Saturday, April 26, 2014

Change it

Does it ever bother you that life has so much more to offer than you are living? Does it bother you that most of the walls and the roadblocks in your life are all in your head? Does it bother you to know that the years behind you are gone and you will never get them back and all you have is whats in the future? Does it bother you that you have no memory of most of the days of your life because you didn't actually "live" those days? It bothers me!

What beliefs are holding you back? Why is it so hard to change? What if everything you tell yourself isn't true? What if you aren't too old yet? What if you aren't too young? What if you can be good at music? What if you the best years aren't behind you? What if you could be outgoing or funny? What if non of your excuses are true? What if nothing is the way it is because it has to be that way but rather because you have chosen for it to be that way?

If you could change it, what would you change?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Need to Record More Music

Today was a full and fun day. I just got home from church where I was blessed to both lead worship and preach. I am always humbled that anybody comes. Earlier today I spent several hours working on music that I hope will one day make its way to YouTube. I want to be more consistent with my recording projects and at the same time make them better. I have had a handful of people tell me that the little bit that I have done has made a big difference in their lives. It is unbelievable to me that such a small thing could be used in such big ways. I feel like I need to keep pressing forward with music.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shut Up Uncle Rico

I haven't written anything in the last couple days. Laziness crept in and took control. I started listening to the voices in my head telling me that its useless to spend a few minutes a day writing. The funny thing is that the voices in my head have personalities. I can almost picture a man telling me that no one needs to read what I write and that it's pretentious of me to even put my thoughts out there. He has a mustache and he tucks his t-shirt into his wranglers. He kind of reminds me of uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite. Anyways, he talked me out of writing for a couple of days.

I get trapped trying to write something worth reading and my own criticism slows me down. I know that if I'm a perfectionist I will not produce anything because I'm not perfect and I never will be, but  maybe if I can keep myself writing I'll get a little better every day or at least every month and eventually I can shut up uncle Rico. Maybe, eventually I'll communicate something that helps somebody. Maybe I'll just experience the freedom of expression without the need to produce anything great.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

She Remained Faithful

Today I went to a memorial service of an 84 year old woman. It was quite a testimony to see how many lives she had touched in her 84 years. She had lived in the same little town for most of her life. She had been faithful to the same church, the same community and the same man for most of her life. Some of the people who wanted to pay their respects couldn't event get into the building because there were so many of them. At the service they spoke of her musical talent and her hospitality but I am convinced that her greatest influence came from just being there. Faithfulness and commitment are hard to find anymore. In a day where marriages only last for a few years and we bounce from church to church looking for the shortest or funniest or loudest or most traditional service, it was good to see the effect of one woman who just stayed faithful.

Faithfulness has its own fruit. I guess the challenge is to keep showing up. Whether its going well or it feels like its falling apart there will be fruit if we continue to show up.

Friday, March 28, 2014

We Should Just Know

I've been reading Leviticus. As I read I am amazed at the laws in the book. You would think there are some things that you wouldn't have to say. You would think that we would just know some things are wrong. But we don't know. We need to be told. We need to be corrected. We need to be punished for doing wrong.

I have three kids. Because I am a parent I have said some things that I never thought I would have to say. You have to teach kids everything or else they will destroy themselves. You can't just assume they'll know. They don't. Not only do you have to tell them, you have to tell them over and over, and even then you're still not safe.

Did God really have to tell them not to sleep with their pets or their parents or their aunts and uncles? Did God really have to tell them not to kill their own children in honor of pagan gods? Yes He did.

We are so prone to destruction. We think that we are more civilized than the ancient cultures because we were gifted with an extra dose of common sense. Nope. We are a generation that has been trained to understand that certain things are wrong. We have made a lot of progress as a people because we have come to agree with what should be self evident truth. But we are rapidly moving back the other direction. Like the two year old who wants to lick the toilet seat we ask "Why is this wrong?"

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Draw Near

Sometimes I feel like Israel. When things are going well I forget God and get busy enjoying the good things in my life. I don't pray or read my Bible. I don't meditate on Him or thank Him for the blessings all around me. But then the trial comes and I am brought to my knees. I become desperately aware of my need for Him. I cry out and He delivers me only to bring me back to my self absorbed pursuits, and again I forget Him.

I hope, one day to be the man who lives for the Lord in the good times and the bad. I hope I can remember to draw near to Him when I am distracted by all the toys that He lets me play with. I hope the roller coaster gets a little less crazy and that I find my stability in the simple discipline of drawing near to Him each day.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Religious Pride

Religious people are the hardest to please. It almost seems like the longer we follow or practice our Christianity the more rules we have. Every time we get a little better at something we make a new rule that everybody else needs to follow. We become the standard of Christianity for everyone else. When we first got saved we knew that mercy and grace were our only hope of acceptance, but after a few years of what we call growing and maturing we look back and say, "I wasn't even saved back then." Oh, but now we are! We have cleaned ourselves up, and made ourselves presentable and now we are acceptable to God.

This thinking is filled with pride. It causes us to put the cleanest parts of us in front and desperately try to hide the broken and dirty parts. It causes us to judge everyone else around us by our own self made standard. We expect maturity from infants. Instead of training and exhorting we condemn and tear down.

Sinners gladly heard Jesus. It was the religious people who hated His message. Good people hate mercy because it brings those who have not worked to an equal standing with themselves. So often our loud cries against sin are not from a loving heart toward the one who is being destroyed, but rather from a spirit of pride seeking to be validated for our abstinence and effort.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Five Minute Habits

I have been doing a little experiment for the past few months. I have been trying to get myself to do things for only 5 minutes a day, every day. I find that everything inside of me is resistant to change, so in order to change I need to somehow convince myself that it isn't so bad. I realize that almost everything I do, both positive and negative, is the result of a habit that I have. I have come to believe that what we call "willpower" is a joke. I can get myself to change for a day or two, but to keep the new pattern long enough for it to form a habit has seemed almost impossible.

So back to my experiment. I am not so much focusing on getting the thing done as much as I am focusing on forming a new habit. I can do almost anything for 5 minutes a day as long as I can convince myself that the long term fruit of it is going to be worth it. If I do the math I find that 5 minutes a day is more than 30 hours a year. That may not seem like much, but its more than I usually spend doing things that are outside of my regular routine.

I have also started adding 1 minute every week to my new habits. I have found it to be working amazingly well. Some of my new habits are up to 20 minutes a day and I haven't missed a day yet. There have been many days that I have not wanted to do the new thing but I've done it anyway, and that was the goal all along.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Don't Love My Kids The Same

My kids are different. What is fun to Josiah is not necessarily fun for Asher. What is valuable to Talia is often not valuable to Josiah. Also, I enjoy each of them differently. I love them all but I can't say I love them the same. I don't spend a lot of time trying to convince them that I don't love the others more. They all irritate me differently too. There are things that I love about Asher that Josiah doesn't do. Sometimes I wish they were all some perfect combination of the best parts of each one but then what fun would that be? The things that make Talia special is that she isn't Asher. I don't need another Josiah, I already have one.

Any parent who has more than one kid is shocked at how different they are. I love their uniqueness. I think if I do my job right they will each feel that I love them the most. If I love them well they will feel, as I do, that life is unfair in their favor.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why Do I Go To Church?

Why do I go to church? Every Sunday morning for my entire life I have been in church. Ok, maybe I've missed a few weeks here and there but for the most part I have been there. As a kid I didn't enjoy it much. I didn't like getting all spiffed up, with my hair combed and my teeth brushed. I didn't like singing the songs. I didn't like listening to the long winded preachers. So, how is it that after thirty six years and the ability to make my own decisions, I still find myself in church on a Sunday morning?

The honest answer is, I love it. I love being with the people. I love listening to the long winded preacher. I love singing the songs. How did I change? When did I change? This might be a bit personal for a third blog post, but as I think about it, I think the change happened when my dad died. I was fourteen and it was the first time I was faced with the reality of death. I began seeking answers to the questions that I thought were the most important questions anyone could ask. Why are we here and What happens next?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Consuming and Creating

The goal is not good writing, the goal is writing. I have found that in my life there is an imbalance between creating and consuming. It is so easy to consume what others have created. I love to read, to listen and to play with the great and many things that have been made for my encouragement, enjoyment and entertainment. I find that I can spend hours consuming the brilliance of others and leave nothing for others to consume. At the end of a day filled with consuming I feel stimulated yet unproductive. I believe that we all have voices and it is our responsibility to contribute to the conversation. Not only to take what is on the table, but also to leave something for others to chew on.

Friday, March 21, 2014

You Gotta Start Somewhere.

What would come from spending five minutes a day writing? What ideas would my mind produce. Who would read the ideas? What if I was to add 1 minute each week? That's what I'm about to find out. I set this thing up, and now I've got a timer going and classical music playing in my Bose headphones and I'm starting in the only place you can start, at the beginning. I figure if I'm ever going to get ideas out to the world it has to be a habit. I figure to make it a habit I have to do it every day. I figure to do it every day I have to start small, and 5 minutes is small.

The timer just went off. Done for the day.