Monthly Archives: March 2009

Why Rush?

Loved this blog post. Talks about how we often “rush” into ministry instead of allowing the doors to open as we awaken to what God is already doing in the places we find ourselves called to. I’m beginning to explore what college ministry could look like at South Hills Bible Chapel, and I find myself praying this prayer a lot… “God, show me where you’re already at work in the lives of college students and allow me to embrace that work.”

Growing Up

One more post for tonight. Check out this picture Carrie took:

I can’t fathom how quickly time passes. I haven’t announced it on here yet, but a couple of weeks ago Carrie and I found out we will be having our third child in November. I’m beyond excited, but I’m also a little sentimental. I feel like every day that passes the girls are growing faster and faster. Malia is absolutely amazing and already smarter than me. And Pressley is perhaps the funniest person I’ve ever met. I see them growing and gaining more and more personality and I’m blown away by God’s hand granting me the responsibility of being their dad. Oh… and nothing compares to my complete and utter love and admiration to Carrie for the amazing way she is their mom. She becomes more beautiful each day.

Anyway… just some of my heart before bed.

Back… Finally!

Wow, it’s been a major catchup week. I love having the chance to go away, but it’s always tough digging out. Especially this time. I just started another round of classes and work is picking up as well.

Anyway… wanted to post some pictures from the marathon. It was such a great time. I went through and journaled some of my highlights of this whole thing–I may recount some of those stories later–but for now here are a few of my favorite pictures:






Checking out for a Few…

Sorry it’s been a while since I posted. Haven’t been to bed before 1 much in the past week and a half. It’s those last weeks of classes that always kill me. Always seems like there is a ton of stuff to pull off.

Anyway, I’m going to unplug for a few days… partly because it’s needed and partly because my laptop monitor is not working–though a new MacBook Pro is in the mail!!!

Carrie and the girls and I head out tomorrow for Virginia Beach and (cue scary music) the marathon! I really am excited, but am starting to get nervous as well… I’m expecting sleep to go down in the next couple of days. We’re still taking donations for the “27 for 27” group, so let me know if any of you can help out!

Be back next week!

Peace out.

Moving On

Okay, quick update on what’s coming in the next few days. Blog posts will probably slow down a bit as I’m in the last week of another round of classes. I have a couple papers to finish, an exam to muddle through, and diving into the next round.

Tonight was good. Malia came back from visiting the grandparents and we all went and played at the park. We were a little cold, but soon my friends we will triumph over the bitter winter!

Also, I’m less than two weeks from the marathon. Please please pray! Seriously… for me, if you remember, but more importantly I’m really pushing to get some final funds in for the Free the Slaves folks. As I said before, I’m not at all a salesman, but I can share a passion and this is an awesome cause. It blows my mind that so many people often get hung up on things like helping out with human trafficking because it feels too “liberal” for their political values. I think Jesus was radical enough to truly be bi-partisan. Anyway… enough ranting.

27 million people in slavery. We need to do something about it. Two Sundays from now I’m going to run 27 miles in hopes that a few more people start thinking about it.

What’s after that?

I don’t know yet. Any ideas???

Peace out.

Songs for God Pt. 2

I thought I’d follow up to last night’s post. The question I threw out was, “What exactly constitutes a ‘song for God’?” This is something I’ve thought about a great deal serving as a worship leader in a number of different contexts.

I think many times there is a very narrow understanding of what is or can be dedicated to God in the realm of church life. As most people know, when it comes to music in the church there are very few issues argued about with more passion or opinions. Some churches insist on using only hymns–often defined in many different ways or time periods themselves. Some church (like the one I currently work at) prefer what they call blended worship–a combination of both hymns and modern songs. Other churches use no hymns, targeting their music specifically toward people who are unfamiliar with the “old fashioned” Christianity. Still others dive into edgier realms, weekly utilizing secular songs played on the billboard charts as a connecting point for the un-churched. Across this spectrum lie many different shades and phases of these different worship styles.

I hesitate to criticize ANY of these approaches. I think churches and their leaders take on different approaches usually for very intentional reasons. We use a blended style because it’s important to us that worship speaks the language of the people of today (thus the modern songs) AND still gives value to great hymns that have led so many closer to Christ. I know of other churches who sing no songs unless they are written within their own congregation. They want the music of their people to tell the story of their people. Again, it is a wide and varied spectrum.

All that said, I get really nervous when we start placing labels on what is “right” or “wrong” for worship music as if there are clear-cut regulations coming to us from Scripture. If that were the case, all we would sing would be Psalms.

Continuing in this discussion we come to the issue I brought up yesterday. In a number of different services I have used the U2 song “40”. This is a song written from the exact words of Psalm 40. I have heard U2 play it live and it is a very powerful anthem of a group of musicians who have been searching to resolve their own spirituality for three decades. In another song called “Wake Up Dead Man,” Bono sings a prayer that I think is just as powerful:

Jesus, Jesus help me
I’m alone in this world
And a f***ed up world it is too
Tell me, tell me the story
The one about eternity
And the way it’s all gonna be

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man

Jesus, I’m waiting here boss
I know you’re looking out for us
But maybe your hands aren’t free
Your father, He made the world in seven
He’s in charge of heaven
Will you put in a word in for me

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man

Listen to your words they’ll tell you what to do
Listen over the rhythm that’s confusing you
Listen to the reed in the saxophone
Listen over the hum of the radio
Listen over sounds of blades in rotation
Listen through the traffic and circulation
Listen as hope and peace try to rhyme
Listen over marching bands playing out their time

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man

Jesus, were you just around the corner
Did You think to try and warn her
Or are you working on something new
If there’s an order in all of this disorder
Is it like a tape recorder
Can we rewind it just once more

Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up dead man

Is this a secular song? Most of us would automatically say yes, because of who sings it and what radio stations it would be played on. But this is where I think we need to rethink things. I could share with you a number of lyrics from a range of “Christian” bands (Christian record label, radio play, etc.) that are much less “Christian” than these U2 songs.

I once heard Rob Bell say, “Christian is not an adjective,” and I’ve always held on to that. To me, it seems that we within the modern evangelical world have created Christian labels for music, movies, and other art forms in order to make them “safe” for us to consume and use in our devotional lives.

Don’t get me wrong. Isaac Watts, John Newton, Chris Tomlin, and David Crowder have all written phenomenal music with the express purpose of leading the Church into intimate worship with God, and I greatly appreciate that. We must be sensitive to sound doctrine and use that in our corporate worship as well. But… when I read the lyrics of this song by U2 or hear them sing “40”, when I listen to Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” as a character in the song deals with his own pride and what it has cost him, when I hear numerous bands lament in the same way David did in the psalms, I am often led closer to God in a variety of different ways.

I will always cherish corporate worship. I want people to be led closer to the throne of God through the songs, Scriptures, and teachings I help put together. And… I want to use whatever is True and Beautiful to help us do that. If we as the mature followers of Christ can somewhat drop our own narrow preferences at times and consider other better than ourselves and ultimately seek the glorification of God, I think we’ll find that the songs for God exist in various places throughout the earth.

Songs for God

I don’t usually publish anonymous comments on here, but someone left this after my post on Monday:

“So you think U2 is the greatest band. Is that why you used at least one of their songs for the worship on Sunday where we’re only supposed to be singing songs for God?”

I think it sparks an interesting conversation. What defines a “song for God”? I’d love to hear any thoughts that can spark healthy dialogue.

In Memoriam

One of the truly great passed away this weekend. As a young boy I was miserable when my parents would listen to this… as I grew older I fell in love with it.

At age 82 he signed a ten year contract extension. Guess he still had more stories to tell.

19 Days Left

Today was the big one. A big 22-mile run. I’m pretty beat, but surprisingly, not too sore. This was the longest run I’ll do before the actual marathon, and from here on out my training schedule tapers off. I feel relieved and lucky to have made it this far, and I can’t wait to actually do the race. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.