Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Many Shades of Hymn

So I was enjoying the lyrics of the hymn "When We All Get to Heaven" this morning.

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace.
In the mansions bright and bless├Ęd
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when traveling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.

I thought it would be cool to look up the song on youtube to see if I could learn it. I think it would be a great hymn to teach my kids. I love the whole theme of when "we" all get to heaven. I found some fun videos on youtube that are worth sharing.

The Bluegrass Version

The kid playing mandolin on this is really good! I am guessing that is mom back there on the upright bass and she is either smiling because she is excited about her son or she just plain likes singing to Jesus.

Fieldcrest Road Church of God in Eden, North Carolina Version
First off, I think this looks like a sweet church and I think I would feel totally at home here. I love the elderly lady up leading the singing, she looks very thrilled to be there. I also love how everything comes to a halt at the end of each verse and then the drummer picks things back up again and away we go!

Gordon Henderson & John Ramsey Version
The first thing I noticed in this video was the man's rainbow striped polo. I wonder what people would think of me if I wore a rainbow striped polo? Next I love the combover of the soloist. It's too bad the camera revealed the teleprompter in the corner while he was starting. I thought these folks all knew the lyrics. I guess it's like some sort of "karaoke in the round."

The Brad Paisley Version
Before you think I am obsessed with Mr Paisley, you need to know that I like this version for the music, not the pictures... It really is my favorite version, though.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Doing as the Lord Commands

This Moses did; according to all that the Lord commanded him, so he did. In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. Moses erected the tabernacle. He laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars. And he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Exodus 40:16-19

And so the rest of Exodus chapter 40 goes on with Moses fulfilling small details of tabernacle assembly, 'as the Lord commanded Moses'.

How the details matter to the Lord.

One recent detail God told me was that I should take a break from tickling my daughter Lydia. Sounds funny but I had made an unconscious habit of surprising Lydia with a little tickle to the armpit from time to time. When I noticed she was adopting a stance of self protection every time I came near her I felt the Lord nudging me to cut it out and love on my daughter. It has been sweet to watch her turn around and not cringe when she sees her daddy coming close.

God give me more of a heart to hear the details you are telling me. Details matter to You.

Speaking of details, I found this video interesting on how the blue dye is produced to create the tekhelet, or blue strands which are a part of the tzitzit, fringes on a Jewish prayer shawl. Tzitzit with a strand of blue tekhelet are a detail that God gave his people in the book of Numbers:

Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. Number 15:38

Watch the video here.

I just find it interesting that the cord which was to remind God's people to pray without ceasing came from the hard shell of a shellfish that was crushed, and then oxidized in the sun. God obviously created this little shellfish for this purpose. It is a beautiful color of blue and was used for a multitude of purposes in the tabernacle. One cord was to hold the golden plate on the priest's turban which read 'Holiness to the Lord'

They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the
Lord.” And they tied to it a cord of blue to fasten it on the turban above, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Exodus 39: 30, 31

Just noticing some details...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Matthew 9:37,38

Interesting things in Matthew. I felt compelled this morning to look up the language used in Matthew 9:37, 38 where Jesus says:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

I think this is a quote we hear quite often. I love looking up the word definitions on . The first thing that struck me, call me ignorant, but the word used for 'harvest' speaks directly of 'reaping'. Jesus is not just talking about going out and acting 'farmy', putting on some sort of agricultural front, but literally pulling in the harvest. The grain is ripe on the stalks and is waiting to be harvested. In a spiritual sense it means that there are masses of people out there who are waiting to be told "how to obtain salvation". This sure takes it out of obscurity and mystery and makes our task a lot simpler. We just need to get out there and share.

Sadly, though the harvest is massive, the workers are few in number. Why is that? What is our problem Lord?

He goes on with a solution: 'pray the Lord of the harvest to send workers'. Two more cool definitions. This word 'pray' here is not a cutesy 'now I lay me down to sleep...', but literally means to beg. When the same Greek word is used in other areas of the New Testament it is translated as 'beseech'. God stir our hearts to be ones that don't just nod in agreement with your heart, but those that hunger for your work to be done. Like little children longing to have their desires, like a dog whining at it's masters feet for a treat, like a homeless man needing money or food, stir us to long for your will God.

The last word that struck me was the word 'send'. These are not neccesarily people who have been stirred by an emotional response, and in their own good time are making their way out. Look how the Strong's defines it:

1) to cast out, drive out, to send out
a) with notion of violence
1) to drive out (cast out)
2) to cast out
a) of the world, i.e. be deprived of the power and influence he exercises in the world
b) a thing: excrement from the belly into the sink
3) to expel a person from a society: to banish from a family
4) to compel one to depart; to bid one depart, in stern though not violent language
5) so employed that the rapid motion of the one going is transferred to the one sending forth
a) to command or cause one to depart in haste
6) to draw out with force, tear out
7) with implication of force overcoming opposite force
a) to cause a thing to move straight on its intended goal
8) to reject with contempt, to cast off or away
b) without the notion of violence
1) to draw out, extract, one thing inserted in another
2) to bring out of, to draw or bring forth
3) to except, to leave out, i.e. not receive
4) to lead one forth or away somewhere with a force which he cannot resist

When God sends us out, he shakes us out. Like casting seed for a new lawn, He broadcasts us to fall where we may. It reminds me of the 'Diaspora' in 1 Peter, when the Christians in northern Asia Minor were spread out under persecution. And yet God used them where they were at to,"proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" 1 Peter 2:9

God help us to beg you, to be shaken out as salt to spread your gospel to all who will listen. Let the desire to share your message consume every other passion.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blogging and Journaling

So I think I blog about as well as I keep up on my journal. Some times there is a two week space in my journal sometimes a two month space. I will get an itch and then I pick it back up again. It is still cool though to look through a journal even if it does have some gaps in it. I guess as long as I don't ever have a two year gap. I am starting to get the blog itch again. My wife has inspired me. With winter hours on the way, I feel my typing fingers warming up again...

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man's money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them." Genesis 42:21-25

Just an interesting little thought: other than maybe the occasional interaction with a Hebrew, Joseph had probably not heard Hebrew spoken since he was sold into slavery. Most people who haven't spoken a language for a while will often get rusty with it. They say, 'I can understand what I hear better than I can speak it.' It is amazing to think what emotions must have started to surge in Joseph's heart hearing his own language again. And to hear his brother's speaking of their treachery against him. What an out of the blue experience for Joseph!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

God's Establishing Work

"And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.' ... Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches." Acts 15:36, 40, 41

I am always looking for simplicity. Especially in my walk with the Lord, I long to know what my priorities should be. As a children's pastor I am daily faced with choices of what I could be working on. Sometimes the monotonous minuscule details can overshadow the greater concerns. I love it when God uses His word to bring me back to square one.

I am in Paul's letters right now for my Bible reading and have noticed a consistent theme in Paul's ministry. Paul obviously had a heart to share the gospel, but when it came to ministering to believers, I think his focus could be narrowed down to simply strengthening the disciples in their faith. Paul uses these words often which are semi-synonymous, "strengthen, settle, establish, full assurance, maturity, built up". Paul longed to find out how believers were doing and then encourage them down the road. God's heart is that we be built up in our faith in Him, and growing in our affectionate love and service for one another.

As a person who enjoys gardening, I immediately think of plants. I love going out in my garden and just seeing how much everything has "grown" from the day before. I am always mindful of when my plants need water or a little TLC. Nothing can beat a beautiful plant that has become well established in the garden. They take on a life and beauty of their own. A well established plant has a good root structure. It quickly soaks up the water given to it. It's leaves are deepest green and it is full of blossoms. We had a pineapple sage plant that a friend gave us last year that was only a few inches tall when we planted it in the spring. By the end of summer trailing into fall, it was taller than all of my kids and full of beautiful pink spikes of flowers. It gave off an awesome scent of pineapple when you plucked a leaf and crushed it in your hand.

Oh that my faith and love would bring glory to the Lord that way! Oh that my ministry would be carried out in simplicity with the goal of that kind of maturity in mind. God help me not to judge my brothers and sisters, but let me stir their faith to keep abiding in YOU!

"For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints." 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"A Night and a Day I Spent in the Deep"

That's what Paul said when describing some of his difficulties in ministry, and that was one of the thoughts that ran through my mind when I went surfing last Friday. Yes, I went surfing. String bean in a wetsuit on a long board. My good friend Micah took me to Otter Rock beach, let me borrow a wetsuit and a board and showed me all of the ropes. My biggest fear before going was not the surfing itself, but the temperature of the water. Anyone who has grown up going to the Oregon coast knows it is not a place for casual swimming. Even on hot days the water is quite frigid. But we were wearing thick wetsuits with booties, gloves and hoods. The only skin I had exposed to the ocean was my face. I was quite blessed with how warm the suits are. That's even without using the "surfer's heater" as it has been referred to. What is a surfer's heater? Let's just say Micah didn't want me using it since it was his wetsuit.

Now I am not an in shape person so I got quite worn down. The waves were relentless. Getting out far enough, getting on, and then getting up on the board can be quite intense. After a while I realized I probably could have lasted longer and performed better if I were in better shape.

The Lord totally spoke to me though through this. My expectations and fears of what could have happened were not nearly as bad as I thought. I never would've thought I would have fun surfing but it was awesome. I find myself thinking about it now and can't wait to go back. I just want to be in a little better shape. This is just like the things that God is calling me to do in my life right now. The things that I fear are based in truth but the reality of serving God in faith is far greater. I just want to be fully prepared for what God wants me to do.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:7-10

It is amazing to think that Paul, a man of God, spent a night and a day bobbing around in the ocean. Can you imagine floating in the water at three in the morning holding on to a piece of wreckage? There were a few times I took a step in the water and didn't feel anything underneath me, and it throws your brain off a little bit. Praise the Lord for His solid presence no matter where we find ourselves in life.