ON this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Mt. 16:18-19
Myron cope died today. For those who don't know he was the legendary broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Steelers and originator of the terrible towel. He was a throwback to the days before HD TV and commentators filling the games with pointless stats and John Madden. While it is awesome to see football the way it is today, it will be sad to lose the nostalgia of hearing the voice that helped build Steeler nation.
Also, Larry Norman passed away the other day. For those who don't know who he was, he was like the father of Contemporary Christian Music, one of the first Christians to play 'devil music'. I am not sure which legacy is cooler: Terrible towel or Jesus Rock.
This is the sound of trying to make a 'th' and 'b' sound simultaneously, while blowing a burst of air past the lips, ending in a crescendo at the end. Those of you who have just tried that now can gain a deeper understanding into last week. Without going into specific details, last week was a rough week for Julie and I. I am sure we all have weeks, or days, or months, or years that fall into this category. The one where at some point you really have to stop and say, um God? Did you forget we were here? I know you are busy, but this is a bit much. It was one of those times when you truly understand that His grace is sufficient. Sufficient meaning enough, not more than, or less than; but enough. It will make a good story later on, and perhaps even now, but I will save it for later. We have come out basically unscathed, and I have seen God's provision all around, but that doesn't make the time less stressful. There is a reason why Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow. You'd think he had supernatural insights into the soul. All that to say God is faithful, and also not content to see us content because there are people who need to know him, need his hope, his grace, his love, and to get 'content' would lead to being complacent. I thought about the manna he provided the Israelites when they were wondering, and how they grew tired of it. I am thinking that had God provided them an abundance, they would have been content and would not have pressed on to what God had in store for them. Though the journey was hard at times, they reached the promised land. I guess it comes back to trust. Do I trust God will meet my needs, so much that I do not grumble and complain? There are some rabbit trails to go down when talking about this, but I have just come to settle on understanding that God is doing a great work in those who love him. He is going to refine and mold more and more into his character, because there is still a great work to be done. And that is where I have ended, there is great work to be done. Do it.
The title for this blog is the written version of the opening riff of "Vehicle" by the Ides of March. Sweet song that goes well with this dude. I am throwing him into contention for the profile picture. Don't forget to check which one you like in the previous post. As for this post, I fore warn you, it is going to be long. So here goes. . .
The Adulterer I have discovered that every college has a select group of socially awkward individuals who band together into their own social niche that gathers outside of campus sponsored activities. The tend to pick a spot, usually the unpopular lounge of a dorm, claim it for their own and commence weirdness. They will play freeze tag, fake light saber fight, yell to people coming in the door then hide, and other 2nd grade recess games. When I was doing my undergrad we called them the lounge-rats. This was a little mean, but I justify it by feeling as though they took pride in their title, much like mall-rats. What set them apart from second graders at recess was that they all 'dated' each other (and they were older). And by dated I mean NCMO. (Non Commitment Make Out, for those who do not know) Once it hit like 9:30 PM, any trip through the lounge brought with it the truly uncomfortable position of not interrupting someone making out in the public lounge. . . . Yucky. Anyways, I had to go through a lounge at school yesterday and sure enough, lounge rats, NCMO. They are apparently everywhere. In my under-grad the lounge rats were led by a dude who may have never left the lounge. He was known only as the adulterer. This was because his NCMO knew no bounds. The dude had a different girlfriend every other day. (exaggeration) But anyways, I thought of him yesterday, so props to the adulterer, I tip my light saber to you, live long and prosper.
The Worst Infomercial Ever Julie and I stumbled across the worst infomercial in the history of tv last week. The only reason I didn't believe that it was a Saturday Night Live sketch was because I didn't recognize the people on screen. It was ridiculous. It was for some hair product that was supposed to instantly volumize your hair. 1st of all, the was a lady off screen that never stopped loudly exclaiming how great her hair felt. While that was going on this weird guy was trying to explain why the stuff was awesome while he was 'fluffing' these two ladies' hair. Basically he rubbed the goop on his hands and then messed up the ladies hair, and called it awesome. Now I am no fashion-ista, and if Julie didn't warn me she was getting a hair cut, there's a good chance that I would not notice. This is mostly because, outside of awesome beards, hair is simply there and doesn't conjure in me an emotional response for whomever I am looking at, unless it is really bad. From that standpoint, I feel like the guy didn't help the ladies hair at all. Both ladies had perfectly acceptable hair before he messed with, and after he was done it was a tangled mess. I wonder how many people are that gullible, and if I am that gullible, that if someone gets in front of me, gets excited about something, would I follow suite and buy said product? It reminds me of the day I had to do face painting at camp. (not good use of giftedness) I basically convinced every kid that the coolest thing ever was to get a 'slash' ( basically, the quickest possible stroke of paint on face). They went nuts. There is a good chance that I got in trouble, but the kids went insane. Maybe I should try to sell the slash. . .the bar isn't all that high.
Loving Leaders and those who aren't To get a little bit serious, I have been working through what it looks like to develop an intentional assimilation process in the church. The goal is to make sure that the people who come into our church community feel loved and then are challenged towards discipleship. Discipleship is possibly the most important element to the growth of the church and it is also the most dropped ball. That is a discussion for later, but today I am dealing with the question of who do you focus your time on? I struggle with how to word this. When it comes to loving people and building relationships, as a Christian, love should abound, but there is also a real separation in how we love peers, upcoming leaders, those who will never lead on a large scale, the socially awkward, all in the church and then all of those categories again for the unchurched. Scripture is pretty clear that certain people are going to stand out as leaders who need discipleship, this person is pretty easy to build a relationship with, they are like me. But if my time goes there, it can't go to the non-leaders. I am most specifically thinking of the socially awkward person, the ones that Jesus called the least of these. They need loved and to connect in a relationship, in many cases more than others. The re-occurring theme is to be more intentionally pouring into the leaders and let them meet the needs of the needy. The goal is to learn to truly equip the saints for ministry. That is all well and good, but is it happening? I feel like a lot of time, leaders are not developing anyone, or if they are pouring energy into a relationship with people, it isn't to intentionally grow them. So the church becomes exclusive and people love their pastor, and nobody who needs the love of Christ get it. If you are a Christian leader, you need to have a disciple or several. Not just a flock, or a small group, but a disciple. I am wondering if it shouldn't be equally as important to have a 'least of these' as well. Most simply because how are we going to teach a disciple to love them if I do not. I am just starting to think about this, so any thoughts are welcome.
Hymns and Sexyback Last one, I love hymns (not all of them) but the good ones are awesome. They are deep and well worded and affirm a great deal of truth. The church is really sort of past the argument of going contemporary in worship. I think it is on every one's radar to the point where the only people still putting up a fight about new music styles are over 70. I do not want to get into that huge discussion aside from I love how older folks stake the claim that the hymns of old are so much better because they are chock full of theology, where as new songs are not. That argument is crap, for every awesome hymn there is a crappy new song, and for every awesome new song, there is a crappy hymn. That is not even getting into any musical connection at all. I am taking a class called doctrine of Grace with an older professor, who absolutely holds this belief. He starts every class with this song (which is a chorus not a hymn) And probably only my older Salvation Army friends will recognize it from the old band, bass drum, Sunday evening hallelujah wind up, days.
I am not under law; I'm under grace! It was grace that rescued me; it was grace that set me free. I have sought--I have found--a hiding place; I am not under law; I am under grace!
This is all well and good. The prof.,who is well published scholarly author, is really thorough in his breakdown of the doctrine of grace. But he keeps using random hymns as a part of his argument. Like this one. . . He is explaining how grace has to cover us for salvation, no matter what we ever did or didn't do. And then he quotes the song, “Not the labors of my hands can fulfill Thy law’s demands. Could my tears forever flow; could my zeal no respite know! All for sin could not atone; THOU must save, and Thou alone.” . . .well in that case, .
I have come to realize a certain pattern that I did not see before. Many of the older hymns (musically built off of bar tunes) had to be infused with truth teaching. The goal of the hymns were to affirm belief and doctrine. Newer songs really do not worry about affirming belief as much as simply praising the Lord. (neither is better or worse, and both deal with 'theology') There is something to be said about how the church is moving away from dealing with deep doctrinal issues, and the music reflects this. As for the prof., I am not a real strict person or anything, but why put any stock on the authority of a song? You know the scripture, use it for authority and let the song point to it.
I would like it if more daily truth was argued in song. I could interrupt any conversation, meeting or caucus because I'm bringin sexy back. Doo doo doot nnn doo . . . I'm a friendly man in a black sedan and I like chicken wings . . .
OK all. I have been informed that my blog profile picture has gotten old. Since no one really wants to see my ugly mug on there and I am not creative enough to come up with my own, I figured I'd let everyone else decide. Feel free to weigh in on which one of the following pics I should use in my profile for a time. I'll leave them up for a little while before I actually pick a new one.