Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Hi everyone.

So, I've written for a long time,. . . but never "blogged". So, here goes. I"m not promising a consistent frequency, but I will update regularly as random thoughts come.

I am truly a random person, my wife does not understand me after 8 + great years of marriage, and my kids are in the same boat. :) So, my blogging will reflect that. I"m sure you'll notice themes, because I'm a pretty simple person. Random, yet simple. . . .

Comments of any kind are welcome. I am not a good moderator, though. . so I'll just tell you what I think. . .I am not very p.c. But, I like to 'walk a mile' in other's shoes. So, I'll see your point. . . and I'll give you mine.

If you'd like to contact me offline. . . .it's

Good to be here!


Some thoughts on the American Idol/Shout to the Lord mashup. . . .

Some thoughts on the American Idol/Shout to the Lord mashup. . . .

1) Is it okay that they would sing a Christian/worship song on American Idol or any t.v. show?


2) Is it good for the kingdom/evangelism/seeking folks that they would do this?

Probably, . . only God knows that. Here's a verse to guide us on this one. . . .

Philippians 1:15-19 (New International Version)
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[a] 18But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
So, yes. . . . I"m glad that "Christ was preached" (sort of) regardless of all of the surroundings. I really am. And, perhaps for some folks it will spark an interest in God that they didn't have before after hearing that song.

3) Was it a big deal that they left out "Jesus" during the first show?

Well, . . . . . they're not professing to be Christians, so they can do whatever they want. I'm sure it was put back in on night #2 because a) someone from Hillsongs publishing called up and wanted things put right b) many churchgoers called in to express a complaint. The folks in t.v. are bound by public opinion. . . . . it's actually how they get paid, so it got changed. That was a good thing! so. . . . .the answer is, no.

4) So, Aaron,. . . .what's your stupid problem???????

I'm glad you asked, Aaron. . . . . :) I don't have disdain or hate for A.I. or the performers,. . . it was a great night! That being said, . . . here goes.

a) It matters to me not only what is sung, but who sings it and in what spirit it is sung.

Let me ask you this. . . .would it matter to you if Ozzy Osbourne got on stage and sang "O praise Him" instead of David Crowder?
In one sense, no. . . it's just a song. In another sense. . . the song loses it's meaning depending on who's mouth is singing it. Should we care? Well, if we think it matters that we should mean what we say/sing? then, yes. I told some of you guys last night after the "lyrical correction" :) that it didn't matter to me what lyrics were sung, if they didn't mean it. It might be similar to how some of us felt when Mandy Moore (she, of the mickey mouse club) covered "blowin in the wind" by Bob Dylan (for instance). The song loses/gains meaning sometimes, depending on the performer.

For me, the larger lyrical issues pertain to all of those folks singing those lyrics of which they know nothing about (I'm generalizing, I know, some of these folks are following God). "Tower of refuge and strength". . . . "Power and majesty praise to the King" "nothing compares to the promise I have in You". Those are precious truths of the word. I'm glad they were communicated. . . . . but, the performance cheapened them a bit for me.

This is a great reminder for those of us on worship teams, that authenticiy is not an option. Even if we don't "feel" 100% connected to God every weekend that we lead. . . . it's important that we're authentically seeking Him (a reality that He, himself brings about, and we should pray for). It's important that our motives are for Him and His Glory.

b) As the CCM sub-culture collapses, art from a Christian perspective will be folded into culture at large, this is good, . . . .as long as the Church retains her distinctiveness from the World.

This isn't; us vs. them; But, as the church, we are a people called out, Holy, set apart for God. So, it's important that we're clear about what we believe, and in love, share our faith, hope, and Love.

c) As a songwriter for the church, I can feel the excitement when our songs reach a wider audience. However, it's also important that we realize there's something biblical/unique/special that happens when God's church sings to Him together, for one purpose. . . . .

As part "b" above continues to take shape. . . . it's not inconceivable to me that one day, the Church's gathering would be de-valued to the point that we would just "watch American Idol with the kids, they sing the same songs. . . . why should we go to church?". It actually happens already, as some church services are not attempting to speak truth to people and challenge them to a deeper relationship with God (through Word and Song), but are trying to just make their services feel like the world.

So, I'm going to remain in the middle on this one. . . . in tension. I really love the fact that folks were exposed to those scriptural truths. It's great, that for one night,. . .the mission of the Church, and the mission of American Idol were partially aligned

There was, however, something that didn't feel right about the way it was done, and the cliche/pigeon-holed "church" moment that they were trying to create to bring in the "Christian audience" to their show.

Now, have churches been guilty of "creating these moments" where you feel a bit manipulated? Yes, . . .and I didn't like it then either :) .

Let's close with this scripture.

God bless,


Psalm 71

16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone.

17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.

18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.

19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like you?

20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.

21 You will increase my honor
and comfort me once again.

22 I will praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praise to you with the lyre
O Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to you—
I, whom you have redeemed.

24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
all day long,
for those who wanted to harm me
have been put to shame and confusion.

A great encouragement from John Piper. . . . . .

A great encouragement from John Piper. . . . . .

Nothing Stands Against Christ
February 28, 2008 | By: John Piper

What about those hungry fellows who promised not to eat till they ambushed Paul?

We read about them in Acts 23:12, “When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.” It didn’t work. Why? Because a string of unlikely events happened.

A boy over heard the plot.
The boy was the son of Paul’s sister.
The boy had the courage to go to the Roman centurion guarding Paul.
The centurion took him seriously and brought him to the Tribune.
The Tribune believed him and prepared “two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen” to take Paul to safety.
Highly unlikely. Strange. But that’s what happened.

What had the hungry men lying in ambush missed? They failed to reckon with what happened to Paul just before they made their plot. The Lord appeared to Paul in prison and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified to the facts about me in Jerusalem, so you must testify also in Rome” (Acts 23:11).

Christ said Paul was going to Rome. And that was that. No ambush can stand against the promise of Christ. Until he got to Rome, Paul was immortal. There was a final testimony to be given. And Christ would see to it that Paul would give it.

You too have final testimony to give. And you are immortal until you give it.

The Philippians Road

Hi all,
At Calvary, we just came through a series, "Beyond Blue", where we dealt with grief, loss, and God's help to us in those times. I know that there are a lot of us who, although we don’t have any major crises, do have a lot of stress in our life and who struggle in the regular Monday-Friday of our lives.

Many of us turn to other methods to calm our stress, such as t.v., food, drink, money, and prescription drugs. None of these are “wrong” in themselves and God has provided us with means to help us through these times.

I felt, though, like perhaps we turn to those things first, instead of God, our “Prince of Peace”. The things listed above, . .as well as many others. . . .can become harmful when we rely on them to bring us comfort instead of Christ. Jesus gives us good gifts to be enjoyed,. . . . but not solely relied upon. So, I looked in the Word for some places where we can be ministered to by God, and His word. Hopefully, this will free us up to enjoy the parts of God’s creation listed above, and not elevate them to the status of dependency or addiction. . (and none of those things are pleasant when you’re dependant on them ) And, most importantly, these verses will hopefully lead us to Christ who asks us to “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matt. 11:28

Some of you may have heard of “The Romans Road” which is a way of going through the book of Romans as you lead someone to Christ for the first time. I’ve been reading Philippians lately, and thought I would put together “The Philippians road to conquering stress”. Some of these verses would be good to memorize. Perhaps, some of them, to put on your bathroom mirror, or on your speedometer. The Word of Christ is active in our lives and as we walk in Faith we should return to the source of our comfort and strength, our Savior Jesus, . . through His Word.

These questions and statements are followed by a passage from Philippians. Sometimes the passage will answer the question,. . .other times it will help us know that Christ knows what we go through, saw it coming, and even appointed it for our spiritual growth and the freedom of our hearts. So, off we go.

“The Philippians Road to Conquering Stress”

1) Why am I stressed?

a) For the sake of Christ, persecution
(perhaps family looks down on you for your faith; or perhaps you are making a tough financial decision because of your convictions which makes life a little tougher)
Phillipians 1:29
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for His sake.

b) Issues from my past
Phillipians 3:13
Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

c) Present circumstances
Phillipians 4:11-13
Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to get along with humble means, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

We can be strong in faith in any of these situations.

2) What should I do to counteract stress?

a) Be committed to seeing the Grace of God in many circumstances
(it’s so easy to see the 2 things that went wrong instead of the 10 things(or 10,000) that God did for you today)
Phillipians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your patience.

b) Pray for help
Phillipians 4:6-7
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3) What can I replace stress with?
(it’s important to not just try and avoid stress with things (mentioned above) but to replace your stress with new thoughts)
Phillipians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whtatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.