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Feeling good or at least singing about it

March 15, 2012 1 comment

Driving around Manila yesterday, I found myself listening to the following song and somehow it picked up my spirits a bit.  Maybe it will yours as well!

Worship with drums

January 25, 2012 1 comment

After a week away in silence, maybe I appreciate the worship these guys lead us into with drums!  Oh yeah!

First, the Little Drummer Boy Rocks

And after listening to that, I thought of the Prayer as Creativity short video produced by 24-7 prayer guys

prayer-as-creativity

In the end, we have to give up control

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Two outstanding songs here from JJ Heller. In the End and Control.

First a few of the lyrics to JJ Heller’s powerful new song In the End.

Oh this silly heart of mine

Looking for new things to buy
Nothing really satisfies
In the end, in the end
Greed is making fools of us
Waging war betraying trust
Empires only fade to dust
In the end, in the end

Safety is not for sale.
[You can not buy peace of mind]
Earthly defenses fail
[There's nothing new under the sky]
Build your kingdom all your life
And say goodbye
In the end, in the end

And you can listen here to the music on youtube.

Partial lyrics below to her song “control”

Oh, control
It’s time, time to let you go

Perfection has a price
But I cannot afford to live that life
It always ends the same; a fight I never win

Oh, control
It’s time, time to let you go

I’m letting go of the illusion
I’m letting go of the confusion
I can’t carry it another step
I close my eyes and take a breath
I’m letting go, letting go

You can listen to the song on youtube as well–I must admit that I did not care for the official music video and so I prefer just listening to the music at this youtube site

 

 

Enjoy beauty, simplicity and goodness. Today!

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here are a couple of short films that challenge me about being present, about living and enjoying each moment of every day. Enjoying God. Enjoying others.  All is a gift.  All is of grace. Beauty, simplicity, goodness. Until the end.

  • I have no good apart from you Psalm 16:2
  • Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me Psalm 23:6
  • How abundant is your goodness Psalm 31:19
  • My times are in your hands Psalm 31:15

“Eccl. 9:11   Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. Eccl. 9:12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.”
(Ecclesiastes 9:11–12 ESV)

“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;” (Ecclesiastes 12:1 ESV)

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV)

Some much needed fun about theology

August 30, 2011 Leave a comment

From Corbisimages.com

After a long time away from reading Parchment and Pen, I just read the top ten reasons the dispensationalists did not cross the road. IMHO, here are the best ones.

9. They thought that the other side was for Israel and this side was for the church.

7. It is pointless since Jesus is just going to bring them back after 7 years.

6. Like the OT prophets and the church age, they were unable to see the other side.

5. They counted and it would take 18 steps. That divided by 3 is 6. 666. Therefore, crossing the road would be taking the mark of the beast.

3. Dallas Theological Seminary has yet published anything telling us how to do it.

1. They thought we would be raptured before we got there anyway.

Lest anyone think that they are picking on dispensationalists (of which I am one), they also have posts on why did the reformed theologian not . . . 11. A woman already crossed. We don’t follow women.

why did the evangelical not . . . 5. On the other side of the road there was a guy who was the friend of a friend of a friend who voted for Obama.

why did the arminian not  11. He is the one who is in charge. No one is going to make him do anything. 10. We are not sure if he will cross or not. No one knows. Not even God.

and why did the emerger not cross the road.  7. Because only arrogant people cross roads.

Click on these links to read the entire posts.  Be sure to laugh at yourself when you find your theological position!  In looking for a chicken picture, I found posts here and here which provide various answers to the classic question

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The science, math, and physics of sound and music

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Although I cannot fully appreciate all that they are talking about in the following video, how beautiful the creation of God–what order, compatibility, what complexity! Originally found the video here

May each of us learn to be present in the moment and embrace the wonder and mystery which surrounds us daily!

Personal photo from Seattle

A couple of quotes from David Benner’s Soulful Spirituality

  • “Reason and wonder are not mutually exclusive—just distinct. In fact, we can quite easily use both faculties to encounter the world and, by so doing, know it in ways that neither alone makes possible. Whatever we approach on the basis of reason we attempt to tame and exploit, making it conform to our concepts and control.”
  • “If we retain this radical capacity for amazement, we may be able to sidestep the impulse to control what we encounter and instead submit to the truly amazing and adjust our concepts to it.”
  • “Wonder will only emerge in the presence of reverence. If nothing is sacred, nothing worthy of reverence, then nothing will evoke wonder. This is the plight of the cynic. Cynicism is the way we try to minimize the loss of wonder and idealism. It is the mask we hide behind when we choose to despise the simple and wondrous. Wonder may yet exist, but cynics will usually feel too vulnerable to dare to embrace it. Wonder demands openness, and that openness is simply too threatening for those who are cynical.”
  • “The great mysteries of life—love, suffering, evil, death, beauty—do not need to be figured out in order to be engaged. But they must be befriended if the encounter is to be nurturing to spirit and soul. Any other attitude lacks the hospitality that transforms mystery from being the enemy to being a welcome companion on our human journey.”
  • “The gift of wonder begins with the awakening of awareness. Our part is then simply being open to seeing the ordinary in a new light—through childlike eyes of wonder.”
  • “Wonder is more a matter of heart-pondering than mind-thinking. It is rumination that leaves space for mystery, confusion, fear, uncertainty, awe, paradox, and questions.”

Check out this time lapse video to be even more awed by the wonder of creation

For the foodies, global nomads and life long learners

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Thanks to Tyler Stanton for the link to the following videos

For the foodies in my life

For my fellow global nomads

And finally, for all of us committed to life long learning!

Music for reflection by Daniel Martin Moore

July 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Here are a couple of songs by Daniel Martin Moore that I have enjoyed this year.  Best listened to when you can be in a quiet place and have some time for reflection.

O My Soul

In the Cool of the Day

Celebration of my birthday in song

May 2, 2011 Leave a comment

After 56 years, I have learned a lot:

The nature of the problem: me

God, awake my soul!

Not guilty anymore!

Because I dance with the melody of your love

Music from around the world

April 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Posted this two years ago but after listening to these two music videos today, they are so good that they deserve another post for anyone who may have missed them. Enjoy Bono (on war) and other less famous but equally talented musicians!  Playing for change are always adding new videos–check them out here

A couple of early and favorite songs from playing for change.  Great fun!!

Why the cross? We Sing “Jesus”

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

the burden the release by kathy hastings

Following are the lyrics to “We sing Jesus,” written by a former OMF missionary, Frank Houghton. Song is based upon 2 Cor 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Listen and download David Ward singing the song here. 

Paintings are from The Vancouver Art Project II.  Check them out.

Off to a contemplative (read silent) Lenten retreat tomorrow near a volcano that is threatening to blow up.  No internet until Sunday evening. Have a great Easter all.

Here are Houghton’s lyrics:

the longing the love by kathy hastings

You Who were rich beyond all splendor,
All for love’s sake became so poor;
Thrones for a manger You surrendered,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.

Chorus:
So we sing, “Jesus!”–
You humbled Yourself to death on a cross.
We sing, “Jesus!”–
Come for love’s sake to rescue us.

You Who were God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake became a man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heav’nward by God’s eternal plan.

the journey the destination by kathy hastings

You Who are love beyond all telling,
Savior and King, we worship You.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Our minds and hearts, we pray, renew.

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Texans, Hillbillies and Missionaries

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Personal freedom by Tomaz Ovcak

What is the difference between a Texan, a hillbilly, and a missionary?

  • A Texan anywhere in the world is still a Texan.
  • There are hillbillies everywhere, but in Canada they are called Noufies.  In Oklahoma, we called them Okies.  They are the same everywhere but they have regional names.
  • Missionaries are people who, when they are in Africa are from America, and when they are in America they are from Africa.

Donald M. Joy quoting Pastor Dan Wayman. on p. 144 of The Family in Mission in “Structural Developmental Strengths of Adult MKs”

To be honest, the first time I read this, I didn’t like this joke. It made me sad and mad at the same time.  It didn’t seem fair and it seemed to be making fun of missionaries.  And making fun of hillbillies, Noufies and Okies–but that part didn’t bother me.  As I read it now six months later, the sting is gone a bit and I realize that the joke does have a point. Missionaries may feel homeless at times but heaven is our true home and the world is our playground.  Jesus offers much for those who have gone out for His sake and for the sake of the gospel (see Mark 10:29-30).  Although we get confused at times about where we belong here on earth, we always remain clear about where we are headed!

A dream Jesus did not have

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I think it is safe to say that Jesus would never have imagined much less dreamed about how his name is being marketed today!

designer-jesus by David Haywood at nakedpastor.com

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The Bible is not about you

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

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Nthng nw abt txt msg

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

For those who moan about the damage text messaging is doing to the English language, it might be good for them to read Elegy to the Memory of Miss Emily Kay, written in 1828!!

Following are four verses that Ben Zimmer encrypted (he translated all 9 verses) for those who have refused to join in the text message world.  For fellow text messengers, you probably would have figured it out on your own.  Found this on visual thesaurus, a great subscription website that I use every week.

Sad nymphs of UL, U have much to cry for,
Sad nymphs of Ewell, you have much to cry for,

Sweet MLE K U never more shall C!
Sweet Emily Kay you never more shall see!

O SX maids! come hither, and VU,
O Essex maids! come hither, and view,

With tearful I this MT LEG.
With tearful eye this empty elegy.

Without XS she did XL alway—
Without excess she did excel alway—

Ah me! it truly vexes 1 2 C
Ah me! it truly vexes one to see

How soon so DR a creature may DK,
How soon so dear a creature may decay,

And only leave behind XUVE!
And only leave behind exuviae1!

Whate’er 1 0 to do she did discharge,
Whate’er one ought to do she did discharge,

So that an NME it might NDR:—
So that an enemy it might endear:—

Then Y an SA write ? then why N ?
Then why an essay write? then why enlarge2?

Or with my briny tears her BR BDU?
Or with my briny tears her bier bedew?

When her Piano-40 she did press,
When her Piano-forte she did press,

Such heavenly sounds did MN8, that she,
Such heavenly sounds did emanate, that she,

Knowing her Q, soon 1 U 2 confess
Knowing her cue, soon won you to confess

Her XLNC in an XTC.
Her excellency in an ecstasy.

Music from the crevasses of the soul

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Is that music Christian? Secular? Authentic? Does it matter? Hmmm

Picture from Wikipedia

I recently (May 2010) discovered the music of Mumford and Sons, a folk/bluegrass group from London.  What first attracted me was the great music and outstanding use of the banjo–they are fun.  But as I have begun listening to the lyrics, I keep adding more of their music to my collection.  Some of you will likely be offended by at least one of their songs.  As Relevant magazine said about their music, Mumford and Sons sing about “doubt,” their songs “question or confuse” and their songs “speak about God in a way we don’t always hear,” Their music expresses “authentic feelings of spirituality.”

“The feeling of not being clean enough and asking for the truth is a notion that is often too close to home for some Christians—both new and old. But it exists, and is often ignored—particularly between the parallel lines of contemporary worship music. And if we ignore that which aches inside of us, where will we be with our God?

With all the doubt, the longing, the uncleanness—all the things we believe Christ can conquer—what do we do when we’re still frustrated?”

Ok, they do use profanity in Little Lion Man as they describe someone regretting that they “messed” up. As shocking as that was the first time I heard it, that is not the reason I like their music.  I am aware that some are offended (my wife) and I need to be sensitive that they may not want to hear such words (put on headphones!).  But these guys appear to be reaching an audience out there that other christian music does not touch.  Does that justify their language?  I guess you need to decide for yourself. Liz Rigs writes (again from Relevant Magazine)

I’m not saying we bring profanity into the church, or that we all express our frustrations with faith using swear words. Rather, we can take a look at how a moment such as this can be so deeply rooted in a relationship with Christ. And isn’t that how our relationship with God works sometimes? One second we feel the need to curse, to shout out in frustration and confusion and plea for insight or answers, and the next second we praise, or maybe we glimpse a moment of understanding and truth. And yet, most of the songs we sing—out of the hymn book or the WOW worship mix—don’t address a lot of the feelings we inevitably come across in our relationship with God.

Here are the words from one of my favorites, Roll Away Your Stone.  I found the lyrics on a lyrics site–don’t remember which one and they had reversed the meaning in two lines (in blue) by adding  “not.”  A Christian understands the struggle about which they sing.  No easy solutions, it does not always work but I keep on trusting!  A number of their songs are out there on youtube if you want to try them out.

Roll away your stone I will roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I am afraid of what I will discover inside

You told me that I would find a home
Beneath the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think
Yet it dominates the things I see

It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say ‘That’s exactly how this grace thing works’
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with every start

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think
And yet it dominates the things I see (x2)

Stars hide your fires
For these here are my desires
And I will give them up to you this time around
And so I will be found
With my stake stuck in the ground
Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul (x2)

Teaching my son to crawl

July 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Cricket by simon nekdo.jpg

Do you know how I taught my son to crawl?  Not be telling him to crawl!  First, I tried crawling so he would follow me.  He would wiggle and rock back and forth, wanting to follow but unable to launch himself forward.

At the time, during the sweltering heat of a Dallas summer, we had been invaded by many unloved crickets.  After gently apprehending one of our visitors, I strategically posed one of the pulsating creatures mere inches beyond the reach of my son’s trembling fingers. Fascinated as the cricket skipped away, my son’s arms and legs discovered a rhythm previously unknown and off my son set in pursuit of what would soon become his prey.

Andrew had began his crawl towards becoming the man of whom I am proud today.

Praise coming from an unexpected place

May 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Words fail me after watching this awesome video! in which Carlos Whittaker sings God of Second Chances

Here is a post on Ragmuffin Soul about what happened that day and about the theme of asking God to save us from these comforts.

Who is talking about LOST and where?

May 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I must admit that I can’t answer WHY people are talking about Lost!

Since LOST concludes its six year run tomorrow night, I wondered, “Who is talking (by talking, I mean Twitter Tweets) about LOST the most today?” (data as of May 22, 2010) The talk about LOST is picking up in intensity (82% more today than a month ago).

  • 58% are men and 42% women
  • 35-44 are the biggest age group (16/2%), followed closely by 45-54 (15.9%)  and 25-34 (15.3%) groups
  • Hawaii (7.6%) and North Dakota (3.5%) lead the U.S.

Granted this is a search on Twitter for the people that are using the word lost and not all of these may be referring to the tv show. Perhaps more people get lost in Hawaii and North Dakota than in other States?  No offense intended!

Where did I get this data?  From the Lexicalist Website (a demographic dictionary of modern american english)

I Read about Lexicalist from the Visual Thesaurus Website, which I have subscribed to for a couple of months (great for writers)  The following comes from a guest post by David Bamman on the languagelog blog if you want to read about how and why he is running Lexicalist.

The goal of the Lexicalist project is to develop a dictionary that depicts, in real time, the changing demographics of English in the United States, a dictionary that supplements the fundamental meaning of a word or phrase with the current cultural backdrop that’s informing its use today.

What did Bamman discover about Twitter?

  • Twitter is “the language of how millions of people across the world talk to their friends.”
  • Twitter is colloquial
  • As of April 2010, Twitter had approximately 106M registered users
  • Twitter is a rich data source for inducing the demographics of that language community.
  • Geographic information embedded in each tweet allows us to map language use across the US
  • He throws away all tweets where we aren’t over 99% sure of the physical location
  • One can map the usage of words and phrases across the US by normalizing each word’s count by the volume of total data coming out of each state. Comparing these resulting ratios allows us to get a demographic picture of word use across the US.
  • The data allows us to detect regionalisms in slang as well.
  • Age and gender data can be approximated on a large scale using common demographic indicators such as the user’s first name
  • How do they do this? “Compute a probability distribution for the entire age range between 12 and 75 and increment the weight count of each word according to this distribution.”
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To attend or not to attend (church)

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment
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