Archive for March, 2008

The weather is getting rough in the Southeast United States tonight. CNN reported 23 deaths in the Tennessee and Arkansas area. The Nashville/Murfreesboro area is under a tornado watch. It started about an hour ago and so far so good (five more to go). Earlier today Memphis and Jackson got hit pretty hard. Classes at Jackson’s Union University have been canceled for two weeks due to all of the damage done. CNN said that the university was the hardest hit of all the areas the storm touched down.

So I am sitting in my living room in Murfreesboro watching TV and writing some music. My roommate is asleep so I am having to be kind of quiet. It is 1:51 a.m. I have to be at the church tomorrow at 9ish. I should be asleep. I am enthralled by this storm though and I am working towards putting the theme of storms and weather into a song that I am currently working on. Weather is a powerful thing that I do not pay attention to enough. It can determine your mood and your activities. The damage at Union University is an example of this. Hurricane Katrina is an example of this. I am sure that there are plenty of other examples of severe weather throughout history that changed people plans. I bet the people that died today did not plan on being victim to a tornado. I am sure the 9 students trapped in Union University did not plan on being stuck at school all day.

The Bible talks about a pretty large storm in the book of Genesis chapter 7:

“11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were spread. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.”

Rain. Everywhere.

“19 Now the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward and the mountains were covered.”

1 cubit is equal to about 18 inches. So the water at this point was standing about 22.5 feet about the surface of the earth.

“21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.”

That is a pretty tough storm. It makes the one that is happening outside my window right now seem pretty weak. I bet those people back then weren’t expecting to die by the “hand” of a flash flood. Weather has a way of changing us. I felt like the weather tonight was orchestrated by God to get my attention. To be thankful for life when life was being taken close by. To know that He is God and He is all powerful and He orchestrates all things. I believe storms are like the earth and its elements crying out to God. As if the storm was a worship leader. The lighting and thunder cracking and booming and shouting out praise. The rain symbolic of washing away sin or God showering His presence, His glory, and His mercy and grace on us. The wind blowing God’s spirit and refreshing everything it touches a fresh touch from Him.

These are just things i think about during storms. They help me gain perspective into how BIG God is.

Look at the earth as a worship leader. Look at the proof that God exists. Be encouraged and know that God is in control of everything, including You!

I will end with this:

“When the storm is raging all around me,
You are the peace that calms me troubled sea.
When the cares of this world darken my day,
You are the light that shines and shows me the way.

O the beauty of Your Majesty,
On the cross You showed Your love for me.

Beautiful Lord, awesome and mighty,
I’m captured by this love I see.
Beautiful Lord, tender and holy,
Your mercy brings me to my knees.

It’s Your mercy that has made me free, Beautiful Lord.”

-Leeland “Beautiful Lord”

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Tonight I led worship at FBCSmyrna, Tennessee like i have been doing every Wednesday since I began interning there (about 1 month). Normally the talk for the second service is done by David McCaman who is quickly becoming a very influential person and overall close friend. But tonight David passed the mic on to a 15 year old kid. I cannot even remember this guy’s name. David prefaced by saying that what’s-his-name had accepted a call to full time vocational ministry as a communicator at a summer camp a while back, and that he was going to let him teach the lesson that night. I commend the kid. There was in abundance of 300 people there. I would say that a lot of 30 something year old speakers have not spoken to that many people, especially on their first time.

Anyways, the first thing out of the kid’s mouth is “what’s up guys?” followed by a murmur from the crowd. He follows with “how ya doin’?” Murmur. I completely called it. In my mind I knew he would say that first. At this point all that I could think about was that it was about 7:30 and I had not eaten at all. I had already planned on running down the street to the McDonald’s to avoid starvation and I now knew that I wouldn’t really have to miss anything since I probably not get much out of the message from this kid.

Mistaken I was.

As I am preparing to leave I hear him saying something about an ING commercial. Many of you have probably seen this commercial. I think that I have seen it 94 times? Yea. It shows a guy about to cross the street and then a woman grabs his arm to keep him from walking into a car, and then it goes on to show various scenes of people performing what many call “random acts of kindness.” So since I have seen this commercial 94-ish times I decided to stay another minute and see what he was going to say about it. He went on to say some other things that I cannot quote simply because I was replaying the commercial in my head and inadvertently tuned him out. I caught back up with him when he read this:

“The first of all of the commandments is: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment…” -Mark 12:29-30

(P.S. Who has not heard that? In spite of that I am sure you would agree it’s important. Note the parallel structure for emphasis.)

“…And the second, like it (the 1st; v. 29-30) is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Mark 12:31

So, all of that was in red. Jesus said it.

My mind begins to wonder again as I walk out of the room and towards my car. I end up back at the commercial. A detail that I noticed when I saw the commercial the first time that I believe was more important that the simple fact of people displaying those acts of kindness was the fact that at the end of every scene there was a person across the street or in a car driving by or in some other sort of position watching that event unfold. i would argue that the individual that saw that felt something at that point. Maybe a tug on his or her heart to share that same love.

POINT: LOVE CAN SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE. As Christians we carry a message of hope and love in our hearts. Or we should. Christ in us is not bondage or hate or separation or judgment. Christ in us freedom and love and community and hope! Christ was the ultimate lover! He hung out with the sinners, the outcasts, and the lame. Jesus laid down his perfect life for us to save us from eternal separation from the God who created us. I chose not to say “to save us from Hell” there because when I think of non-Christians dying I do not think of them burning in Hell. That is not to say that I do not believe that Hell is a real place, but I believe the overall feeling of separation from the God who loves you enough that he died for you will torment you more than anything. Especially knowing that you had the opportunity to accept that free gift of love and rejected it.

So my question I spoke of in the beginning… here it is:


Christian translates to “little Christ.” Being “little Christs” WHY don’t we show the love our counterpart so easily showed? The church is the body of Christ for our time here. We are the messengers! The world looks at us and sees what Christ is supposed to look like but I bet HE would not recognize us. He would say, “I do not look like that. Where is your LOVE?”

To use the commercial one more time… Jesus’ love for us is not like the woman that grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him back onto the sidewalk to keep from getting hit by the car. It would be like the woman (Jesus) stepping in front of the man who was about to get hit so that she got hit and not him. She sacrificed her life for his. Difference? Yes.

Jesus gained nothing by dying. We gained everything from His death.

Jesus loves people with an undying love. His love lives on today because he rose from the grave. We carry Christ along with His love in our hearts. LET IT OUT!

I am making a commitment to love. To love God. To love people. To change the way I think. TO CHANGE MY HEART. So that people can see what God is supposed to look like.

Thank you what’s-his-name.

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