In the fifth grade I started playing the trumpet in the school band. Well, that’s not entirely true. In the fifth grade I started making awful, brassy noises that could only loosely be called “playing.” But, I learned about musical notation, which fingers to push down, tuning, breathing, and all the fundamentals needed to actually play a trumpet. It was often boring and time-consuming–and sometimes painful (you don’t know what buzzing your lips together in a small brass bowl can do to you until you have tried to do it for an hour straight). Continue reading
I was four when the Challenger space shuttle exploded during launch. I vaguely remember hearing the news. I don’t remember hearing Reagan’s speech.
I wasn’t even close to being born in the Apollo 11 era, or even during the Apollo 13 crisis. I saw the movie, though.
I do, of course, remember the Columbia tragedy eight years ago, though I am not sure if I watched George W.’s address. Right now, I am watching Discovery as it sits on the runway following a successful mission and landing, and all the support trucks and vans lining up to remove the crew from their vessel. Continue reading
Music is important to God. This idea is not more clear than in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16:
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart…
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
David had a heart for his God. So, when David realized that he lived in a beautiful palace while God’s house was a tent, he felt guilty. He wanted to build God a proper house. And, God said, “Okay. But, you won’t build it. Your son will.”
In 1Chronicles 25, David arranges 4,000 of the Levites into singers and musicians to serve as a temple choir. This is a little surprising because in all of the instructions about worship in the tabernacle, God gave no legislation concerning musical worship.
God kept David in the loop, though. Continue reading
I love music. I love to sing. I always have.
I particularly enjoy singing with other Christians. I love the harmonies and the encouragement. I love worshiping God in song.
One of my favorite worship songs is an old hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. I am especially fond of the first verse:
Come Thou Fount of ev’ry blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise.
It’s such a majestic thought, that God’s “streams of mercy” that never end call on me to worship Him with “songs of loudest praise.” Continue reading
There is a man in Pennsylvania who built a lighted, 24-foot cross on his front lawn as a public display of his belief in Jesus Christ. And, not surprisingly, some of the neighbors want him to take it down.
This same man in Pennsylvania was also told by the local borough council that he was lacking the proper building permit to raise the structure.
He is apparently now seeking that permit.
But, he has stated that he will not take down the cross, no matter what the outcome of his permit application. Continue reading
Richard Beck, a professor and experimental psychologist at Abilene Christian University, offered some interesting and personally challenging insights about online social networking in a recent blog article. You can read his article by clicking here (warning: some of you may find the article dangerously boring…but I am a nerd, so I enjoyed it).
To sum up, the subject Beck was addressing was the impact of Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media on social activism. In other words, does Twitter help organize efforts to feed the poor and correct other social injustices, or does it only serve as an outlet to vent frustrations over injustices without providing the connections and motivations necessary to fuel the real, difficult work of actually feeding the poor? Will Twitter move people to work on the problems, or just talk about them? Continue reading
Today I joined a group of Christian men, mostly preachers and other church leaders, for lunch, conversation, and some spiritual encouragement. Lunch was good. (just kidding Jake and Mike.)
Anyway, my friend and techno-neanderthal Jake King had some thoughts to share with the group about men and spirituality. He had been reading a book called “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” Jake shared some information about the disparity between male and female church attendance (there are 13 million more women in American churches than men). He discussed the trend in church life to have more women-oriented events than men-oriented events: ladies’ Bible classes, ladies’ brunches, ladies’ days, women’s retreats versus the occasional men’s retreat or men’s breakfast. He also shared some thoughts from the book about why this might be the case and what we, as Christians and/or church leaders, might be able to do to help the problem. Continue reading
So, salvation by faith is a wonderfully free gift from God that we cannot earn. It is not based on how well we keep or understand God’s laws, but on our desire to serve Him, and our trust in His ability. “God looks on the heart,” just as He told Samuel thousands of years ago.
It would still be nice to have that list, to know exactly what I need to do to be saved. Actually, when wanting a list it is more likely that what I am really looking for is how little I can do to be saved. That’s probably one major reason that a list is not the point.
However, Jesus spoke to us regarding salvation on a human, list-seeking, law-keeping level. He gave us a list. Continue reading