Monday, December 1, 2014

Sparrows and Surprises

Psalm 127 and Matthew 6 encourage believers to have faith- a faith that removes worry and stress; the faith of a child who never wonders how his daddy is going to put food on the table come next mealtime, but rather lives under the happy assumption that his daddy has everything under control. 

The Lord gave me a few opportunities this week to practice such faith in a very practical way. Many of you have probably heard about my latest album project (if you haven't, here you go: http://resoundingmusic.com/the-womb-of-the-dawn/ ). It was scheduled to come out Friday; I'd been pumping that release date for a long time in the marketing of the project; had a bunch of people "going" to the event. Thursday night, I hit the sack planning to make a few polishing tweaks on a few tracks and get everything uploaded in short order.

Friday morning came and brought with it the White Screen of Death. Bad news for album release day. Lots of visual display issues for my computer; couldn't even log in on some attempts. There had been signs leading up to this before, but nothing this bad. By God's grace, a phone call with Apple tech support resulted in getting everything up and running properly quickly, and the computer performed well all day long; album submitted to CDBaby, marketing finished, I shut her down. Had even worse problems every time I tried to start up after that. God held it together (it's really inexplicable that it performed so well on Friday) for just as long as I needed it. Then, next day, I was supposed to mix a track for #BoundMovie (on one of those "The film festival is coming! The film festival is coming!" deadlines). I went to bed Friday night knowing that the next morning I had some serious tech support to do before I'd be able to do so; called Apple again, and we couldn't fix it in-house; I'd have to go in for repairs. And the nearest store that could do such a thing is about an hour away from my location. Drove in, they had the part we thought might be the issue, switched it out, it appears that it really was the issue, they sent me on my way, and by about 4:00 in the afternoon I was back up and running. (Oh, and before anybody makes Mac jokes, it was a graphics card that had been serving me faithfully since 2008. So there's that.)

Add to that that Joseph Santoyo had prepared the vocal tracks so well, and the thing was done with time to spare.

On roller-coaster events like that, I think we have two reactionary options:

1. "DAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!! WHATAMIGONNADO?" *stress* *pull hair out* *more stress*

2. "Whoa. That was unexpected. I can't wait to see how God works this out. Looks like I need to..." 

God is faithful. We should be faith-full. #Hudelson2014 #GodProvides

Friday, November 28, 2014

IT'S DONE!!!


Praise God.  It's been an amazing journey.

The work on this album was done over the course of years... with revisions, live recordings- the scope of this project dwarfs anything I've ever done before. Praise God. It has been a blast. Get the album here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Life is Short and God is Long


Life is short and God is long;
He the Singer, we the song.
We are small, the world is vast,
And marches on when we are past.

There are so many stories here,
So many things worth smile or tear,
So many joys and pains and hopes
Villains, victims, philanthropes-

So many books that can't be read,
So many tears that won't be shed,
So many songs that can't be heard,
To which we're deaf as if they were-

Were not, had never been at all,
A thousand passions' trumpet calls
Which, as soldiers far away,
Wake not our night, nor stir our day.

So many stories left untold
By those who lived them- now grown old,
So many thoughts and dreams and fears
And deeds of daring, kindness, cheer,

So many little looks and sighs
And little children's lullabies
And winter nights and summer days,
And heroes never known nor praised,

They all march past- for what we see
Is but a glimpse of melody,
An echo of celestial song-
And life is short, and God is long.

And yet, as short as it may be,
And sin-blind as so often we,
There's life, and opportunity
To hear and taste and touch and see,

And though we cannot see all now,
Can't read beyond our final bow,
Yet what surrounds us, and the path
That's laid before our feet- to laugh,

And never waste a moment when
The LORD says "Go," but to begin,
To see it all- though it's not much,
It's all our tiny hands can touch,

Can grasp, for now- to live, to leave
No stone unturned, no moments sheathed,
To look at them, and Him, not me-
No mirror- there's too much to see!

And if we're blinded by the scope,
That only serves to give us hope,
For God has given us a part,
Our daily bread, our beating heart,

The lost bewilderment that must
Fill every mortal serves to just
Send childish excitement through
The veins of chosen people who

Once lost in sin have now been found,
And lost again in glory-sound,
Lost not in fear, but wonderment,
And thankful to be called and sent,

Surrounded by so many gifts,
And joys and pains and falls and lifts,
The myriads we cannot know
Are not for us, but these are so!

So thank our God for what He gives,
And beg Him to cause us to live
A faithful life, with nothing left
When double-bar is writ by Death-

For though it ne'er can all be seen,
Nor felt nor heard, all that has been,
Yet God has granted us to see,
To feel, to hear, to live, to be,

And while in Christ eternity
Will uncover the mysteries,
The poetry of Time, of lives
Will all be laid before our eyes,

Yet here and now I hope and pray
That while it yet is called "today"
I'll fill my ears, my eyes, my heart
With my God-given story-part,

And drink it in, and pour it out,
And live, and die, and have no doubt
That I sang all that was my song.

For life is short.

And God is long.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Feast of Eggshells


Dad's sermon yesterday was on holiday peace.  What is the foundation of peace around the family table?

Is it our ability to bubble wrap truth, sweep sin under the rug, and dull the sharp edges of reality before they make their way into our conversations?

That, of course, is no peace at all; doesn't matter how good the turkey is, because all anyone can taste is the eggshells they've been walking on.

"Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife." (Pr. 17:1)

But there's the other option.  There's peace founded upon Truth; unity forged in a common, fiery passion for the Kingdom of God.  Kindness is only true kindness when paired with truth; love is only true love when it works in terms of God's Word.

And that peace?  I'd take bread and water and that peace a thousand times over a feast of eggshells.

But the kingdom of darkness is always asking the Kingdom of Light to settle for the first kind of peace.  And not just asking; demanding.  Take the teeth out of the Gospel.  Be the Wilsonian hailstorm of cotton balls.  Ignore the elephant in the room, the lumps underneath the rug, and the sounds coming from the closet and behind the couch.  Jesus would want you to be nice, after all.

Ssssshhhhhhhh.

That's not love; that's not peace; that's not joy; and that's not what Christ calls us to.

Doesn't mean we should speak truth without kindness.  But it does mean we shouldn't speak kindness without truth.

Light has no fellowship with darkness; there are no treaties in the war between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.  Our love for others should cause us to call them into the Kingdom- not to follow them out of It.

Doesn't necessarily mean that we can't still enjoy the company of family and friends who are at war with Christ (though it may mean that).  It does, however, mean that we cannot enjoy that company on the devil's terms.

If Jesus makes you uncomfortable, then I hope when you are around me you are uncomfortable.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you." (John 15:18)

Our goal shouldn't be to get people to hate us.  But with brothers and sisters across the globe being tortured and beheaded for their faith in Christ, shame on us if we miss opportunities to be persecuted just a little bit for Jesus because we're too nice to be loving.

Because Jesus, and only Jesus, brings true peace, true love, true joy to the world.

#JoyToTheWorld

Friday, November 14, 2014

Veterans Day


A few days back was Veterans Day.  In thinking about American veterans, I'm left wanting to say two things- "thank you," and "please."

Thank you for all the pain and the sacrifice, all the things you've endured, for giving your then for our now.  Thank you for the sleepless nights and the heartbreak and the haunting memories.

And please.  If I may ask it, please make one more sacrifice for us.  Please endure the pain of reliving those memories so that those memories may not be forgotten.  Please tell us your stories.  Please etch the lessons forged into your soul by the hell-fires of war into the minds of your children and your grandchildren.  Please make this one last sacrifice.

Because we want to hear.  We need to hear.

In saying "thank you," I don't mean a cursory tip-of-the-hat that makes me feel like a better American.  I don't mean some jingoistic "everything America does is perfect" blind endorsement.

I mean that I am grateful for your commitment and your sacrifice, and I mean that I don't want you to pass away in obscurity, ignored by the nation for which you died, and I mean that I don't want your memories and your messages to follow you to the grave, and I mean that the regrets that you have are regrets that we can learn from, and the mistakes you made are mistakes we can avoid, and the sins of the past can be forgiven in Christ, but the lessons of the past do no good if they are not taught to the people of the present, and the passions and hopes and dreams that led you into the face of death are passions and hopes and dreams that should quicken our pulse, and the cheers of victory you shouted are cheers that can and should echo in the hearts of those, like me, who have lived in a time where there's always war and never victory, and the heroism you showed is an example that strikes fire in the heart and sends sparks into the eyes of every boy who hears of it.

And we need more boys with fire in their eyes.

Thank you.  We needed you.  We still need you.

We need our history.  We need our legacy.  A generation of Americans is growing up today isolated from everything that made America what she is.  We have no history, and so we have no future.

The Israelites wrote down their tales of valor; David's mighty men had their deeds inscribed into the heritage of their people.

For too long I haven't taken things like Veterans Day seriously.  I say this to my shame.  When I see others pouring themselves into the lives of the dying generations, and when I see the joy it brings to those precious and disappearing forefathers of mine, I am convicted.  I am inspired.

I pray for God's Grace, that I may be the kind of person who says "thank you."  And who then sits down to listen.

"Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee." - Deuteronomy 32:7

#VeteransDay

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The House of Mourning

"A ship sails and I stand watching till she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says, "She is gone." Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all; she is just as large as when I saw her. The diminished size, and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says, "She is gone," there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout, "There she comes!" and that is dying."

- Bishop Brent



"It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart." - Ecclesiastes 7:2 

I am wont to tease and gripe in a coffee creamer sort of way about the fact that nobody dies in the movies anymore- coffee creamer, because I'm half-and-half; part of me is just having fun teasing friends who like the happy endings, but part of me truly does believe that we as a culture are missing something.  I think what we're missing is the opportunity to visit the house of mourning.

In today's culture, we are invited to hop on a bubble-wrapped train that promises to protect us from the thorns of reality.  Yet I fear that when we are insulated from the thorns we are also blinded to the roses.

Obey God, Work Hard, Have Fun

Over the past few days I've been reading the book of Ecclesiastes.  I think it's my favorite book of The Bible (if one can have such a thing).  It seems that the message of the Preacher is something like this:

Life is short.
God is good.
Obey God.
Work hard.
Go have fun.

Don't spend too much time philosophizing; don't confine yourself within the walls of a library and re-live others' lives when you could be out there getting sweaty and bloody and dirty and building and being built and teaching and being taught and touching and being touched and loving and being loved; go do real things and enjoy the doing, and do it all from the sweet security of faith in a Perfect Providence and obedience to His perfect Law.

Yet this whole discussion is predicated on the recurring exclamation- vanity of vanities!  The rising and setting of the sun of our lives adds no weight to the rising and setting of the sun that lit them; no extra tear falls from the writhing clouds to join the rivulets cried by those left behind.  Life marches on; the universe keeps spinning; babies are born and old men die and the auroras still paint the sky; snow falls and melts into the flowers of spring which fade into the colors of autumn and then the snow falls again; falling stars keep falling yet the void never feels their loss; the ants never cease to march, the waterfalls continue their endless cascade, and we feed the worms with our flesh and return to the dust from which we were sculpted.

Death and Taxes

A worldview that is cut off from Christ is a worldview that is cut off from hope.  (1 Cor. 15:32)

For the unbeliever, death only has sting.  The godless may still present and desire the beauty of a noble death, because the Character of God that is woven into the universe- and their hearts- tells them that it's a beautiful thing, and in their hearts, they know and feel that a selfless death is the highest form of love. (Rom. 1, John 15:13)

But that is small consolation for someone who also sees death as the last page in their story.  An epitaph celebrating their goodness matters little if they are no longer alive to read it.

For the Christian, it is another matter entirely.  Death is the key that removes the chains of flesh and sin and frees us to run into the presence of our Savior. (Philippians 1:23)

For the Christian, a good death is not just a tragically noble, vapid conclusion to a meaningless saga.

Without Christ, bittersweet goodbyes end on the bitter. In Christ, they end on the sweet.

So when a Christian deals with death in his art, it should not be in a fatalistic, existentialistic, hopeless, empty way; we can't act like death is a dreaded inevitability, like taxes; we can't treat death as something to be avoided at all costs, like doing the dishes.

On the other hand, we may not handle death flippantly; life is precious, and therefore death is also precious. (Psalm 116:15)

But why not just ignore death altogether?  Why not live as if there is no last page, no double-bar line, no end credits?

Because the thorn is part of the rose.  The period is part of the sentence.  And if we spend our sentence denying the period, we miss the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the period- and to make the most of our sentence.

We can watch the grand finale in awe and giggle and chorus "ooh!" and "aah!" and point and whisper and let the falling embers reflect brightly in our eyes and the eyes of the children on our lap, who are only just learning not to be afraid of the distant rumble- or we can see in the grand finale only the finale, and spend those last thrilling moments wishing it weren't over; wishing that we could have the grand without the finale, when God has build a world in which they dance inseparably.

I think weddings and funerals are two of the most beautiful, inspiring events ever.  They paint exclamation points- one white and one black, but both clear and beautiful in their own way- on the brevity of life.  It all goes so fast.

The living takes it to heart.

"Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last." 
- C.T. Studd

And when we live with this perspective, so many things that would cloud our vision begin to melt away, and suddenly sunsets are brighter and little babies are more adorable and hummingbirds are more amazing and history is more exciting and current events make us want to cheer instead of tremble.  God is telling His story, and it's a beautiful one, and if we could just get lost in it for a while we would come back changed.

Of course, I'd prefer to stay lost in it.  To sit up the whole night of my life, unable to put the book down. 

When we're in God's story, things get so much simpler. 

Obey God.
Work hard.
Have fun.

There's joy there.  There's meaning there.  When we are walking in God's world, when we are a note on His score, then there is a reason for life- and for death; then we need not fear, but only obey; our duty becomes deliciously simple: do what God wants us to do, and then watch what happens.  So our life becomes the most productive it could be, for it is poured out onto the track that God sets before us and says "run," and it also becomes the most beautiful and joyous and peaceful, because now we have a reason to rejoice in the sweat and the sunshine and the tired legs and the cool breeze and the pain and the joy that follows when we do so.  And when we see the finish line ahead, we might just run a little harder.

“Cowards live for the sake of living, but for heroes, life is a weapon."
- N.D. Wilson

Nobody Dies These Days

Have you noticed that, as a general rule in American movies, nobody ever dies?  We'll bring computer-generated skyscrapers tumbling down on a city full of people, our hero will produce widespread mayhem as he leads the police on a merry chase through the city streets, and so on, but nobody important ever actually dies- or, if it's a Marvel movie, they die and come back to life.

So... what's wrong with that?

God as the Master Storyteller wrote a story that has sweet fragrance and tender velvet petals- and thorns.  Lots of thorns.

One day, God will wipe every tear from our eyes.  One day, the story will be brought to glorious fulfillment, the good guys will win, death will die, and there will be forever a sunrise.

But here, now, God has given us sunsets.

And the man who learns to see the beauty in the sunset, because he loves the One who painted it- who learns to admire the ruggedness and the sharpness of the thorns, because he trusts the One who sharpened them- who embraces all of the life he's been given, and thanks the Giver, and drinks it to its dregs- who runs until he can run no more, and cries until he has no tears left, and then laughs, until he collects more tears so he can cry again, and then cries them out so he can laugh again- how would that man live?  How would he die?  What would be the look on his face in the moments before he crosses the finish line?

It is said that every runner has two great fears- that he will not finish the race, and that he will finish the race knowing that he could have done more.

I pray that God will give me the strength, the vision, the drive to run this race of life so exuberantly, so passionately for His Kingdom, drunk on His goodness, lost in the thrill of His novel, the story of His symphony, that I will come to the end of it all and be breathless on my deathbed, not from weakness, but from excitement, not for want of air, but for fulness of days, and that my eyes will still shine like those of a little boy going on an adventure, and my children will see in me a man who, even as he says "goodbye," says also "turn the page!"

Friday, October 10, 2014

On Dismembered Spiders


Malachi (3): "Praise The LORD, I won't get out of bed."
Sophia (7): "If Eve hadn't sinned, would we all be perfect?"
It's so amazing watching these kids grow up. Praise God for His mercy and working in their lives. They are such a joy. Oh God, forgive me for the times I see in them an obstacle rather than an opportunity, a problem rather than something precious... I don't want to miss those chances to tell bedtime stories, to hear tall tales about the now-dismembered spider that used to dwell on our front porch, to hold hands, to wrestle and tease, to try- and fail- to answer questions as old as time asked by minds just now given the chance to comprehend the world, to try to hear through the traffic jam of thoughts and words and ideas which inevitably bottlenecks at a mouth that hasn't had enough practice keeping up with its mind- it goes so fast. Oh to enjoy it while it is mine.