Friday, August 27, 2010

...beautiful things?

Michael Gungor is one of my very favorite artists...Christian or otherwise...his latest album, Beautiful Things, wrecks me in a way few projects have. The title track is a refresher on what (the Spirit of) God does so perfectly...regeneration.

The awesome thing about God is that He exists in 3 persons that are all equal but submit to one another in that they perform separate functions...we are not complete as believers until we have been dealt with by the total nature of who God is...God in creation, Christ in redemption and Holy Spirit in regeneration. For many of us, we have begun the process in great form...we all have been created by God in His image, etc...those of us who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord have been dealt with by Christ in redemption...leaving the remaining third of the process that endures for the remainder of our time on earth...regeneration through fellowship with the Spirit of God ("Holy Spirit", "Holy Ghost", etc.).

Not surprisingly, this is where MOST of us You see, creation was the easiest part because we had no hand it in. Redemption was a bit tougher, because it required a conscious decision to put our faith in Jesus Christ...which means accepting all of His claims and promises...but regeneration...whooooo...that's where the work begins. You see, from the day we become believers and accept the Spirit of God living inside us, we are constantly at war because of the new duality of our nature...Flesh vs. Spirit. Our natural inclination is rebellion...we fight and fight and fight some more to do things our way...while the God living inside us yearns to mature us, grow us, challenge us, change us, etc..."making us new". You see, nothing comes into contact with the Spirit of God and remains unchanged...we are created with a deep yearning and void for completion by the "loving" Spirit. Now that "love" functions in ways we will NEVER fully comprehend, but believe that everything God does or allows in your life is for your good...whether it hurts or not, God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

I could go into an exhaustive exercise on what it looks like day to day to experience that regeneration, but I'm inspired to start right where we are...imperfect, incomplete, fatally flawed individuals who were desperately in need of a Savior...and are now desperately in need of Someone to "make us new". Day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment, incident by incident, encounter by encounter, choice by choice...the onus on us to allow God through His Spirit to lovingly make us new...over and over and over again. Without it, we are absolute messes...utterly chaotic messes...just as the beginning of Genesis recounts how God brough order to the chaos that existed before the world was formed, God desires to create order and beauty and purpose from our personal confusion.

Basically, the song of our hearts is "You make beautiful things...You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us." We are officially "under construction" for the remainder of our lives...which means each day we must allow God to make us better than we were the day before. I know it's personally challenging to me...I'm hard-headed and stubborn as they come...but I'm ever grateful that I can with conviction sing the refrain in this song I love so much..."You make me new, you are making me new. You make me new, You are making me new." I pray we all do the same, so that the infinite Love of God can make a difference in our lives moment to moment...our spheres of influence day to day...and our world generation to generation.

With all that in mind...take a listen...

"...Dear Lord, please keep making me new...Love, Me."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

...we love Fantasia. I'm not sure what proper protocol is about blogging on issues...I don't really have a focus here, other than to share things that may be thought provoking to others, so I'll go ahead with this one.

I, like most people, have heard about this whole controversy surrounding Fantasia...the alleged affair, the suicide attempt, etc., and there's one main thing that bothers me...the venomous and plain mean things I've heard people say about her situation. I'll try to keep this short, but either way, wrong or not, she's a young lady who is obviously living in pain and makes some mistakes as a result...which sounds like most of us. All of us are the sum of our experiences...good and bad...and sadly, the bad experiences often cause us to make mistakes in efforts to sooth or mask our pain...which lead to more bad experiences and when left unchecked, can create a vicious cycle that destroys lives. Regardless of what our faith entails, we all desire the "grace" to make mistakes and the opportunity to learn from them and become better. Someone being famous doesn't make them exempt from actually heightens the need for that grace from Almighty God...and from the people around them. All I'm saying is let's extend the same measure of grace to her that we do to our friends who get themselves tangled up in bad our homies who make bad choices...that same grace we ask for when our poor decisions leave us broken and torn...we want the chance to recover and be better...and not be slapped in the face with reminders of our sins at every turn...let's learn do the same for others.

As an "artistic" person, I'm well aware of the pitfalls of the heightened level of attention that talent can bring...the access it gives you...and how susceptible to falling you are as you climb. In our society, we've created a build to tear down culture...we shoot celebs/artists/talented people/athletes/etc. to the highest heights because of what they provide us in whatever form, but as soon as they display the flaws (...usually the flaws that help provide that great level of artistry...I think I'll discuss that later here), we shoot them down as quickly as we elevated them. Not to be cliche, but artists are people too. I'm not saying they're excused for their wrong, just that we should root for them to be better...God specializes in reclamation projects, if He didn't, then we would all be absolutely NOTHING...let's just start lobbying for that same recovery and victory in the lives of others. Lord knows we all need it.

Just a thought.

Monday, August 23, 2010

...the weekend's over (insert sad face)

I had a pretty cool weekend. It started with the last night of laying vocals for my friend Tifani's Church record. We had a great group of singers who are even more wonderful people...always a pleasure in that environment.

Saturday was burn-out day...slept late, hit the gym, barbershop and the mall. Dinner for Restaurant Week at MASA 14 ( Meal was awesome as favorite was the spicy tuna roll...service was excellent...truly one of my faves.

Ended the evening with a movie..."The Other Guys"...FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY. Will Farrell will always get a laugh out of me...and the cameos from The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson set it OFF!!!!! Go see it!!

Sunday is my looooooong work day...( I've had the privilege of serving as a worship leader there for several years and yesterday was truly one for the books. Pastor Battle's message was killer as always and the worship team really showed up. We ended the set with "How He Loves" by John Mark McMillan ( It's an amazing illustration of the immeasurable depth of God's love for us...the congregation went off and really seemed to engage. It's a song that can meet ANYONE wherever they find themselves in their walk. It's wild to me that whenever I'm having a bad yesterday...He finds a way to do something so off the chain that I forget all about what's bothering me. Sounds like good parenting to me.

Have a great week family!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Starting Again... I've had this blog for a while now, and of course, this is the first post. I've actually had two other blogs that I can't remember. Life has changed so much for me over the last few years and even the last few constant for me is that I always have something to talk this marks a renewal of my effort to share things with the world that will help in some small way. Somebody wish me goes...