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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Control

This Sunday morning as I sat in the sanctuary here at Mulberry and listened to our Senior Pastor speak my mind latched on to something he said. Now this was particularly the point of his sermon, but this is what God had me hear. My mind began to turn over and over the idea of control.

We (myself included here) all like to be in control of our situation. We like to feel like we are on top of the situations in our lives. I don’t know many, if any, people who like to feel out of control of their situations or their lives. But is this what we are called to? Are we told to live neat, well managed lives?

I think Jesus finds the illusion we have of being in some sort of control as laughable. We only have the illusion of being in control of ourselves and the world around us. I have been listening to a worship song that I was introduced to a while back called “We are the Free” By Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin.

The chorus for this song is, “We are the free, the freedom generation/ singing of mercy/ You are the One who set us all in motion.” I love this because it speaks of us being free from the world around us, but it does not forget that God is the one who put us all in motion. It talks about how we need to relinquish our control so that we can follow as God intends.

We all have an illusion of control, but we need to get past that misguided view of the world around us. We need to truly see our surrender as freedom to follow in the footsteps of Christ. We need to stop thinking of ourselves in control and fully abandon ourselves to the pursuit of God.

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Getting Your Gait

So this is my second week in a row inserting a video into my post, but this song has played several times in my office in the last week and I just had to post it.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a huge fan of the Dave Matthews Band. I have been a fan since high school where I think I watched “Listener Supported” at least 1000 times from the couch in my family’s couch. Then I remember sitting in my room for hours learning to play anything I could get tabs for from Dave, and even had some roommates in college that loved (possibly hated) my rendition of “Long Black Veil.”

This song is off of Dave Matthews Band 2004 release “Stand Up” and quickly made it in to my top 5 of all time favorite songs. The lyrics are so simple yet profound. “To change the world/ you start with one step/ however small/ first step is hardest of all.” This is the first verse from the song and I keep coming back to these words.

The more times I listen to this song the more sense it truly makes to me. We spend much of our lives dreaming up what we could do, what would be possible, if only this or only that. What we truly need to do is to just start walking. I am the king of this, I sit in my office dreaming, scheming or planning, but the follow through on these plans is lacking.

I also think about this song in light of all the bad things I see in the world around me. Maybe if we stop sitting and discussing these issues and actually put ourselves out there things will begin to change. “Once you get your gait/ You will walk in tall” we have to start getting our gait. We have to start working instead of bemoaning the world.

God is calling us to action through this unlikely source. We have to stop worrying if we’ll die trying, and begin to think about the fact that if we succeed things will be so much better.

 

 

Rolling Away Our Heart of Stone

The video at the beginning of this post is from one of my favorite bands I’ve discovered in the last few months. Mumford and Sons are from England and play a country/bluegrass type of fusion music. But this song “Roll Away Your Stone” has been on a constant loop in my office lately.

This morning while working on my life journal I read Ezekiel 36:26, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.” NRSV. I thought it was poignant juxtaposition with the opening lines of this song, “Roll away your stone I’ll roll away mine/ Together we can see what we will find/ Don’t leave me along at this time/ For I am afraid what I will discover inside.”

While the song speaks to another person, there is an important idea of community between the two people.  But these lyrics also resonated with the idea of God helping us by removing our hardened hearts and placing the new one within us. Also the idea of what we find when we finally have a soft, warm, beating heart; the idea of being fully alive and feeling the pain of the world around us.

I have written and spoken a great deal about the ugliness, pain, and hurt we see in the world around us. I personally get to the point, quite often, that when I see all of the things around me that fill me with pain I return to my heart of stone. It is so much easier to not empathize or truly see those around us. There is so much pain around us, and many times it is easier to just shut down than to truly deal with the world around us.

But God is calling us to something more, something vastly different. We are not to be desensitized to the world around us, much like I think TV news and the media cause us to be; because, they sensationalize and play upon the bad news of the world around us. If we were to truly hurt for all of the pain we see around we would be paralyzed and unable to truly work for any good.

But that is not why God promises to give us His spirit and the heart of flesh. God promises this because without truly seeing the world around us as His world that we are trying to bring the Kingdom of God to, then we are not working for the Kingdom. We have to switch our point of view, we have to take the pain we see and work for transformation. We have to work for transformation of not only our own hearts, but also the transformation of the pain we see in the world around us.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

261 (the random name generated by the machine)

Today I feel like I have absolutely nothing to add to the conversation of the world. I am living in a distracted state of mind and I feel like there is not much useful getting done. How often do you feel this way? I know there are many days in which I sit down in my office and I just don’t know which pile to begin working on.

There are many piles on my desk currently, with the current worship series we’re doing piling up and the next series on Christian Theology also piling up. I just feel like things just move too quickly at times. Now I personally have a natural response to this kind of situation, and it’s probably not like it should be.

When I get overwhelmed my natural response is to find something else to waste time on, but my job does not give me that luxury. There are things that I have to get done, and also things that I have to move on to when those things get finished. But one of the things that helps me to push through and deal with these kinds of days is the longer term perspective.

God has given us the long view to help us to forget the troubles or lack of focus for the day. So if you have a difficult day of focus, just remember God has given us a long term perspective of working for His kingdom. Now try to push through.