go and tell, maybe they will invite their friends to come and see. I think this is the reason why a lot of people have turned to a more attractional style ministry.

Please don't take this post to be stating that our local church has "missional/incarnational" ministry all figured out. We are just starting to take this plunge. But I feel it fits with the core of the gospel. And I believe we must get this right if we are going to reach people who will never darken the doors of a church no matter how good the music is.

(If you really would like to follow this discussion follow some of the comments to Alan Hirsch's blog post on this topic.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Links of the Week - April 26th, 2008

Lot's of good posts around the blogosphere this week. I still have a Jeremy Riddle song to giveaway if anyone wants it. On to the links...
  • Tony Jones has started his webisodes about "The New Christians." Interesting, I hope to read the book sometime this summer.
  • We pay pastors and worship leaders, should we pay musicians too?
  • Dan Kimball is turning back to Hell-fire and Brimstone, well sort of...
  • Piper has the best quote of the week.
  • Stuff that Christians like has a hilarious post about breaking up after a retreat. We're going on a mission trip this summer, I hope we can avoid this.
  • Fitch is challenging my thinking as usual. What do you think about having church "in the round?"
  • The Church Geek has found 72 ways to simplify your life. I'm afraid reading blogs is not on the list.
  • Church Matters has 7 Big Questions about how we are approaching the gospel. This is something we all need to answer.
  • Kruse is still talking about the ice age that is coming.
  • Old People are the Happiest People...
  • Are you using facebook to enhance your ministry? You can get a free copy of facebook for pastors by following this link.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday is for Photos - Spring Fling

Spring Fling
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


I shot this one this week. I love the blooms on this tree/bush. (It started out as a tree, but it pretty much died. I kept watering it and watering it and it came back to life, but it looks a whole lot more like a bush than a tree.)

Here's the same bush about this time last year.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Caught Ya with a Captcha

Warning...It's Thursday. That means you're about to hear some geek speak. :)

Yesterday on Slashdot they reported about a new CAPTCHA. What is a Captcha you ask? You know those crazy little images of letters and numbers that you have to type in when you sign into some websites. You know the ones that old people like me can barely read and sometimes have to fill in two or three times? Those are CAPTCHAs.

Their purpose is to thwart the little web robots and script kiddies from hijacking websites and sending spam and the like. Unfortunately, the robots and script kiddies have been winning lately and it appeared it might be the end of the CAPTCHA. But low and behold the folks at Penn State - must be something about penn and geeks - have discovered a new way to deliver CAPTCHAs. They require the use of imagination. Something which most computers still lack. (And a few people as well.)

From Slashdot...
A user is asked to pass two tests: (1) click the geometric center of an image within a composite image, and (2) annotate an image using a word selected from a list. These images shown to the users have fake colors, textures, and edges, based on a sequence of randomly-generated parameters. Computer vision and recognition algorithms, such as alipr, rely on original colors, textures, and shapes in order to interpret the semantic content of an image. Because of the endowed power of imagination, even without the correct color, texture, and shape information, humans can still pass the tests with ease. Until computers can 'imagine' what is missing from an image, robotic programs will be unable to pass these tests.

What will they think of next?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Fruit of His Labor

While looking at today's reading, I thought about the similarity between the promised land, and the promise of Christ...
Joshua 24:13 I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’

John 14:2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

The Lord is going to deliver to us cities that we did not build and a land where we have not labored because he has done all of the laboring. And while I'm sure those buildings in Jericho were impressive, they will pale in comparison to the handiwork of Christ.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coffee In Heaven.

This idea is not original with me; Randy Alcorn has touched on so many creative ideas as it relates to the New Heaven and the New Earth and this is just one of many.

Will there be coffee in Heaven?

"...consider the facts. God made coffee. Coffee grows on Earth, which God made for mankind, put under our management, and filled with resources for our use. When God evaluated his creation, he deemed coffee trees, along with all else, to be 'very good.'" -- Heaven by Randy Alcorn.

I think our problem is that we don't consider eating and drinking to be very "spiritual." Some call this "dualism" or separating the "sacred and the secular." I'll call it ridiculous.

Some of the best conversations I have ever had came with eating and drinking. I've enjoyed talking with my wife at Chili's and talking with my grandpa at the Old Country Buffet, and talking with my kids at McDonalds. Why do we think that all we're going to do in heaven is sing and play a harp? There is so much awaiting us.

Can you imagine sitting down with Paul or Daniel or Moses over a cup of java? I can't wait to hear the stories. What was it like to lead a million people across the Red Sea? Where you scared at all when you saw the lions? Where were you when the 3 Hebrew boys were thrown into the flame? Ok Paul, once and for all, did you have a wife or didn't you?

(If you want to get more information about coffee in Heaven, check out Alcorn's book HEAVEN and head over to page 307. He talks about dealing with caffeine and addictions and drinking coffee with Jesus. )

I think the real question is...What brand of Coffee will they be serving in the New Jerusalem Cafe?

My vote is for Maxwell House Master Blend with a side order of chocolate chip cookies. :)

Feel free to leave a comment with your vote for coffee most likely to be served in Heaven.

Music Tuesday - Jeremy Riddle

I got Jeremy Riddle's Full Attention Album a few weeks ago and have started to really enjoy a couple of the tracks. Most people will be familiar with Sweetly Broken which is a tremendous worship song and probably the best song on the whole album.

The video clip The Gift of Worship uses Sweetly Broken for the background music and it fits so well. If you haven't shown this clip to your church, you should really check it out. You can watch it on Youtube or you can order it from Floodgate Productions.


More Than a Friend is also a song that I enjoyed previously on one of the WOW worship CD sets. (I think I like the WOW version better.) It is a mellow, quiet and reflective song. I think we may try to fit it into our worship service sometime in the near future as special music.

But something I've learned from listening to the whole album is that Riddle can rock. I think my favorite is A Call To Praise. "Truly we were made to praise the Lord." Amen! This song probably won't fit in most churches' song lists, but it is a powerful anthem calling us to sing from the depths of our soul.

Here is the Gift of Worship video:



Tuesday Giveaway:
First person to reply can pick out a free song from the Full Attention album.

Winner:

Calvary Setlist from April 20th.
Come Into His Presence
He Is Exalted
How Great Is Our God/How Great Thou Art
He's Been So Good To Me

Monday, April 21, 2008

Stubborn Love

On Sunday we looked at being steadfast and unmovable when it comes to laboring for the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain. Some people felt this was a great way to justify their hard-headedness. :)

Today as I was reading Psalm 89 this word steadfast took on a whole new meaning. Maybe the best response to the Saddest Psalm is the next Psalm which reminds us of the "Stubborn" love of the Lord.
Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.

Lord, Thank you for loving me with a steadfast love.

Who Are You Afraid Of?

In Sunday's reading, we see who the Pharisees really care about. They are more afraid of people than they are of God.

First they question Jesus about his authority and here is His response...
3 He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, 4 was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” 5 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they did not know where it came from.

They are afraid of the people. Then Jesus tells the parable of the wicked tenants. The Pharisees were sure that He was referring to them. Look at their response.
Luke 20:19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people.

This is a constant reminder to me that I must fear God first. Fear God then honor the King.

Who are you afraid of?

A Promise Kept

I think it's something that we take for granted. But God always keeps His end of the deal...
Joshua 21:45 Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Lord, I know that You never fail. Help me to trust in Your promises.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Saddest Psalm

Some may disagree, but I think Psalm 88 is the saddest Psalm of them all. It appears almost devoid of hope.

Verse 1 is possibly the only light in the chapter...

1 O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
What has always troubled me about this Psalm is how it ends. I hope that somewhere along the way the Psalmist found the God who saves.

18 You have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend.

Lord, help me bring your hope to people who are in this place.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Links of the Week - April 19th, 2008

I'm sorry I didn't make it to the Coffee in Heaven post yet this week. Maybe over the weekend. I read a lot of posts this week, but there were just a few things that caught my eye...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Back from the Woodshed.

Have you ever taken a beating from the Lord? I think I just got one today.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
This Psalm is loaded with encouragement, but for some reason this verse was the portion that I am meditating on today. It reminds me of the beatitude that says, "Blessed are the pure in heart." Purity is all about a single-mindedness towards God. My double-minded heart really gets me into trouble sometimes.

Lord, please teach me to walk in your way. Please purify my heart that I would truly fear your name.

Friday is for Photos - Mama Loves

Mama Loves
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


Just about this time every year we see the Kildeer all over our church parking lot. They really enjoy laying eggs in the rocks. I took this picture about 2 years ago. If you haven't been around a kildeer protecting it's nest, it's quite the sight. They basically put on this big show that they are wounded, hoping to lure you away from their nest. Then when you chase after them, they take off. But one thing about the show, they reveal their true colors - literally. This is one beautiful bird when it spreads out it's wings.

Sound Asleep.

We had an earthquake this morning and our family slept right through it. I always knew I was a sound sleeper, but this is crazy! :)

Interesting coincidence with 1906?
http://www.infoplease.com/dayinhistory

HT: Mark Drone

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The CSS Mess

Well I'm adventuring into new territory this week. I'm trying to take a stab at learning some CSS. Fortunately I have found a couple of cool tools to help with the madness.

CSSEdit by Macrabbit is an awesome program if you are wanting to experiment with CSS on a mac. It's so good, that it might make me "switch" more often to Mac Land. (For those of you that don't know, I'm the ultimate hypocrite. I spend most of my time running Windows XP on a Macbook.)

With CSSEdit you can preview the CSS on any page on the web, then make changes to that CSS and see what impact it has on those pages. You just have to see it to believe it. Simply amazing!

But since I spend most of my time on the XP side, and because my photo editing and web editing tools are mainly windows based, I thought I'd see if there was something like CSSEdit for Windows. The tool I came across was Style Master. Style Master also runs on OS X too, but I don't like it quite as well as CSSEdit. It does come with some open source templates to play with. It will also take an HTML page and help you start building the code from that source page. But I think the best part of it, is that it comes with a nice tutorial. I've just started, but I'm glad they've put it online.

It's slow going, but I hope one of these days this summer, I'll have my own custom built blog. What are you favorite web tools?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Mercy

I ran across one of those "tough" passages today where the Lord decides not to show mercy.
Joshua 11:20 For it was the Lord's doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses.

To me this is a reminder to call upon the Lord while He is near. There are times when the Lord finally runs out of patience.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Music Tuesday - 7 Essential Songs for Easter

Ok. I know that Easter is "over." But one of the ladies on our praise team keeps talking about this album 7 Essential Songs for Easter. It is full of tremendous music. It starts with New Life Worship shouting out "My Savior Lives." I wish we had done this one on Easter Sunday. I have enjoyed the whole My Savior Lives Album.

It also has a couple of Paul Baloche songs on it. All the Earth will Sing Your Praises we sang this fall at our Praise and Worship workshop and I can't wait to do this one again. Kathryn Scott's At the foot of the Cross is also "essential."

Hillsong's Worthy is the Lamb is one of our church's favorites too. This really is a good album. You may have one or two of these songs already, but be sure to check out the rest.

You can watch New Life sing My Savior Lives on Youtube.





Tuesday Giveway...
You know the routine by now. The first one to reply will get their pick of a song from the album through an iTunes gift. The winner will be posted below.

Winner:
Kari

Calvary Setlist for April 13th:
Come Now is the Time to Worship
Everlasting God
I Stand Amazed
Jesus Paid it All

Stopping the Moon.

How much "pull" do you have with the Lord?
12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon,and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. 14 There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded the voice of a man, for the Lord fought for Israel. 15 So Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to the camp at Gilgal.

What an incredible relationship Joshua held with the Lord.

Lord, I'm not hoping to be Joshua or Moses, but please draw me close that I may be all you desire me to be.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Will there be ESPN in Heaven?

This may have been one of the most enjoyable messages of this series so far. We finally started trying to answer some of the questions about the New Heaven and the New Earth.

I have about a million questions, but Randy Alcorn has done a good job discussing many of them. What will the city be like? How large is it? Will there be time in Heaven? What about animals and pets? What will the land look like? What about the great river?

Thinking about these things has really made me long to see what the Lord has in store. I know that there is much more to life than just waiting for Heaven. But as heaven appears even more "sweet" it pushes me to please the Lord with every moment he has given me.

Sometime later this week I hope to address the question: "What kind of Coffee will be served in the New Jerusalem." :)

As for ESPN, I don't know Stuart Scott's eschatology, but I doubt we will be staring at his image or shouting "en fuego" on the streets of gold. But Alcorn in his book on heaven makes a really good case for sports in heaven. Athletics were not a result of the curse. And it makes good sense that our bodies will be designed to walk, run, kick, throw, etc...

I am looking forward to seeing what other games people played over the life of this old earth, and what God my have in store for His New Creation. If you want to check out the whole sermon head over to www.calvaryfreewill.com and click on Sermon Audio at the top.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Links of the Week - April 12th, 2008

Not too many good links this week, but I have a few items of interest. Just a reminder there is still a free Robbie Seay song out there if anyone wants it!

On to the links...

  • Jeff Myers shared a story about a creative way to interact and encourage your community. I hope that we can find some creative ways to share Christ in our community.
  • Some people have life verses. I think this may be my life quote...
"The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time." -- Nietzsche
  • CNN has a story about a baby with two faces. They are building a temple in this town because of the baby and they are worshipping the baby.
  • LifeChurch has the OnePrayer website up. We are praying about joining this specific endeavor.
  • The Shift conference looks incredibly interesting to me. You can follow the discussion on Out of Ur. You can find a pretty good discussion of some specific "shifts" here.
  • Kruse has an excellent quote about politicians who desire to show compassion.
  • Speaking of politicians did you see this?
  • I've been working with our local Pregnancy Care Clinic on their website. Check out the video clip and let me know what you think.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday is for Photos - Kellie Penn

Here's something a little different this for this Friday. My sister-n-law pretty much sickens me. She's not always into the tech side of photography, but she has an unbelievable flair for design (Check out her blog) and she takes amazing pictures. She does own a Canon, so I shouldn't be too hard on her.

And now she has a website...


Kellie just launched her new photography website and I must say I'm very impressed. On my first visit everything worked very well. The music was a nice touch and you can turn it off if you like. The site is well organized and easy to navigate. And the pictures load very fast. Way to go Kellie!

If you don't know about Miles' story, check out the Our Story section of the website.

If you give Kellie any business be sure to tell her I sent you so I can collect my commission. :) (I think my present commission consists of hugs from my niece and nephew)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Service: An Event or a Lifestyle?

Sounds like the Shift Conference is producing quite a buzz. You can get reviews for most of the event from Out of Ur.

The review of Kara Powell's message was very thought provoking.

Here's some quotes that got me thinking...

Many churches have gotten involved in short term missions trips (STMs) that often involve a service project in a developing country. But are these trips making any real difference...Powell shared about how those being served by North American church groups often feel demoralized by our service, and how many wished these churches would simply send the funds so they could do the work themselves. On the flip side, evidence suggests these trips are having a minimal impact on students as well. In an article she wrote called “If We Send Them, Will They Grow?” she concluded that students who go on STMs are not more likely to become long-term missionaries, and it doesn’t impact their materialistic lifestyles.

Our churches tend to approach service as an event—buying gifts for poor kids at Christmas, feeding the homeless, going to Mexico to build a house. Again, these are worthwhile things. But justice isn’t an event, it’s a lifestyle.

We are trying to teach our people this very truth by creating opportunities for them to serve. But so far we are just at the "event" stage. I hope that we are able to truly make service a lifestyle.

Please Turn Off Your Smell Phones.

I can just see it now, we'll need a new powerpoint slide at church reminding people to put their smell phones on neutral so people with flower allergies don't get distracted when they come to church. I know you think I'm crazy, but they are actually working on these things in Japan.

You can also read more about this at Register hardware.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Shout to the....Idol?

Does anyone else find it ironic or just plain "weird" that American Idol closed their benefit show with Shout to the Lord? Also did you notice that they exchanged "Shepherd" for "Jesus?" I've heard them sing songs with the name of Jesus before so I'm not really sure why they decided to modify the song this time. Then as the show finished up, Ben Stiller led us off the stage with a tirade of profanities.

I guess the bigger question is - what in the world am I doing watching American Idol?

Good question. Wish I could answer it.

How do you feel about pop stars singing gospel songs? I can feel the old secular/sacred discussion coming on again. I guess if I was Darlene Zschech or Hillsong, I'd be glad to have this song of praise being shared with the world.

If you've got any comments on this one, I'd love to hear 'em.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A High View of Scripture

The scriptures are under attack today, but they have been for a few thousand years now. They always stand true. I want to be careful that I never worship the word, but that I worship the Word.

Here's what Moses has to say about God's word from today's reading...
Deut. 32:47 They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. (NIV)

Deut 32:47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” (ESV)

Lord, let me cling to your words because they are my very life.

Music Tuesday - Robbie Seay Band

I just started listening to Give Yourself Away from Robbie Seay Band. It is a different album but in a good way. (I'm still listening to Andy Gullahorn too. Can't seem to put that album down!) You can listen for free on Rhapsody.

So far there are two tracks that I really like. Rise is the first track on the album, but it has a strong message. The music fits the lyrics well on this song. The other track I really like is Beautiful, Scandalous Night. Here's part of the lyrics...

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flowed
For you and for me and for all

CHORUS:
At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever
washed white On that beautiful, scandalous night


Never heard of Smalltown Poets, but I may have to check them out after seeing they wrote this song. I'm probably making a gross generalization here, but if you like David Crowder, I think you will like Robbie Seay too. You can check out a video of Scandalous Night here.



Tuesday Giveaway:
First person to reply can pick a song from the Give Yourself Away Album and I'll gladly send it to you as an iTunes gift song.

Winner:


Calvary Setlist April 6th:
This is the Day
I Will Call Upon the Lord
I am Resolved
Holy is the Lord
I Stand in Awe

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Power of a Sad Song

From today's reading...

Deut 31:19 “Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel.

The purpose of this song was to be a witness AGAINST the Israelites. Songs don't always leave you with a happy feeling, but they can be a powerful reminder of the Lord we serve. I'm not going to repost the whole text here, but you can check out Moses' song if you like. You'll see it's not the happiest text.

What "sad" songs do we have in our churches? Do we ever use sad songs to motivate us? A few that come to mind...

  • Must I go and empty handed
  • Come Thou Fount - Third Verse
  • I Must Tell Jesus
Just about any "Casting Crowns" Song...
  • Does Anybody See Her
  • American Dream
Steve Camp's song Don't Tell them Jesus Loves Them.

What's the last "sad" song you sang during one of your services?

The Un-Mysterious Will of God (Part 2)

You can check out the Un-Mysterious first post here.

God isn't trying to hide his commands from us so he can punish us. His desire is to share his commands with us that he may bless us.
Deut. 30:11 “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

We have a choice. Choose life or choose death. What will you choose? (This reminds me of John Waller's Song The Blessing. Great Song.)
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set
before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Lord, This Day, I choose life. Help me to obey.

The Un-Mysterious Will of God.

There are many things about the Lord that I do not and may never understand. I remember as a child and teenager at Camp Hope wondering if I would ever know God's will. But as I study the scriptures, knowing God's will is not the hard part. God reveals His will through His word. The hard part is keeping it.

Here are some of examples from today's reading...
Deut. 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

There is mystery, but God has revealed to us what we need to know that we may please Him in obedience.
Deut. 28:47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything.

The Israelites were to obey the teachings of God. What was hard for them was doing so with joy and gladness and not taking everything for granted. I have the same problem today.

Luke 11:27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 8 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

This woman wants to celebrate the life that gave life to Jesus, and He cries back, the blessing WILL come to those who simply hear God's word and live it.

God's will for us is not some mysterious, unwritten ooze out there in the cosmos. It's clearly given in the Bible. The question isn't "Do you know what to do?" The question is "Will you do it?"

Lord, you have revealed Yourself to us. Please help me to hear Your word and to live it!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Links of the Week - April 5th, 2008

It's been a while since I posted links of the week, but here's another shot. If you didn't get to hear Andy Gullahorn yet, you really need to check out Reinventing the Wheel. You won't be disappointed.

On to the links...
  • Ever looked at that couple coming down the aisle and wondered if their marriage will make it? Great article from Time Magazine. HT: Kruse.
  • I enjoy reading Tony Morgan, but posts like these make me wonder, "What's the difference between the Church and a business?"
  • Good quote from the Sarcastic Lutheran. (HT: Jake)
    “As a Lutheran, I fully reject the gospel of prosperity, primarily on the grounds that I’m pretty sure it makes Jesus throw up in his mouth a little bit every time he thinks of it.”
  • Out of Ur does it again with another solid story. Here's the lead-in...
    "there are many local congregations nationwide that are not clinging to a sinking institution, are not confronted with a thoroughly postmodern youth culture, and are not terribly concerned with relevance (as such). They are, nevertheless, participating in great advances for the kingdom of God."
  • Maybe the best read of the week was a post about the Sunday Morning after the service Handshake Ritual.
  • Tall Skinny Kiwi has a discussion going on about contextualization with some of the reformers. I have to agree with Marko, this is probably TSK's best post in a while.
  • Anybody read Jesus for President? I have to admit that reading some of these things from Claiborne, makes me uncomfortable in a way that some parts of the Sermon on the Mount make me uncomfortable. Check out my post on the Pacifism, Politics and Prayer, and let me know what you think.
  • In many ways this post from Piper sums up the whole liberal vs. conservative mess for me. Truth and Compassion. It really is a possibility, but it will probably get you crucified.
  • More justification for all of the time I am spending/wasting on blogging.
  • As with all Kruse posts, I'm not sure I understood it all, but the parts I did get were hilarious.
  • Powerful stuff. This IS living the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Anybody tried out SketchKast?
  • And finally a quote from Mr. Microsoft himself reminding me that the Church makes for a very poor business...
    "Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning." -- Bill Gates.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Silent Disapproval

We've been enjoying a Short-Term Mission's Trip Seminar called Culture Link this weekend. Today we discussed "supsending judgment" when in another culture until we could understand the beliefs, values, and world view of that culture. I thought this passage from today's reading summed it up pretty well...
Proverbs 12:16 The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.
How quickly can people tell that you are annoyed? Maybe sometimes it's good if no one knows that you have been "disturbed."

Friday is for Photos - The Van Man

The Van Man
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)



Neil. What can I say? Words can not describe someone this complex. He's one of those people with the different drummer. He's quite the thinker, and sometimes he's downright crazy. But he has been a great friend. This past weekend on our Men's Retreat, we had to drive underneath about 4 or 5 fallen trees to get to the Secret Canyon. On the way back, Neil had this great idea of a shot where the tree had fallen on the van. I think it turned out pretty good. I can't wait to do some more hiking.


You can check out the rest of the un-edited photos from our trip here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Drink The Coffee So You Can Eat The Chips!

I knew there was a reason that I started drinking coffee and now I've found it! The BBC is reporting that Daily Coffee Protects The Brain.

Coffee may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage cholesterol can inflict on the body, research suggests.

I'm afraid I have a chip addiction. But now that I have my "medicine" I should be ok. :)

If you want to follow the discussion, check out the article on Slashdot. (Just beware - Slashdotters are not always "Family Friendly")

How Long?

Have you ever wondered why God doesn't show up? Why He doesn't punish the wicked or resuce the hurting or heal the broken? So did the Psalmist...
Psalm 74:9 We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet,and there is none among us who knows how long. 10 How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever?

While he did not know when God would bring justice, he did remind himself the things he knew about "my King"...
12 Yet God my King is from of old,working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 15 You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. 16 Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. 17 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;you have made summer and winter.

Lord, forgive me for my lack of faith. Help me to trust Your timing.

Best Blog Software?

I've been considering updating the blog or possibly moving to a different platform. I'd be very interested in what everyone else is using and why they like that particular choice. So far here are some of the one's I'm considering...

Blogger:
Pros: It's what I'm used to. It's google and it's indexed REALLY fast.
Cons: I'm not sure about trying to develop a custom template for this. It's really not pretty.

WordPress:
Pros: Seems to be the most popular. Lots of plugins. Lots of cool themes. Lots of people to help with troubleshooting and support.
Cons: Appears to have lots of spam. Seems like there are upgrades on a frequent basis.

Expression Engine:
Pros: Completely Customizable. Good Security. Good Support.
Cons: Cost. Will probably have to learn some serious CSS and how to build pages without tables.

Joomla:
Pros: I've already built some sites with this software. Tons of community support and plugins.
Cons: Not really for blogging. Security issues.

What do you like? Why?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Cursed Hanging

I found an interesting passage in today's reading. I thought I had some incredible insight, then I realized that the apostle Paul had beaten me to it. This passage pictures the death of Christ.

Here's the verse...
Deuteronomy 21:22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

And here's Paul's take on it...
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Thank you Jesus, for being cursed for us. Thank you for giving us the promise of the Spirit and redeeming us by your sacrifice.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pacificism, Politics & Prayer...

From today's reading...

Deuteronomy 19:13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.

This is a reminder to me to pray for our nation. I've been wrestling with the scriptural ideas about government lately. The scriptures remind me that God has ordained government and that we are to fear God and honor the king. And yet, sometimes I think we fear the King more than God. Sometimes we elevate our country above our Lord.

Just some food for thought here, but check out Shane Claiborne's litany sometime and let me know what you think. In some ways it bothers me, and yet in many ways it sounds like something Jesus would write.

You can watch the reading here.

Music Tuesday - Andy Gullahorn

I don't think I've posted anything about Gilmore Girls before, but keep reading, this is a first. I've been listening to some new music and thought I would be posting about that until my friend Shane showed up with this cd entitled "Reinventing the Wheel" from Andy Gullahorn. The first time I heard him was with Andrew Peterson at a concert during the National Association in Louisville back in 2006. (If you've never heard Peterson, you haven't lived!)

Gullahorn is a gifted guitar player and even more gifted with lyrics. This album has some incredible lines on it. It's basically about life in general. I've enjoyed all the songs, but here are the ones that you'll want to hear at least once:

Original Cliche - Think about this for a moment.

Roast Beef - A song about a missing toe. See if you can figure out which one. (I believe the toe belonged to Andrew Osenga - I think you can get some free music from Osenga, just visit his site.)

That Guy - A reminder that God loves even the worst of us. This appears to be a typical Gullahorn lyric - it always seems to hit you at the end.

More of a Man - Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. You've got to hear this one. I'm afraid I relate too well to this song. Dora, Dr. Pepper and Gilmore Girls. You can watch the video here.



Holy Ground - A simple reminder that showing mercy isn't that far from being holy.

Give it Time - You know those things about your spouse that drive you crazy? Listen to this song. Beautiful.

This is going to sound like exaggeration, but this is by far the most pleasing Album I've heard this year. I can listen over and over. The guitar playing is warm and rich and the lyrics get better with every listen.

Tuesday Giveaway - The first person to reply will get their pick of any song off of the album through an iTunes gift. (I'm still looking for a way to give out mp3's besides iTunes, but I can't seem to figure it out.)

Winner: Christina


Calvary Setlist for March 30th:
Hosanna
At The Cross
Shine Jesus Shine
All In All