Category Archives: Culture

For all the times Switchfoot got it right

I love the band Switchfoot. My high school friends can attest to this. My college peeps would agree. My post-grad compadres would likewise vouch for the validity of my claim.

I can’t count the number of times in my life that a Switchfoot song was the sweet balm of musical understanding I craved in a particular situation.

I can get lost for hours in the vocal stylings of Jon Foreman. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the band numerous times. They are chill Diego-rock dudes.

Like I said. I love Switchfoot.

Their lyrics continually cycle through my mind and I apply them liberally.

Take today, for example. One of my Facebook friends posted a delightfully true article about why Generation Y Yuppies are unhappy. It’s a long read, but it’s a good read, so check it out. Naturally, given what I just said, the word “yuppie” in the title made me think of the Switchfoot song “Happy Is A Yuppie Word.” So, of course, thus commenced a session of listening to Switchfoot.

A few lyrics from “Happy Is A Yuppie Word”:

Lookin for a bridge I can’t burn down

I don’t believe the emptiness

I’m looking for the Kingdom coming now

Everything is meaningless

I want more than simple cash can buy

Happy is a yuppie word

Happy is a yuppie word

Happy is a yuppie word

Happy is a yuppie…

Nothing is sound

Nothing is sound

After enjoying the greatness of that song, my playlist moved on to “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” and “The Blues.” And those are just a few gems on the “Nothing Is Sound” album. My list of stellar Switchfoot tunes includes so many more than these three.

A few lyrics from “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine”:

My heart is darker than these oceans

My heart is frozen underneath

We are crooked souls trying to stay up straight

Dry eyes in the pouring rain well

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways

Hold fast till the break of daylight where

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Oh, Lord, why did You forsake me

Oh, Lord, don’t be far away, away

Storm clouds gathering beside me

Please, Lord, don’t look the other way

I’m a crooked soul trying to stay up straight

Dry eyes in the pouring rain when

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Two scared little runaways

Hold fast till the break of daylight when

The shadow proves the sunshine

The shadow proves the sunshine

Yeah, yeah, shine on me

And lyrics from “The Blues”:

Is this the new year or just another night

Is this the new fear or just another fright

Is this the new tear or just another desperation

Is this finger or just another fist

Is the Kingdom or just a hit and miss

I miss direction most in all this desperation

Is this what they call freedom

Is this what you call pain

Is this what they call discontented fame

It’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

I’m singing this one like a broken piece of glass

For broken hearts and broken noses in the back

Is this the new year or just another desperation

You push until you’re shoving

You bend until you break

Do you stand on the broken fields where your fathers lay

It’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in

Is nothing here worth saving

Is no one here at all

Is there any net left that can break our fall

It’ll be a day like this one when the sky falls down

And the hungry and poor and deserted are found

Are you discontented

Have you been pushing hard

Have you been throwing down this broken house of cards

It’ll be a day like this one when the world caves in

When the world caves in

When the world caves in 

Is there nothing left now

Nothing left to sing

Are there any left who haven’t kissed the enemy

Is this the new year or just another desperation

Does justice ever find you

Do the wicked never lose

Is there any other song to sing besides these blues

And nothing is ok until the world caves in

Until the world caves in

Until the world caves in

God bless the timeless music and the people who make the timeless music that feeds my soul. This post is for all the times Switchfoot got it right. Of course, the music and lyrics referenced on this post belong to Switchfoot. The copyright is theirs.

Love and Basketball: Full Court(ship) Press

I believe in courtship. In love and in life. I wholeheartedly endorse it.

Inquisitive passer-by: “Courtship, huh? Isn’t that an antiquated term for dating, circa Jane Austen?” 

Lindsay the Letter Writer: “Who says old-timey things are bad? Have you not seen Downton Abbey? That stuff’s legit right now.”

Inquisitive passer-by: “Well played, Auntie Quated. Well played.”

If I believe in a living Savior from 2,000 years ago, it makes perfect sense that I’d follow a concept from the 1500s, as well. 😉

Courtship is more than a guided process of a man wooing a woman. It’s also the practice of testing out new things.

I think the 90-day new-hire probationary period is a form of courtship. The employer is checking to see if the employee really is qualified. And the employee is discovering whether or not they fit in at their new job.

We’ve got buyer’s remorse, so you can even court a car.

Or that 60-day money back guarantee. Courting a product.

Basketball

So why’s it so weird that a man would court a woman? What’s wrong with trusted leaders with experience in a marriage relationship guiding people they love through a journey of discovery?

If 50% of marriages allegedly fail, perhaps society should change their pre-marital approach.

Of all the marriages I’ve seen that first went through a courtship, 100% of them have succeeded.

I’m reporting my findings of watching this hypothetical love and basketball game between dating and courtship. The full court pressing in of courtship dominates the casual game plan of dating.

So, I choose courtship. Even if it means I’ve been single for 27 years. Even if both of my younger siblings are in a relationship and I’m not. Because if waiting for the one right man means a better marriage for me later, I’ll wait.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Crappyness

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an epidemic!

Satan–the enemy of our souls–has silenced too many Christians.

I have been a silent one.
I have been convinced that what I have to say does not matter.
I’ve been duped that I have nothing to contribute.

During my season of silencing, I thought I was being reflective and pensive. It was just part of life. I had the liberty to process. It led to a lot of crappyness in the Kingdom.

Satan’s life is throwing me death.
Satan’s liberty is to torment me.
Satan’s fruit is the pursuit of crappyness.

The lie is I have nothing to say. The truth is that I have more to share than ever before. The lie is that my life is inconsequential and not worth mentioning. The truth is I’ve got the Truth in me and He needs to be shared.

My aim is to advance the Great Commission. When I am too silent, I miss the mark. And missing the mark is the definition of sin. If the Holy Spirit has put something in me and I don’t share it, then I’m grieving Him.

What are you doing with your life? Sitting around watching television, trying to solve the world’s problems from your couch?

What liberties are you living for? The liberty to do whatever you want, whenever you want?

Are you in the pursuit of crappyness?

Assess where you are and ask the Lord what you can improve in your life. Ask Him to show you where you’ve been silent. You may be surprised by what you hear.

Counting the Cost of Discipleship

In September of 2009, I started an Immersion Discipleship Training (IDT) program. Now, a year later, I have much to reflect on.

This week, I started my second year of my IDT student internship at New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s safe to say that I’ve been effectively discipled in this last year. I am more proficient in the Word and Spirit. I walk in more power and authority. I also have a lot less free time on my hands.

Biblical discipleship is not that common of a thing. Few churches and Christian communities invest the time in the upcoming generations.

The current trend is quite opposite of what I’m experiencing at New Song. Most leaders today hoard their positions, grasping them with a greedy death grip. New Song’s leaders don’t do that.

Discipleship is expensive! But not necessarily in the monetary sense. Sure books and materials for Bible classes cost money. Yes, the cost of food to feed students is consequential. But the greatest cost of biblical discipleship is time.

Time, talent and treasure. God asks us to sow all of those things into His Kingdom. These triad T’s are being sown into me.

Time
Want to show somebody you love them and care about their future? Invest time in them. Give them the thing that cannot be repaid. Give them the ticking seconds on your life’s clock.

The staff at New Song Christian Fellowship believes in pouring into the next generation and they do it very well.

Talent
Each person is created by God with a unique set of gifts. These gifts are not meant to be exploited for personal gain. Rather, they are designed to be shared. We are created to bless and complement each other. We are meant to work together. We’re weak in some areas so others can be strong and help us with them. Too, we are strong in particular practices so we can practically provide for others. Daily I am strengthened in my weak areas because the staff at New Song share their talents with me and help me refine the talents God gave me.

Treasure
I admit it. Money is important. But money doesn’t make the world go ’round. The earth spins because Jesus holds all of the universe together. We can’t serve two masters, God and money. We have to instead master our money and use it for God’s Kingdom. Numerous people have sown financially into me. I live in a host home rent-free. I’ve received anonymous financial gifts. I’ve gotten gift cards to buy food. My high school mascot was a Pirate. As a Pirate, I really love treasure. 😀

My hope for every person reading this is that you have an opportunity to be discipled. Know Christ better. Grow in your knowledge of the Word. Know that the Bible is not this obscure, impossible to understand book. Realize Christ is alive. Life a life of dynamic power and movement.

If you’re not plugged into a dynamic community of believers, don’t despair. There’s hope for you.

The Lord has impressed it upon the hearts of the New Song leadership to create a resource called Disciple’s Handbook. This way anybody who wants to can be effectively discipled. The Great Commission is carried out through this resource. We’re currently in the process of writing the pilot edition of Disciple’s Handbook. It’s not perfect. There may be a typo or thirty. But we know that it’s God-inspired and Holy Spirit directed. The end result of Disciple’s Handbook will be three editions with 12 lessons. Right now we’re up to lesson seven in edition one. We’re working on writing lesson 11 right now. However, the rest of the book and editions haven’t even been written yet! That’s how fresh this is.

Go to New Song’s website to download the lessons for Disciple’s Handbook. Post a comment and let me know what you think of it!

Pastor Dale Evrist, Senior Pastor of New Song Nashville does a daily Old Testament podcast on iTunes. If you want to grow in understanding the Old Testament and how it applies to you today, listen to his free podcast. It’s full of great truth and life lessons. Download iTunes if you don’t already have it. Here’s a link to his Walking Through the Word Podcast on iTunes.

Consider yourself resourced! I am going to warn you, though. Laying down your life in obedience to Christ is costly. But it’s absolutely worth the investment!

Set Apart

We’re not made for mixture. We’re set apart for one thing–either carnal living or Kingdom living. What’s your substance?

Lately, I’ve been focusing on consecration. I’ve also been meditating on the concept of being set apart.

Set apart.

What does that really mean?

A vessel that is set apart for something can only be used for the one thing it was created for. It cannot be used for any other activity or substance.

We, as humans are not made for mixture. We were all created for a specific purpose. And that specific purpose is to know God and have a relationship with Him. Every person. Every one. Not just the goodie two-shoes. Not the brown nosers. Not the moral people. Not the religious stiffs. Everybody was created with an inward desire for God.

Granted, a lot of folks deny that desire. In fact, they often pervert that desire.

I’ve been challenging myself and also those around me in the area of mixture. I’m looking at the source of sediment in my life. I’m tracking any trace of pollutant in my life’s water. I’m exposing any areas of contamination and cleansing them. I want to be clean, pure, consecrated, sanctified and SET APART in every area.

I need to be set apart for God in my thought life, the way I dress, the things I say, the stuff I watch, the books I read, and the music I listen to.

Are you set apart for living for the Kingdom of God or for carnal, worldly living? Are you made of mixture? What is your substance? Are you purified or polluted?

A Little Sabbatical

Long time no write!

In September, I joined a student internship through my church–New Song Christian Fellowship. Since then, there’s been a whirlwind of classes, meetings, learning, mentoring, working, sleeping, eating…

And during all of that activity, there has not been much time for me to sit at home on the computer on the internet.

But hey, that’s totally a wonderful thing! For awhile, I’ve been longing for an internet sabbatical. Well, I got one!

It’s been wonderful to be immersed in ministry to the point of not having time for the computer.

Here’s what’s happened since my last blog:

I needed a new job. I looked for one. I found one. Now I’m working seasonally at a home decor store. When the Christmas season is over, I think my temporary seasonal job will end too. So now I’m on the lookout for the next job.

I’ve taken and completed one term of Bible classes in my student internship at New Song. I took Pentateuch, Systematic Theology and Spiritual Leadership. I recently turned in my finals (Dec. 1) and now I’m waiting on my grades for those classes. I think I did well on the finals and I really enjoyed those classes. In January, I start my second term of classes.

Well, that’s pretty much it. I’m too busy for the internet and that’s a wonderful thing.

I’ll post again when I’ve got some free time. Have a Merry Christmas! Remember that Jesus is the important One here, not materialism.

Foreign Impressions On My Domestic Life

In the previous post, you read an abridged version of what generally went down on my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. This blog is specifically about how I was affected personally. I’ll discuss what I was hoping for going into the trip, what happened while there and where I am now. I’ll try to go in order with each of the three sections so it’s easier to follow the progression. We’ll see how it pans out.

What I Was Hoping For Going Into the Trip

* Greater clarity for my future
* Build better relationships with the other Frontline young adults
* Grow in compassion for missions and evangelism
* Reduce my dependence on convenient, comfortable living (i.e. sleeping and food conditions)
* Become a more proficient Spanish speaker
* Grow in greater intimacy with the Lord

What Happened While There

* Greater clarity – I received clear evidence that I speak prophetically in the Spirit and that I hear accurately from the Lord. It was confirmed time and time again that the Lord speaks to me and what I share from Him resonates with other people.
* Better relationships with fellow Frontliners – That definitely happened! I was with the same group of people consistently for 12 days. We shared everything, much like the church of Acts. I had several wonderful conversations with numerous different people. While in the DR, the group of us became a family. I love seeing everyone now. Every time we meet up, it’s like a little reunion. We’ve moved beyond surface friends and entered into endearing family.
* Compassion for missions and evangelism – Walking actively in missions and evangelism for several days in a row makes a person grow in that area. I did grow in compassion naturally. It wasn’t forced and it wasn’t arduous. Because of the Holy Spirit, it was easy to serve together with the rest of the team in these areas. Yes, I got tired sometimes, but I enjoyed all of the evangelistic things we did.
* Convenient, comfortable living – After showering in cold, contaminated water, I slept in my own sweat on a thin, foam mat in a non-air conditioned room. I ate a bunch of strange food. I couldn’t flush my toilet paper. It wasn’t convenient and it wasn’t comfortable. But I did not complain. Rather, I just accepted it for what it was and continued on.
* Spanish speaking – I didn’t know a lot of Spanish before I left. I still don’t know that much. However, it was great to use all the stuff I’d learned in my Spanish classes in a real-time. I am continuing to study Spanish as often as possible. We have lots of Spanish channels on TV. Sometimes I watch the programming. Not the sappy soap operas, though.
* Intimacy with the Lord – Check, check and triple check! My personal time with Jesus was amazing. Our group devos were wonderful. I journaled, worshiped, and…simply…grew. It was great to walk in personal and corporate intimacy with Jesus. Truly awe-inducing.

Where I Am Now

Different. I’m different. I realize how spoiled Americans are. I realize how much money I have even when I feel like I have nothing. I appreciate my pillow top bed immensely. Continuous, hot showers are a celebration. I would go on another mission trip. I don’t feel called to be a full-time foreign missionary. But I do know that I’m constantly on mission with the Spirit wherever I am. I now have better relationship with my Christian brothers. I need a healthy balance of men and women in my community and now I’ve got it.

My perspective has permanently shifted. Thank You, God, for that!

The Audience Responds

Did I mention that I’m back from the Dominican Republic? Ha! Well, I am.

I do need to blog about that. I realize this. I will work on it eventually. It will be a lengthy, process and I do not have enough energy to devote to that particular activity at this time. In short, the trip was amazing! We moved in wonderful unity. God is great!

Forging ahead…

I don’t know if you are avid comment readers, but I received a few rousing comments on my post ‘Captive Audience.’ I do not know if the people who commented on that post will read any of my future posts–or even the comment I left them after their comments. Whether they do or don’t return to my blog again, I still want to respond. Plus, for any future readers, this may apply as well.

In the blog ‘Captive Audience,’ I talked about testifying to the truth. Some people find that offensive, binding, and annoyingly religious. I tell you honestly that it is not. I am not in a religion about God. I am in a relationship with Jesus. I realize that phrase may be considered over-used to some, but it’s true. I’m not in a hollow, repetitive activity that involves worshiping an unknown Being known as “The Man upstairs.” No, I’m in a dynamic, epic, deeply transforming relationship with a real, very much alive, redeeming man. His name is Jesus.

My relationship with God is not a set of strict rules and wrath. It’s a grace-filled, love-driven, tender, powerfully refining relationship. It’s not a freeloading, do-whatever-I-want-and-still-go-to-heaven sort of thing. God does instruct very specific things in the Bible. And I obey them. I follow Christ and obey God because I want to. Not because someone is forcing me into a relationless religion.

When I go to the Murfreesboro Writers’ Group, I testify to the truth in my life. That truth is Jesus. That truth is that I’m single and want to get married. That truth is that I am a song writer and am learning to play the piano.

When other people speak and read their work, they are also testifying to the truth in their lives. Their brother died. They are writing a novel. They are working on a short story. Everyone who ever says any opinion is just testifying to what they believe as truth.

I’m not a narrow-minded religious zealot. I am, however, a person who reads the Bible, conforms my mind to what it teaches and grows in my relationship with Jesus. I don’t see Christianity as a list of things that I cannot do. I am free in Christ. I walk in liberty and victory. I like it that I love Jesus.

I know that not every person in the world is going to agree with me, what I believe, or how I live my life. I also know that the name of Jesus offends people. I expect that. The Bible even says it will happen so I’m totally ok with it.

I don’t want to be irrelevant to this world. I don’t want my faith in God to cause people to instantly shut themselves off to me. But I will not compromise what I believe just to appease someone else.

I will write that DR blog sometime. I will. I will.

Off to the DR

So, it’s finally here!

Tomorrow at 3:45 a.m., I leave for the Dominican Republic! I’m excited! I know God will do a marvelous work in me and through me while I’m away. Please pray for me/our team while we’re gone. i.e. team unity, safety, protection, etc., etc.

Also, for updates while we’re in the DR, read our team blog at http://newsongdrteam.wordpress.com.

I’ll post when we get back with lots of pics, stories, testimonies…