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Posted on May 21, 2014 in repost, Uncategorized

If I Could Convince You Of This One Thing…

If I Could Convince You Of This One Thing…

We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other people. We want their houses, their cars, their families, their gifts and talents – basically all the good parts of their life without the bad.

And what time we don’t spend comparing ourselves to others, and desiring their life instead of ours, we spend doubting the person God made us to be. We think it’s humble or something to come across as unconfident in who we were made to be. Or, we’re just so insecure because our gifts are different from other people’s gifts, and their gifts are the more noticeable, flashy kind of gifts, so we assume that ours must be insignificant.

What’s the one thing I wish I could convince you of? To have faith in who God made you to be. 

have-faith-believe-in-yourselfAnd that’s the real kicker of the whole thing anyway. Let me explain. Who is responsible for making you the way that you are? Doesn’t that responsibility fall on God’s shoulders? Sure, there are things about how we were raised, the way our parents treated us, the way we made friends and the way they treated us that all affect how we live and do life. But, isn’t it God who created us on purpose for a purpose?

So, those little jabs you make at yourself, about how you’re not good enough at this or that, those aren’t just putting yourself down, but you’re putting God down too. When you belittle your gift because it isn’t as fun and in your face as someone else’s gift, you’re dissing your creator. Maybe that’s your intent. I don’t know you well enough to know.

But, what I do know and what I have seen is that every single person made in God’s image has something they can bring to the table. Every single person God makes, is someone he designed with His mission in mind. And when you put yourself and your skills and abilities and personality and other traits down, you’re putting God down too.

So, Have faith and be yourself. God made you to play a specific role that the person with the flashy gift is incapable of playing. And while they might get all the attention because they’re loud and obnoxious, you know that they couldn’t do what they do if you didn’t do what you do. There is no single person on the face of the planet capable of doing everything God needs done. So, be confident in who God made you. Because there is no one else he has made to do or be who He made you to be.

And if you don’t do it, no one else will. So there will be this big hole of stuff that’s not getting done because that’s what you were created to do. We need you. We need every single person doing what they were created to do.

That’s the only way to achieve true, world domination.

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Posted on Feb 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

Cultural Differences – Proverbious – Day 50 – Proverbs 10:3-4

Cultural Differences – Proverbious – Day 50 – Proverbs 10:3-4

Proverbs 10:3

The Lord satisfies the appetite of the righteous,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Ever had a tapeworm? Me too. Just kidding.

In our culture, hunger is really something of the past. We’re only hungry when we’re trying to lose weight. And then, while it may be torture – it is a choice. We very rarely have hunger forced upon us. I know that there are some who do and there are places in our world where hunger is a real issue.

However, in the time of the writing of this proverb, hunger would have been a real concern for many. They didn’t have the preservation and refrigeration advances that we have today, so they were dependent on food that didn’t last for long. As a result of this, hunger was something that many people were very familiar with. They knew what it felt like to go to bed hungry, to wake up hungry and to have no hope of finding food.

Here though, appetite is not necessarily speaking of the physical kind of hunger. It has more to do with desire and our inner need for success. When we are living righteously like we talked about yesterday (righteousness is living according to the ways of wisdom), the Lord satisfies our appetite for success. Of course this could mean that when we are seeking success, the Lord will deliver it. However, I’m not sure that is the case. Instead, I think more of what the proverb is speaking of is that when we are living rightly we will walk as those who are filled. We will live as though we are loved. We won’t have this emptiness inside of us that drives us to seek things to fill the hole. We will be completely satisfied.

When we aren’t living rightly and instead are in the ranks of the wicked, we can expect just the opposite. Because this is such a vital need, when it is missing we’re always be looking for it. Is there a longing in your life that you have been unable to fill? Perhaps you need more of the Lord in your walk.

Proverbs 10:4

The one who is lazy becomes poor,
but the one who works diligently becomes wealthy.

Just as we in our culture are almost never hungry and can’t relate well to a culture that was, we also have a hard time understanding what diligent labor really looks like. There are some who do, but I have a feeling most of us would be among the ranks of those who complain when we have to mow our lawns.

Have you known someone who is diligent? I have. They live in a totally different way than the rest of us do. I remember getting to know some of them in college. You could just tell by their personality and work ethic that they were going to go far. Maybe not be extremely wealthy, but their chances of it were much greater than others. But for sure you would have to define them a successful.

Are you poor? Do you work hard? If you answer yes to both of those questions, the answer is much more complicated. If you answer each question differently, then you may know what you need to work on.

Perhaps we need to redefine what lazy is. Because of the progression of our culture, I think we use the term lazy only in the most extreme cases. However, many of us would be considered lazy by Proverbious standards.

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Posted on Dec 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 3

25 Days of Christmas Songs – Day 3

Todays songs may seem a little unfamiliar to you. I’m sure you’ve heard of the first one, but may not be super familiar with the second one. However, there is a reason for their selection. They both have a strong connection, in different ways, to Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol.” And since that’s a pretty big Christmas Deal, I thought these two songs would suit us well for our third day in this series. Don’t forget I’m making a playlist in Spotify as we go through this series, you can subscribe to here.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

This is a Christmas Carol that does it’s best to include the entire story of Christmas in its lyrical content. Its origin isn’t entirely clear. The Author is unknown. It was published in W. Sandy’s Christmas Carols in 1833. And that’s about the extent of the history we know.

However, we do know that the part of the song was included in “A Christmas Carol.” According to Wikipedia: “…at the first sound of — ‘God bless you, merry gentlemen! May nothing you dismay!’— Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.”

(The recording below is from my album: “When The Snow Falls” which is available on iTunes.)

A Thankful Heart

I don’t know why my connection with the muppets is. Another one of their songs will appear on the list a few days down the road. I have fond memories of listening to our vinyl version of John Denver and the Muppets. (Yes we listened to a lot of vinyl growing up.) So, I guess it was only natural for me to fall in love with “A Muppet Christmas Carol” upon its release.

All that said, I do think it is one of the best musical versions of the Dickens Classic, and is worth your time whether you are a child or an adult.

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Posted on Nov 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Christmas Letters – FREE Videos for Churches, Christmas Services

Christmas Letters – FREE Videos for Churches, Christmas Services

I know just how hard planning Christmas services can be. All the stress about what the theme should be, the look, the songs, what have you… So, below you will find an entire Christmas Service planned out for you! All you have to do is use it!

It is based on the idea of Letters. The big idea is that a letter is a piece of communication, and Christmas is a Celebration of various Letters, through the Prophets, the birth of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit – God With Us.

There are three videos (All available for you to download for free in either .mov format or .mpg format) as well as a title slide and a background slide. You can view all the videos at the bottom of this post! The graphic is at the top of this post.

The focus of the sermon was around the idea of Christ being the living word. “In the beginning was the word…He was in the world and though the world was made through Him, the world did no recognize Him.”

All the elements of the videos were made by myself and my friend, and are available for you to use for free with no restrictions. All we ask is that you give us the credit if you have the chance (ie – don’t say that you made them 🙂

The Order of Service: 

Joy to the World (Chris Tomlin Arr.)

The First Noel (David Crowder Arr.)

Letter Video #1

Angels We Have Heard on High (Chris Tomlin Arr.)

Welcome

Letters Montage (Montage of clips of scenes from Christmas movies that have letters)

Bible Reading (Luke 2)

Letter Video #2

Hark the Herald Angels Sing (My Arr.there is a recording of this on my album – if you would like a track to sing to let me know!)

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (Steven Curtis Chapman Arr.)

Sermon

O Holy Night (My Arr. – there is a recording of this on my album – if you would like a track to sing to let me know!)

Letter Video #3

Silent Night (My Arr. – there is a recording of this on my album – if you would like a track to sing to let me know!)

 

Right click on the link below and click “Save Target As…”

Click here to download the .mpg pack

Click here to download the .mov pack

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Posted on Jul 20, 2012 in Devotional Thoughts, Family, Pain and Suffering, Uncategorized

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep

Last night and this morning we’ve been blessed to have some Thunderstorms. Blessings for me anyway. By her actions, my daughter does not agree. As the thunder rolled this morning at around 5:30am, there was a frightened knock and cry at our bedroom door:

“Mommy, I’m scared!”

It was our oldest daughter, Hannah, who inherited her mother’s dislike of thunder.

So, we had her climb up in bed with us, right in-between us, clinging to her stuffed unicorn.

She didn’t go to sleep. I kept drifting off, but then as the thunder would awake me, so would she.

“Daddy, that one was on the wall!”

To which I would reply, “it’s okay sweetie, you’re safe,”and then try drift off back to sleep.

In the Northwest United States, we don’t get a ton of thunderstorms. In fact, they’re very rare. This year however, we’ve had several. Where I grew up, in Southeast Ohio, we had them all the time. I’m sure I was scared of them as a kid, but as I grew older I grew to love them.

This storm was terrifying for Hannah. To her, it was the only thing in her world at that moment.

To me, it was relaxing, even calming.

I can imagine the thoughts in her mind: “This is so scary! How can they be sleeping through this!”

From my perspective, things were much different. I’ve been through many thunderstorms that were much worse, I’ve hidden under my desk in school through a tornado warning, I’ve helped students at a youth event under pews in the sanctuary through a tornado warning.

Yes, the thunder was loud, but I wasn’t worried. But Hannah hasn’t been through very many storms at all, and certainly none that would put this one into perspective.

Thinking about this reminded me of they lyric in the famous Christmas Carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” that reads:

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

God has weathered the most brutal of all storms. His, is the power behind the Lightning and Thunder, and even they wither in comparison to His awesome might. As trouble comes and storms arise, we can rest in this truth. “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.”

It may seem that God does not care about our current plight, but remember, He’s been through worse. His perspective is much greater than our own. He knows and cares for each of His children deeply, and knows the outcome of each of our stories. He sees the role this storm will play in shaping our lives and rests.

“The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with peace on earth, good will to men!”

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