Archives For Worship

Andrea di Lione, “Adoration of the Golden Calf”

Andrea di Lione, “Adoration of the Golden Calf”

Some studies show that we spend 1 – 2 years of our lives waiting in line. Think traffic, grocery stores, on hold with Comcast, etc…

This doesn’t count the time we spend waiting for life to resolve, waiting for our leaders to “get with it”, and waiting for God to bring change to our lives.

Everyone would agree that waiting is necessary, but when waiting turns to impatience interesting things can happen.

I was reading the other day of what happened to the children of Israel as they were at Mt. Sinai waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain. They had already been miraculously delivered from the Egyptians, sustained in their desert wanderings, and accompanied by clouds and fire tornados. You know…normal stuff. But when Moses didn’t come down soon enough from the mountain, bad things happened.

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. – Exodus 32:1

Yikes. It was when their waiting turned into impatience, they decided it would be best to fashion a golden calf who would be their new God to lead them forward. On one hand, it sounds ridiculous to think of creating and worshipping a cow made out of jewelry and such. However, I don’t think it was just the cow they were worshipping. Their real hero that day was being able to elevate something they could see, something they could touch, something that could keep them moving forward, something that could visibly produce results….NOW.

I can look at my own life and see the places where my waiting has turned to impatience.
Places where God hasn’t spoken loud enough or moved fast enough.
Places where I’ve grown discontent in waiting for my leaders to show up and tell me what to do.
Places where I’ve chosen to fashion a new future in my own hands.

May we become a people who are faithful in the delays and worshipful in the waiting.

What about you?  How do you handle moments of waiting?

 

Hey there!

Since 2014 is just about in the can, I thought I’d get at least one post up here for this calendar year!

Recently, as I’ve walked through a lot of personal transition, my creative energy has been focused more in the world of speaking and teaching in the Vinelife community.  I anticipate that this blog will become more of a hybrid space for me to share and expand on some of the same content and insights.

With that said, we recently jumped into a new Advent series called “Birthing the Miraculous.”  The idea was inspired by Heidi Baker’s memoir of the same title.  It’s not so much about childbirth, nor is it simply about miracles.  In short, it’s about the process by which God accomplishes great and supernatural things in us and through us.

As we explore the story of the virgin Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel detailed in Luke 1:28, there are so many important observations that we can be shaped by. Unfortunately, I don’t have the audio from Pt. 1, but you can listen to Pt. 2 here.

Also, here are 4 quotes from the last couple weeks.  Feel free to share!

Instagram_w1_1 Instagram_w1_2 Instagram_w2_1 Instagram_w2_2

Resound: One Night

April 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’m excited for this upcoming Resound: One Night coming on Friday, May 3rd.  We’ll be joined by friends Sean Feucht and Kristene DiMarco as we gather worshippers from all across the Front Range.

OneNight_Header

Last year, I purchased Sean Feucht’s album “Songs For Nations” and it quickly became one of my favorite soundtracks for the year.  Though some of the musical stylings were a stretch for me, so many of the songs hit me in a deep place.  Each song on the album was written for a different nation.  Every place Sean would travel, the Lord would give words to sing back to that country.

Continue Reading…

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

I’ve been a little quiet this week while preparing for Good Friday and Easter services at Vinelife.

Today is Good Friday and I’m struck by the idea that the Good News never gets old.  Every morning, this News is there waiting for a moment to humble us with love and electrify us with joy.  Our awareness of this News ebbs and flows, yet it remains constant in the trials and the triumphs.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

As you take time today to reflect on Jesus and the cross, here are a couple great worship videos created by some dear friends of mine.

The first is by Anthony Skinner from Franklin, TN.  It’s a visual montage set to one of his live performances.   Anthony writes, “It was inspired by the last weeks of a dear friend’s life. I wanted to create a soundscape for my beloved friend to be swallowed up in the beauty of her salvation through Christ.”

It’s a bit longer, but beautiful all the way through.  You can download the video here.

The second video is a song called “You Cover Me” written by Asher Seevinck from Loud Harp.  This guy bleeds tone and fights for the perfect melody. You’ll like this one…

The following is a guest post by a dear friend of mine, Ramin Razavi.  Ramin is one of my favorite teachers on the planet, has the coolest clothes, and is a genuine man of God. I’d highly suggest you follow @RaminRazavi on Twitter for regular nuggets of living and learning.

Have you ever slept under the stars? Not just “outside” but really under the stars. No tent, just you and what NASA believes to be 100 billion of the nearest celestial bodies that make up our galactic neighborhood called the Milky Way. If you are aiming to sleep under the stars I’d recommend starting in Moab. The clear desert sky makes the interstellar lights seem just an arms length away.

Photo by WiserBailey, Creative Commons.

Photo by WiserBailey, Creative Commons.

That is where I started, almost. Alex and I had just ridden the White Rim trail: 108 miles, 9 hours, 3 liters of water, 11 energy gels, 5 nectarines, and 3 peanut toffee Cliff Bars later we were done. We had gone big and although we had forgotten our map in the truck, we navigated through the painted landscapes of Canyon Lands National Park. We were dancing with a creation that made us feel very, very small.

It was a thrilling adventure and one we shared with our friends. Our expedition also included Donnie, David and Nko who had climbed the sheer rock face of Castleton tower. Together, with two hang glider pilots, we had played hard in the desert and were ready to eat the bubbling red chili that simmered slowly over the glowing fire. After trading tales, inhaling steaming chili and enjoying the refreshment of cold drinks we were ready to sleep.

When it came time for bed each of us went our own way. Alex back to his black Toyota with the ever faithful adventure dog Molly. Me to my 1995 red 4runner and the glider pilots back to their marvelous blue tent. Our alpine oriented friends simply rolled out their pads and zipped up their bags with only the sky as a canopy above them.

As I willed my aching body into the back of my 4runner, Donnie kindly asked me why I didn’t sleep outside. “Mountain lions and snakes,” I mumbled as I slid into the relative safety of my truck. He smiled knowingly, the kind of smile you get from a brother of 10 years who knows you’re just plain scared. I slept like a rock and awoke to find everyone in tact, no blood splattered remains from a fresh lion kill nor mummified friends poisoned by an angry desert rattlesnake.

They survived. Maybe I’d survive if I slept outside? Since that trip I’ve been to Moab four more times, the closest I got to the stars was through the ripstop nylon walls of my North Face tent. I’m still scared of the lions and snakes. To my credit, I did start one night outside only to feel the creeping suspicion that I was not safe. I crawled back into the protected domain of my 2 lb 4 oz North Face tent, pulled up my zipper (all the way closed) and drifted to sleep.

Safety is a perceived reality isn’t it?

Last time I checked 200 pounds of highly evolved cougar could peel back nylon without much more than a flick of one of his 4 inch long razor sharp claws. I encountered a cougar once near my home in Colorado. Pure power, whisper silent, lightening fast and a stare that will chill you for months.

So what was it about the tent that made me feel safe? I think it’s the walls.

We feel safe when we know the boundaries around us.

Having served as a pastor for ten years now I am realizing that this is how we often function in our relationship with God. Specifically as it pertains to dreaming with God and moving in the creative streams. We are told that we can create and dream as long as we stay within the walls of tradition and keep our offerings accessible to the masses. We are reminded that it will go well for us when we respect boundaries. It is though creativity is accepted as long as when you bring your gift, it works seamlessly within the presumed paradigm of an ecclesiological or theological framework. It is almost as though the message is, “You are free to create, just please don’t crack anything, or anyone, wide open!”

Let’s be honest, safety and captivity aren’t all that different.

Creating and dreaming in this environment never allows us to be fully exposed to God and the infinite beauty and worth of knowing Him. Exposing ourselves to God in honesty is the first step to having our lives shaped by the reality of WHO God really is, not simply who we imagine Him to be. I believe that it is exposure to God, in all of His Mystery and Glory that expands our creative lens enough to see new possibilities, craft fresh expressions and actually become voices, calling out the wonders of God, not merely echoes of what we already see being done.

The prophet Habakkuk was compelled to seek God in this way. He voiced his feelings to God in the middle of a bewildering circumstance. At this time in Israel’s history God was doing something that seemed to make no sense at all. Rather than ducking under the cover of pat answers and bumper sticker theology he dared to boldly voice his questions and complaints to God.

“God you are from eternity aren’t you? God you can’t be serious? Why don’t you do something about this? Why are you silent now?” (Hab.1.12-13)

I don’t think a day passes that many of us don’t carry these same thoughts towards God. Habakkuk just had the guts to voice them.

What is so powerful is that it was in response to those bold questions that God spoke! God really spoke! God revealed Himself in such a profound way that the prophet affirmed the goodness of God in the past, prayed for it to be renewed in His day and wrote these words of transcendent, God exalting worship that have been life to God worshippers for thousands of years:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Hab. 3.17-18)

Habakkuk began where we all begin, with our puzzled prayers and clouded understanding. Habakkuk was willing to stand under the stars, exposed to the reality of God. Before too long, from the lookout tower of his questions, He was given a fresh glimpse of God. God gave his heart strength. God put a new song in his mouth giving voice to all of us, beckoning all of us who would dare to ask these questions to believe that God’s rule will prevail and His love will endure forever.

As Habakkuk asked his big questions he tells us that he braced for the worst. But when God came, God came in Love. He always comes in Love. You can ask Him something today that you don’t know the answer to. Seek him with all your heart FROM your place of questions and uncertainty. Just make sure you have something to write with because His revelation will come. It may seem slow in it’s coming but trust God, what you need is on the way. God will arrive right on time and the experience will give you a fresh revelation to run with. Craft it into a song, a story, a message or a painting. Carry it to the people of God pointing the way back to Him.

In a recent post, I shared about the unfolding story of our friend Thiago Netto in Brazil. Last week, while we was recording his very first album in San Jose, Costa Rica, I was able to catch up with Thiago over Skype. I decided to record the conversation so I can share with you and others who are tracking with this story.

In this video, Thiago speaks thanks everyone who helped bring this dream to life. Also, he offers a word of encouragement to anyone who is still waiting for a dream to become a reality.  Great stuff!

I love a couple things he says…

  • “If God spoke to you, He will make true on His promises.”
  • “[While waiting to see your dreams fulfilled]…Don’t try to help God.  He can do everything.

Scheming to Be Generous

February 5, 2013 — 2 Comments

RE-POST: This entry was from my old blog.  There have been some great updates to this story since then, so I thought modify it and share it again.

Few things in life are as fun as scheming to be generous.  I have to admit, most days I find myself introspective – thinking about MY life, MY ambitions, MY story, etc… It’s easy to do when we live in therapeutic, self-improvement culture.  There is nothing wrong with self-improvement.  But there is a deeper joy found in improving someone else’s life, ambition, & story.

This very week is a continuation of one of those stories.  Here is some context…

Thiago's Sound

In 2011, a group of us went to Brazil to hold a Resound Conference in Rio De Janeiro.  While there, one of the first people we met was a guy named Thiago.  Thiago leads worship at his Church, has a heart of gold, and is one of the kindest people you will ever meet.  One evening he showed us some songs he had written and recorded on his cell phone.  We casually asked when he was going to record them.  He responded “It is my dream, but this will never happen. I do not have the money to allow this to happen.” Continue Reading…

Get Your Song Back

January 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

When we read through the Old Testament, we find the people of God in regular intervals of captivity and freedom. Famine and blessing. Slavery and promise.

Photo by Kevin N. Murphy. Creative Commons

Photo by Kevin N. Murphy. Creative Commons

Whenever the Israelites would be led into exile one of the first things that would happen is they would lose their song. Their song was their blood line. Their song was their own soundtrack of the acts of God passed down to future generations. Their song was the truest expression of who they were.

That’s why every time we read of them in captivity, God brings a promise of deliverance that is connected to the idea of them singing again. The Psalms talk about a new song being put in their mouths. Where there once was mourning, there will be shouts of praise.

Every time they were led into freedom, they had to relearn who they were and how to live. They had to pick up their instruments and find their song again.

In a similar way, we go through seasons where we lose our song.

Sometimes the song is taken from us.
Sometimes the song is muted in the struggle.
Sometimes we sit back and let others do the singing.

Regardless of how it happened, we have to remember the Father’s intention is always to restore our hearts to a place of singing again. And while I believe literal singing is part of our restoration, we should know that our “song” is much more.

When we come alive in Christ and learn to live out of the truest expression of who we were created to be, there is unmistakable sound that goes out. It’s heard by more than us. It’s heard by God and heard by the enemy of our souls.

I love this little passage in the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 30:29–33 (MSG)
“But you will sing, sing through an all-night holy feast! Your hearts will burst with song, make music like the sound of flutes on parade, En route to the mountain of God, on the way to the Rock of Israel. God will sound out in grandiose thunder, display his hammering arm, Furiously angry, showering sparks— cloudburst, storm, hail! Oh yes, at God’s thunder Assyria will cower under the clubbing. Every blow God lands on them with his club is in time to the music of drums and pipes, God in all-out, two-fisted battle, fighting against them.”

God’s plan is to give us our song back. And when we get it back, this passage says that God will club the enemy to the timing of our music. That sounds intense and slightly over the top, but I love the idea that when a new song comes alive in our hearts, God actually fights for us to the rhythm of that song.

So what if that means that
Every song you sing,
Every stroke of the brush
Every release of the shutter
Every click on your keyboard
Every movement of your pen
Every beat of the drum
Every strum of the guitar
Every step in the dance
Every scene of the film
Every nail hammered
Every meal prepared
Every sermon preached
is a crushing blow to the enemy of your soul.

That’s freaking awesome.

It’s time to get your song back.

Sunset in Rio De Janeiro

“It is possible that God says every morning. ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon.  It may not be automatic necessity that makes daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately but has never got tired of making them…The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”

– G.K. Chesterton; Orthodoxy

Could it be that God ‘feels’? Could God be capable of passion? Could God be excited or must He be austere? Are we comfortable with the image of God as Father and nervous about God as Lover (some of us even prefer God as Parent – less a personality, more an ideal). Are we happy to have God be the Creator, but scared to think of Him as being creative? Do we like God being an engineer, but balk at His being an artist? Does His being a logician  comfort us, but His being a poet threaten us? Do we enjoy the glow of God’s light but shade ourselves from the heat of His flames? Does the idea that Jesus tolerated the sinful woman’s anointing of His feet and John resting his head on Jesus’ breast make us squirm, so the thought that Jesus enjoyed this makes us sick? How is it that we can accept Moses saw a bush that burned and was not consumed, yet we doubt that God can love in a rage and never cool?”

Rich Mullins
Excerpt from An Arrow Pointing To Heaven

On Your View of God