Thoughts,Songs,Writings,Rants,Encouragements, and Life

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


"Worship is the hearts response to what God is doing, has done, and will do in our lives."

"Worship is what we value the most."

"Worship is what I was wired to do!"

I have been thinking recently about Worship and what it truly means. Thinking about music related to worship. I realized a couple of things, and I hope I can be clear on my findings.

I realized that we as humans try to put a face on God and who He is all of our lives. We try and figure out who He is and what He is about. We as humans need to touch, feel, experience, see, and so forth before we can put our trust in anything. So we try and put a face on a God who is faceless, matchless, and indescribable.

I had someone try to tell me this weekend that If I can take a Worship song and the attributes in the song and then sing it about a friend, lover, girlfriend or wife that it is no longer a worship song.

Take for example a few lines from a well known song.

You (Amber) are my strength when I am weak
You (Amber) are the treasure that I seek
You (Amber) are my all in all

Oh crud this song must not be a worship song anymore, because I can replace the word You with Amber (my wife). The truth is is that is bull crap. This dude was trying to limit what is worship and what can be worship. The truth is as the three quotes state above, it has nothing to do with words. The dude also went on to say that we try and put human attributes on God in these songs. The truth is however is that we as humans actually try and put Godly attributes on ourselves.

When I tell my wife how lovely and beautiful she is, and she tells me how great and awesome and hard working I am, these may be true to a certain extent, but truly all of these attributes belong to God alone. God is all of these attributes. I am not any of them. The truth is my wife is broken, I am bruised. We are not a perfect people. We are merely reflections of God and who He is in our lives.

My worship is that of a Creator, King, one who is before and after, who is Awesome, terrifying, amazing, worthy, great, beautiful, hot, hard working, and the list goes on. I worship not because of words or notes, I worship because my heart cannot contain the gratefulness that is within me and the appreciation for who and what God is in my life. I worship because everything in my being compels me to. And without worship I am nothing, for that is what I was created to do. I was not created to judge whether my worship is good enough, for whatever I bring will never be enough. I do have to guard myself against false and unholy worship as well. I could in a sense be worshiping and placing attributes on things and people that do not deserve them, I must realize that God is the only one who deserves praise and worship.

Are there some songs out there that are lacking in depth? Sure, but I am not the creator of that song I have no clue where the heart was in that moment. The truth is I think worship songs are a launching point for us to begin creating more worship and understanding it. I think our creations of a personal kind hit worship more than sing a long songs. But co-op worship is necessary as well. There is a place for both. But the next time you say this song just doesn't do it for me or that song wasn't written well, or whatever else you come up with, remember it was never meant for you, it isn't about how you feel about it or how you can manipulate it to be whatever you want, it was meant to bring the attention and honor back to the Creator of the World!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Disc golf in snow and hail

Got to go on a retreat with Dave and Albert this weekend. (Some more thoughts coming from this later) And we got to do some serious Disc golfing throughout our time. We ended up playing five times in three days. A grand total of about 80 holes played. My arms were dying after the weekend, but I love this sport so much. Anyway, on Sunday we went out and got through the front 9 of Tadmor's course pretty quickly with no problems whatsoever, then at about whole 12 the hail the size of marbles began pelting us and effecting our throws. The ground was white and we were totally wet. Then it began to snow, in April mind you!!! We finished out the course and it was the a couple of firsts for me. First game of Disc golf in the snow and first in the hail as well. All in all I loved it! Wish I had pictures, but I don't so, just picture it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bridgetown (adventure two)

Tonight I had the opportunity to go downtown and serve our the city of Portland. Our middle school group brought about 17 students to serve under the Burnside bridge. Bridgetown ministries serves about 200 homeless each and every Friday night. This includes haircuts, feet washing, new socks, food, conversation, and clothing. Also involved in this ministry our prayer pockets*. These pockets of about 5-7 people walk a purpose filled and mapped out journey during the time that others our serving under the bridge. Some of these groups have food and blankets and try to reach out to those who can not make it to the bridge, bringing the ministry to the people instead of having them come to be ministered to(what a great thought). Then there are groups/pockets that spread out throughout downtown Portland and pray for specific things, specific needs, buildings, people, and pretty much anything. Our adventure begins with one of these prayer pockets.

I volunteered along with about five middle school girls and a Village mother to do one of these prayer walks. And I was asked to lead one of these prayer pockets. We were given a map of Portland with a highlighted trail for us to follow. We were given short ideas on what to pray for at each location. There were 12 stops on our little journey. We only got through 3 though.

The girls and I headed from the church we began at towards the Max line that would take us to Pioneer Courthouse Square or PCS for short. As we got off the Max I wanted to teach the girls a little about prayer and bigness of it. I was trying to get the girls acclimated to what they were about to do, so I stopped them and had them look at the bricks on the sidewalk. Bricks you say? Yes, bricks. There is a lot that we can pray for when it comes to bricks, especially when thousands of people walk on them each and every day. I asked the girls the significance of the bricks and why we might be able to pray for them. They gave good answers. Here are three: We could pray for the brick makers, the brick layers, and then all of the people who walk on these bricks everyday. Now moving on from this short lesson in prayer awareness, we moved to the steps of PCS.

On the steps of PCS we asked God to use us and clear our minds to see things as He sees them. We prayed for God to scare us. We prayed for all the people around us. We prayed for the people that would at some point step foot on these steps. And then we began our walk.

One of the things I have been asking God to do lately is open my vision of Him to a higher level of understanding. I realize that I am small in the grand scheme of things. I realize that HE is big and I truly don't understand Him. So I have been asking God to show himself to me in new ways. I also have been asking Him to scare me. To put me in my place, and ultimately to use me when I am broken, scared, unknowing, small, and yet earnestly seeking Him. Little did I know my new found prayer format would come true so quickly.

The girls and I traveled up from PCS towards Taylor(possibly not the real) street. We began to pray for the points on our little mapped out adventure. With out new found awareness of all the things around us, the girls were truly praying from the hearts and not the usually stuff you would expect from a middle schooler.

As we were heading to the fourth point on the map, that's when it happened. There we were chatting and opening our hearts to what God had for us when He rocked us. Standing on a wall outside of a small taco shop was this woman, who couldn't be more than 47, swaying back and forth. She looked cold, she looked older than she was, she looked miserable. And she asked us for help. "Please...p p please can you help me out? Any change any money? I have been kicked out of my home. I have no one to turn to." The girls hearts broke immediately. What could we do to help this woman? I replied, "Um, can I buy you something to eat? There is a taco shop right here?" She quickly replied that she wasn't able to eat stuff like that. I wasn't going to give up that easily nor was I going to give her cash. So I ran around the corner into the taco shop and pleaded with the guys (they had just closed shop) "is there anywhere close by where we can get some cheese, fruit, and juice?" They looked at me like a was stupid for a second and then said, "the closest place is a Safeway about four blocks up the street to the left." "Thank you so much" I said and ran back to the girls and the woman. They were still talking with her. Apparently they had tried to pray for her but she said, "no thanks, I have given up on God and don't believe in that stuff anymore." I was still not done with this woman though, neither was God. I asked the woman how long she would be standing there for. She said that she wouldn't be here long. The truth is she was going no where. She could barely walk, she had a hitch in her step.

The girls and I began to walk away. The mother and I talking about how we wished we could help but just couldn't see how we could. The Safeway seemed so far away and we running out of time on our prayer walk time period. Then one of the girls said, "PLEASE! Can we stop?" The mother and I turned around to see five girls in tears. One of them said, "isn't there anything we can do for her? Why do we have to walk away?" The mother and I looked at each other. "Well, we could pray for her", said the mom. So right there we circled up just a hundred feet or so from the woman on the wall and prayed for her. And then began our mission.

After the prayer we decided we were going to do whatever we could do to help this woman. We began to run towards the direction of the Safeway. This is when I realized that I am fat and out of shape and Sir Wheezy should be my nickname, but we pressed on. We ran into Safeway and got the goods we needed for the woman. fruit, juice, cheese, and a couple sandwiches. Then we had to wait through a ridiculously long line (I hate how Satan tries to block us from succeeding in Christ) and finally were able to purchase the $27 worth of foodage.

We then began the trek back to the woman. Running in a what must have looked like a funny group, we finally reached the spot where she, the woman, used to be. She was gone. My heart sank, "Oh God, please don't let it end this way," I prayed to myself. Then one of the girls spotted her. She was about a block away chatting up a couple that had just come out of a Theater. I handed the bag of goodies to one of the girls and we walked to the woman. She ignored us. We stood there. Finally I stepped in and said "we would like you to have this." She acted surprised and then took the food and said "bless you, bless you." That was it, we walked away. She continued to talk to the people, we continued to walk.

We were happy and yet one of the girls was not satisfied in the womans reaction. "Well that was worthless," said the girl. I turned and said "what!?" "She didn't even appreciate what we did for her, she doesn't even believe in God." My mind was reeling at this point how am I going to respond to this girl. "God was seen tonight. You were used by Him tonight. Even though that woman may not accept it now we were planing a seed that may someday grow into something else someday later. "Oh, I guess you are right."

I asked the girls if they were scared at all during the night. And they all replied "Yes!" And then I said, "See what happens when we ask our God to show up?" "Yea?!" He can do amazing things. I believe God is still working on that woman, I will pray for her. And I believe God showed himself to the girls in a new and awesome way tonight. All because they asked Him to use them and He said "Ok let's do this!"

How will God use you and when was the last time you asked Him to use you? I suggest to anyone please check out Bridgetown at least try it once. It could change your outlook on life, just a little.

*Prayer pockets is my saying, not what Bridgetown calls them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Your Love is Strong

I am currently rocking/contemplating Jon Foreman's new EP Spring. This is one of the songs that is just rocking me right now. The song is supposed to be the sequel to Oh! Gravity's "Let Your Love be Strong."

The song is taken directly from Matthew 6:9-18 and 6:25-34 and the way that Foreman has re-penned this passage of scripture is just captivating me right now. I really recommend that anyone and everyone pick up all of Jon's EP's they will rock you.

Heavenly Father
You always amaze me
Let Your kingdom come in my world
And in my life

Give me the food I need
To live through today
Forgive me as I forgive
The people that wrong me

Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window
The birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune
Or out of place

I walk to the meadow
And stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl
On her wedding day

So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need!

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens
Is now advancing
Invade my heart
Invade this broken town

The kingdom of the heavens
Is buried treasure
Would you sell yourself
To buy the one you've found

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes, you love me

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong
Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

Our God in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven
Give us, today, our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

Thursday, April 03, 2008

25 years of living

"It's my birthday tomorrow no one here can know, I was born this Thursday 25 years ago."- Jon Foreman

My birthday was fun and interesting this year. Turning 25 is a scary, emotional, and amazing moment in my life. This is the first birthday that I have celebrated married. A birthday that has me thinking not only earthly but eternally. A birthday that has me asking why, how, and when. A birthday that gives me purpose and yet has me questioning everything. A birthday.

The coolest thing about my 25th birthday however was that it is not about me, it has never been about me and never will be. It is about Christ though. It is a another day that I can recognize Christ's fingerprints upon my entire existence and celebrate that. For so long I believed that this day was about me and celebrating whatever number of years I have been living, breathing, and dirtying up this earth. Then I began to realize that this day should be a day to glorify Christ and what he has done in my life and who is and has been all along in my life. To intense? Okay lets take a step back.

This year there was no celebration for my life, at least on my birthday (I will be having a small party on the 12th to fellowship and laugh with friends).

I had the opportunity to be a part of a celebration for someone else's life this year. My friend Jerry had a surprise party and I had the privilege of singing in the band that was at his party. A ton of fun and it had nothing to do with me. It was all about Jerry. Even though I was on stage on my birthday, my entire goal for the evening was not about me it was about showing how much me and everyone else there loved Jerry. So there I was singing the Beatles version of Happy Birthday and it hit me. This isn't about me, or you, or even Jerry. The birthday celebration is a celebration of life and the blessings and goodness of Christ in that life.

The truth is at 25 years of living, I realized just who I am living for. I realized that I want to reflect through my living and breathing the greatness of Christ Story. Christ story that has very little to do with my story, and yet he does chose to use me or rather be reflected through me like the moon through the sun. He uses me and my existence to bring others to Him...

So heres to another year of hopefully breathing, singing, laughing, dancing, and most of all reflecting Christ to the World around me.