Friday, November 28, 2014
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;
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
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.
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.
Friday, November 14, 2014
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