Psalm 109

October 14, 2009 3 comments

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If you don’t know, I read the Bible a little.  Last week, I’m reading through Psalms and I stumble across 109. The end of the Psalm just sounded like beautiful poetry and I thought I can work with this. If you can’t stand old timey country music you are really gonna hate this one. It’s got that riding through Bakersfield in the ’50s feel to it.  Here’s the lyrics. When Letty comes home I’ll have her record me messing it up.

Psalm 109

Rescue me
Because you’re faithful
Rescue me
For I am poor and needy
Rescue me
My heart is full of pain
And I am fading like a shadow at dusk

Rescue me
I’m weak from hunger
Rescue me
I’m skin and bones
Rescue me
I’m a joke to everyone
When they see me they shake their heads in scorn

Chorus:

Help me oh Lord
Only You can save me
Bless me even when the others curse

Help me oh Lord

Even when they attack
I’ll go right on rejoicing
I’ll praise You to everyone

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Hosanna: The Lousy Video!

October 10, 2009 3 comments

Ok, here it  is in all it’s glory. I could make a bunch of dumb excuses about how it sounds but the truth is I can’t remember the words that well lol. Like I said rough. Real rough.

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Hosanna

October 8, 2009 7 comments

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This is the first full song that I’ve written in awhile. It’s called Hosanna. If I’m not mistaken that means “save us!” It actually came pretty easily which means either it sucks or it rules lol. Pretty much inspired by my experience so far with Adams Avenue Crossing. I’ll try and get a sound recording of it up soon. I might need the wife’s help with recording it. Anyways, without further ado, here’s the lyrics.

Hosanna

I want more than a seat on Sunday
I need more than an hour or two
To show the world just what I’m feeling
To show the world my love for You

We can meet You in the middle
We can meet You on the boulevard tonight
There doesn’t have to be a steeple
You’re our God and we’re Your people

Hosanna
From our generation of greed
Hosanna
So that we can help those in need
Could you let it be
Can you set us free
So that the blind can see

I want more than some big screen TV’s
I need more than a hymn or two
To show the world my soul’s on fire
To show the world my heart’s for You

We can meet you in the middle
We can meet you with our broken hearts tonight
There doesn’t have to be a reason
You’re our God and we’re Your people

Hosanna
From ourselves oh Lord our God
Hosanna
To be the meek and not the proud
Can You make us loud
To be heard above the crowd
So that the deaf can hear Your sound

Remember things will probably change as I play it more, it’s basically a final draft that will continue to be edited. Look at me making excuses before anyone reads it, I’m too neurotic.

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Into the Great Wide Open

October 7, 2009 3 comments

It’s hard to throw the door wide open and jump out not knowing where you’re going to land. It’s in those decisions where I seem to find the most growth in life. Whether it’s been entering relationships, starting bands, giving up addictions, ending relationships, having kids, changing jobs, all of the things that have made me grow are the hardest ones to enact. Change is a bitch.

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I was at Adams Avenue Crossing Table Talk on Sunday and it was a discussion that mostly was about transition. For us as a group and for a lot of us as individuals. It wasn’t the official theme of the talk, that was Chapter 5 in The Forgotten Ways. It was definitely the tone of what we were talking about.

I heard us discussing being more inclusive to our members, being a grandparent, how far do I take my ideals into the workplace, the frustration of the process of adoption, the fear of stepping into something deeper and being hurt, Not knowing how to explain ourselves or at least be understood as Christ followers to the people in our lives that aren’t. These are all doors opening with inevitable change on the other side. It was wonderful to listen and maybe develop a deeper intimacy with these people I have been hanging out with the last couple of months. I couldn’t stop thinking of the Real World Motto.  “When people stop being polite…and start being real.” This is becoming MY church.

What’s my door? I guess it would be making the decision that AAC has indeed become my church. Paul brought some bread for us to eat on his new cutting board. He said he’s very big on symbolism. Me too. We were outside together (there was no room at the inn, I mean cafe), with our group, our children, praying,  breaking bread, discussing our lives. Communion. It can’t get any more church than that, can it? Maybe not in the modern context of what we believe church looks like, but in a way that 2000 years ago was probably the norm. It felt right. Again, MY church.

Where’s the decision in that? It’s not as much a decision as an acceptance of what God has put before me and acknowledging it. I think in these times of not decision making but actually just realization of where God’s led me that I feel His presence the most. The realization that He’s actually laid His hand on me or whispered in my ear to get me to where He wants me to be is so faith affirming.

So now what? I’m a member of a church that doesn’t look much like what people think a church should look like. Maybe not even what I think a church should look like. There are things that I crave from Journey that aren’t being filled at AAC. It’s another thing that we discussed on Sunday. Most, but not all of us AACer’s go to another church to fill those needs. I’m not sure what that is to others but for me I crave the worship (singing and praying) that happens at Journey as well as getting to listen to a fantastic teaching pastor like Ed Noble. Let’s face it. I’m a big fan of his and his thoughts on finding a new normal in my relationship with Jesus. What was January’s series about? The Year of Living Dangerously? I’m making my best attempt at doing it!

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that I would pray that God will show us a way that we can fill those things that we are missing at AAC. I want to find all that I’m looking for in Christ at the place that I call my spiritual home. What I really hope is that He shows us in a way that we could never have imagined on our own. The way that He leads us to do church. He’s taken us this far, I don’t think that He will abandon us now.

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Examining Paul’s Letters to the Americans? Part 1

September 30, 2009 9 comments

I know. The title’s provocative. It was meant to be.

Here’s a question that I’m pondering. Are evangelical Christians today comparable to the Corinthians that Paul addressed in his letters? I can’t help but feel that most of the time when I’m reading and studying 1 and 2 Corinthians that Paul is addressing me and my generation as much as the Corinthians of his time.

From what I understand, the Corinthians were a lot like us. They were a cosmopolitan, worldly people that loved extravagance and flair. They were easily seduced by easy words and dazzling imagery. Much like me and quite a few of my fellow countrymen.  Bring on the show!

They weren’t sure what to make of Paul. This guy didn’t even accept money from them to preach to them! That was almost akin to saying that what you were talking about was worthless! He also was a self admitted flop as far as personal style and orating went.  He represented almost the antithesis of what a Corinthian would consider a “successful” man. When ya think about it, so did Jesus, who Paul was trying to live like. I always wonder how we would react if a Paul surfaced in our culture. Would we laugh him out of church?

Obviously, I’m not a biblical scholar, I can only interpret what I read from my own life and experience. Which I will admit is probably skewed a bit. It’s just that his words haunt me as I read them.

20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1Cor 1:20-21.


26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him. 1Cor 1:26-29


14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:  16“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”[d] But we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor 2:14-16


18Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]; 20and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b] 21So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours… 1Cor 3:18-21

What’s the Holy Spirit through Paul trying to tell me here? I think he’s telling me to take everything I’ve learned in my life before and even after receiving Christ and shove it. All the things that have been taught to me since I was a child, since I’ve been babysitted by a TV for most of my life, all the things that the very Nation that I was born into, have absolutely nothing to do with the way that God wants me to live my life.

He is also echoing what Jesus himself said many times in the Gospel. The last shall be first. That there’s an equal playing ground in God’s Kingdom.  …So that no one may boast before Him.  Rich, poor. Strong, weak.  It doesn’t matter. We are all equal in the eyes of The Lord through Christ’s death on the cross. His Grace is enough.

I love the 2nd chapter and how it so totally throws me under the bus in the way that I thought before Jesus. How I once mocked Jesus and his followers. Why? Well, truthfully, partly because his followers are such a pain in the ass. They are an easy target. To get even deeper, what Jesus Himself was talking about would make no sense to someone who wasn’t a believer. Heck, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to us who believe, either.  Lose my life to gain it? Huh? Help the oppressed and the homeless and the poor just because? I think it’s that “what’s in it for me?” angle that we are all born with.

The other thing he talks about is how  I make judgment on all things now. Why? Because I have the mind of Christ! What the…? Really? Yes, really. What a terrible responsiblity that is. When I say terrible what I mean is HOLY.  The mind of Christ keeps me from being JUDGMENTAL! How is that for divine irony?

What I mean is this. If I have the mind of Christ I can no longer hate anyone based on their sexual identity, their race, color, creed, gender, I can’t even judge them on their religious preference! For Jesus himself forgave all of us. Jesus welcomed all who came to him. If I have the mind of Christ can I be any less welcoming? Can I be any less forgiving? Hate might even be the wrong word. I think that I must LOVE everyone, as hard as that is to do sometimes.

Do I think that I am wise by the standards of this age? Yes. It’s something I can’t deny. I’ve eaten the forbidden fruit. Gorged on it. Lived my life without a care in the world except for getting what’s mine. What I deserve.  Where has that gotten me? Well, Paul says nowhere. As a matter of fact, he says I might just want do dumb it down a bit.  Become a “fool” to this world. That one line might cause me more fear than any other that I’ve read so far. Becoming a fool makes me vulnerable. Becoming a fool makes me weak. Becoming a fool makes me needy. Exactly where God wants me.

Little did I know when I started this post that it was going to turn into a series, but alas, that’s what’s happening. Stay tuned for Part 2…

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Donald Miller: Make a Better Narrative | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

September 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Donald Miller: Make a Better Narrative | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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Since I can’t write anything lately, read about someone who can. Reading Donald Miller is like eating a piece of chocolate pie with a steaming cup of coffee to wash it down. Too good for words!

Crutches

September 17, 2009 11 comments

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Headed over to Normal Heights this morning to do whatever it is we do for the homeless. This is really a trial by error kind of deal, at least for me. I know as I’m driving over there I’m asking the Lord what it is that I can do. Let me be Your eyes, Your arms, Your ears, and Your mouth.

Let’s face it. The homeless are a little scary. I mean, usually there’s a reason why they are homeless. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or mental illness, no one is hitting the streets on a winning streak.  I love the fact that Jesus is turning my fear into compassion. I love the fact that He is letting me see people through His eyes and not mine. My eyes are jaded and wary. His are loving and hopeful.

I was sitting at the park this morning without a homeless person in sight. I figured I’d get my bible reading out of the way before TC showed up and we went looking. As it happened, TC brought the homeless to us. He hollered at me to meet him over at Lestat’s so off I went. Here’s TC’s take on what happened before I ran into them.

I walked into Lestat’s and TC was buying a sandwich and a cup of soup for a guy he met in La Mesa.  Said his name was Ron. He told me people called him Crutches. An appropriate nickname since he was on crutches.

I know that the one thing that God has been wanting me to do is listen. I think He’s laid the gift of being able to have a conversation and not just a monologue on me. I think He’s gifted me with the ability to maybe ask the right questions. How can we redeem someone if we don’t even know what’s going on inside their heart?

Ron’s story kind of went like this. He’s a San Diego native of 57 years. East county mainly. He has 4 kids and 2 wives. I asked if he had a harem and he laughed and said no, just one at a time. All his children are grown up. Two are in Jersey, one is in Texas, and one lives out in Santee. He was really proud of his son that went and fought the Taliban. When he told me that you could feel his pride in his boy.

The reason that he was on crutches? Seems that 9 months ago a couple of guys met up with him at Amaya over by the trolley. They had a baseball bat. They told them that they wanted to get rid of the homeless in the  area. They started to chase him. He came to a 6 foot fence and decided to jump it instead of  face the wrath of the bat. When he hit the ground he landed on his knees. He ended up breaking his leg. He ended up in the hospital for a few days and then they sent him on his way with the crutches.

He told me that he’d done quite a bit of county time. He’s retired now. Doesn’t want any problems. He’s an old man now that just wants to be left alone. I can dig. I know the feeling too well.

Here’s the question. What do you do? I think we did as Jesus would have done. Fed him. Got him a pack of smokes. Got him a Steel Reserve. Listened to his story. We all have one. We all want to be heard. I think TC and Sam probably gave him some shirts and some shoes. I think you show him our Savior’s mercy without asking anything in return.

Did we convert a soul to Jesus? Probably not. I don’t even know if we planted a seed. What we did do was show another human being God’s grace in a way that he could tangibly understand. So for an hour or so he was able to feel our Lord’s unconditional love. I just thank God that I get to be a part of something like that.

Everytime we go out I’m learning. Maybe my job isn’t to convert souls to Christ. Maybe my only job is to show Christ’s love and mercy and healing and understanding to those who have been beaten down by this world. Those who are so broken that the milk of human kindness might be a cigarette or a 40 ounce. I’ll let the rest of y’all be concerned about saving souls. I’ll focus on showing Christ’s mercy and let Him take care of the results.