Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!! Here is a clip from one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time, plus it is very spiritual. Enjoy and again, merry Christmas!

Grace and peace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh How He Loves Us

I confess, I am lazy. There's no getting around it, I am lazy. Just look at this blog, I haven't posted since December 1st! Most of that is laziness but it could due to the fact my life is fairly monotonous...saving lives...church...saving lives...church...occasionally making it to the gym (had to throw that one in there for you Annie)...saving lives...et cetera, et cetera (is that even how you spell that?). I am looking forward to a little change when I head down to Macon for a few days. It is going to be so good spending time with the parentals, brothers and sister-in-law. I'll be down there for 3 days and then it's back to, as you might guess, life-saving!

Anyway, lately I have also been really lazy when it comes to getting into the Word. I put it off and give the excuse, "I'll wake up early and do it." Yeah right Justin. Since when are you the one to get up early?! Never. But not allowing God the time to speak to me through His Word has totally stolen my joy. My fuse is a little bit shorter, and in a way, I shrink back from people because I really don't want to be social. I'm just being honest folks! Then I think of what I'm missing by not spending time reading and listening. I'm depriving myself of the very heart of God! I'm depriving myself of the mysteries of God, the love of our Father and the joy and beauty of being in His presence! I just need the hunger and drive for His Word to return.

But hold on my friends, there is the truth that His heart beats for us. His heart melts with one simple glance towards Him. The thing is He is jealous for us! He gets so jealous when we spend time doing other things (especially insignificant things) instead of turning our eyes toward Him. It's a jealousy that is basked in love. I simply need a love encounter with Him!!

There is a song that has been ministering to me in amazing ways lately. I first heard it when I was watching clips from the Call in Nashville. A worship leader named John Mark McMillan was awakened in the middle of the night with this song after one of his closest friends died (there is way more to this amazing story, so please do yourself a favor and look up John Mark McMillan on YouTube). Just look at the words:

He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

I love that 2nd verse. I need a big fat sloppy wet kiss of heaven meeting earth in my life. And that last line is truly a line to live by. "I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us." Beautiful.

Please, please, please watch this video clip. The video is of Kim Walker with a worship group called Jesus Culture singing John Mark McMillan's song. It will bring you to tears and give you goose bumps, and for me, every time I listen to it I have to raise my hands in adoration.

Enjoy. Grace and peace.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Shane and Shane

Tonight was the Shane Barnard and Shane Everett concert at Riverstone and let me tell you, it was amazing! Those guys are incredible. Their voices are superb and Shane Barnard is insane on the acoustic guitar. They did Vision of You as an opener and I could have left after that song and it would have been worth it! But I sucked it up and stayed the rest of the show. I know, it was a tough call to stay! It was their "Christmas Tour" so they winged some Christmas classics. And when I say wing, I mean wing. A few of the songs they had to stop and start over, or they didn't know some of the words of the verses. To me, that's what makes a musician, artist or a worship leader great. They have enough humility and vulnerability to show that they are human and make some mistakes, but at the same time point their lives, their hearts and their music upward towards heaven. This was made even more clear after the show when I got the chance to talk to both Shanes. They are such nice and humble people. They are the epitome of David's heart of humility. When David went before King Saul before he defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17), he was confident in his ability and giftings given to him by God, but continually called himself "your servant."

Humility is one of the hardest characteristics to develop. There are 2 misconceptions on humility. Number one, "we have this humility thing in the bag," and two, "we make ourselves out to be nothing." The latter is what is commonly called "false humility." We need to be confident in our skills and abilities, but we need to take hold of and walk by the truth that it is only by and through God's grace that we have those things. So how do we develop and maintain this life of humility? First you need to focus on God's grandness and on the incommunicable aspects of His character (omnipotent, omniscient, uncreated, etc). You look at the stars and galaxies and how vast they are, but in one passing sentence in Genesis He spoke those into existence. Second, invest in obscurity. Be a "behind-the-scenes" person; look to serve! Thirdly, delight when others are blessed and/or when doors are opening for other people. We have to make sure the jealous root doesn't go deeper. We cannot have the attitude of, "Why is that person being blessed am I'm not?" or "Why did that person get chosen and I didn't?" The jealous root, if not sought out and prayed out, can ruin you!

In order to do this, we must have accountability. We need prayer! It's crucial to have an intimate relationship with friends, pastors, etc that will pray for you and hold you accountable if you struggle with humility and jealousy, which we all do in some form or fashion.

Back to the concert (and on a little bit of a side note), Shane Barnard wrote a song called "Burn us up." The song is based out of Daniel 3 and the amazing story of the deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. If you're not familiar with this story, read it and you will be blown away! If you haven't read it in a long time, read it again. I say this is a side note because I play drums in a worship band called The Fourth Man (based on the story in Daniel 3) and we are recording our first CD! The weekend of January 19th we will be in a studio in Nashville, Tennessee recording! Shane Barnard told me tonight he would draw his "Sunday School" picture of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for us to put on our CD cover. He was joking but I told him we would send him a copy. So hopefully The Fourth Man will have a CD out by spring. Stay tuned!

Grace and peace.