Audience of One

In the theater to the right, where would you place the following?

sanctuaryPreacher
Choir or Singers and Musicians
Congregation
God

The common response is to place the preacher, choir, and musicians on stage, the congregation in the audience, and God everywhere. We discuss worship as in any theater. Soren Kierkegaard challenged our thinking of worship and said that we have the audience wrong. The congregation is not the audience. God is the audience. Those who gather for worship are on stage. The preacher, singers, and musicians are all backstage prompting the congregation. It is not our pleasure which is the final judge but God’s. It is not whether or not we consider a service meaningful but whether God finds meaning in our service, in church and out, on holy days and every days. God is our audience of One.

Recently, the music group from our church, Macland Presbyterian, went to serve dinner and sing at a local rehab center.  Due to an overdose of one of the residents, the men all went to a group. Our band was there, but didn’t have anyone to hear their music. Randy Campbell sang anyway. I’ve heard the familiar expression, “Dance like no one is watching.” Randy sang like God was listening. See and hear what God heard and saw at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/maclandpc/videos/1353911207962016/

This Christmas, and all throughout the year, remember your audience of One.

Marriage is Like Football

To help you understand the premarital work I do with couples before they get married, I need you to watch this piece by one of America’s best theologians, George Carlin. Sure, Germany had Karl Barth, Geneva had John Calvin, Americans have had George Carlin. Makes a lot of sense to me. In this brief set, Carlin will clarify the differences between to two sports, and I help relate to marriage.

Wake to your family patterns.

 “Do you, Roger, take this woman to be your wife?”
“I do.”
“And do you, Rebecca, take this man to be your husband?”
“I do.”
“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife. Let the games begin.”

I try and prepare them, those innocent young who come to the church to be married. I try to give them some picture that they have not only chosen each other, they have been chosen by their families, chosen as missionaries, as agents, as representatives. I try to show them how, in their lives up to this point, their families have been preparing them, educating them, training them in the ‘right’ way to live their family way, their long traditioned, heavily patterned, family way, sending them forth into marriage, to procreate a new family, one with the same values, behaviors, traditions, patterns of the family from whence they came.

I try to prepare individuals who come to me for premarital counseling for the upcoming mêlée. I ask them, “What do you think your marriage will be like?”

I listen to their responses, then I add, “I like to think of marriage as one really long…football game.”

Comparing marriage to football is no insult. I come from the South where football is sacred. I would never belittle marriage by saying it is like soccer, bowling, or playing bridge, never. Those images would never work as only football is passionate enough to be compared to marriage. In other sports, players walk onto the field, in football they run onto the field, in high school ripping through some paper, in college (for those who are fortunate enough) they touch the rock and run down the hill onto the field in the middle of the band. In other sports, fans cheer, in football they scream. In other sports, players ‘high five’, in football they chest, smash shoulder pads, and pat your rear. Football is a passionate sport, and marriage is about passion.

In football, two teams send players onto the field to determine which athletes will win and which will lose, in marriage two families send their representatives forward to see which family will survive and which family will be lost into oblivion with their traditions, patterns, and values lost and forgotten.

Preparing for this struggle for survival, the bride and groom are each set up. Each has been led to believe that their family’s patterns are all ‘normal,’ and anyone who differs is dense, naïve, or stupid because, no matter what the issue, the way their family has always done it is the ‘right’ way. For the premarital bride and groom in their twenties, as soon as they say, “I do,” these ‘right’ ways of doing things are about to collide like two three hundred and fifty pound linemen at the hiking of the ball. From “I do” forward, if not before, every decision, every action, every goal will be like the line of scrimmage.

Where will the family patterns collide?

In the kitchen. Here the new couple will be faced with the difficult decision of “Where do the cereal bowls go?” Likely, one family’s is high, and the others is low.

In the bathroom. The bathroom is a battleground unmatched in the potential conflicts. Will the toilet paper roll over the top or underneath? Will the acceptable residing position for the lid be up or down? And, of course, what about the toothpaste? Squeeze it from the middle or the end?

The skirmishes don’t stop in the rooms of the house, they are not only locational they are seasonal. The classic battles come home for the holidays.

Thanksgiving. Which family will they spend the noon meal with and which family, if close enough, will have to wait until the nighttime meal, or just dessert if at all?

Christmas. Whose home will they visit first, if at all? How much money will they spend on gifts for his family? for hers?

Then comes for many couples an even bigger challenge – children of their own!

At the wedding, many couples take two candles and light just one often extinguishing their candle as a sign of devotion. The image is Biblical. The Bible is quoted a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. The unanswered question is, “If the two shall become one, which one?” Two families, two patterns, two ways of doing things, but which family’s patterns will survive to play another day, in another generation, and which will be lost forever? Let the games begin.

Wake to your family patterns that cross generations.

“Because I said so!” I can still hear my father.

As a determined eight year old, I swore, “I will never say, ‘Because I said so’ to MY child.” Fast forward thirty-five years later, we have three children, Cayla, Abbie, and Nathan. Each, at one time or another, has heard me say, “Because I said so.” Each has also heard me lecture them on the evils of not eating their supper while there are so many starving children in India, another thing I swore I would never say to my child. The patterns we learn as children resurface when we become parents, no matter how dormant we thought them to be.

What I have found even more amazing is just how unquestioned our family patterns can become. Sensible or not, we assume our way of doing things is the ‘right’ way, like in this story…

 Every time Mary cooked a roast, she cut off a small slice on each end. A neighbor, over sharing a cup of coffee, watched her semi-consciously cut off the ends. “Why do you do that?” asked the neighbor.

Mary thought about it. She didn’t know. “I guess it’s because that’s the way my mother always cooked a roast.” She was a little embarrassed that she had no other reason, so she called her mother. Her mother told her that she, like her daughter, simply cut the ends off the roast because she had seen her mother do the same. Mary called grandma. Her grandmother explained that she had always cut the ends off the roast because the pot she used was a small pot, too small for a normal roast. She cut the ends off to make the roast fit in the pot. Mary realized that two generations later she kept the same pattern of her grandmother even though they no longer owned the small pot nor needed to cut the ends off the roast.

We observe and imitate. The patterned way is assumed the preferable way, the right way, the best way, and why wouldn’t we pass on the best way to the next generation?

What family patterns do you have which have crossed generations? Do you know why you do the things you do? Are there any patterns in your family or in your life which have been held with football-like religious fervor?

Live Your Moments: Recognize – It’s All Made Up

In a lot of family vans, they have movie players so the kids can watch movies while they ride along. You can’t do that while driving, believe me… not that I’ve done it. I don’t have to. I just replay them in my mind. I have them stored, in my brain. Apparently my storage space was full by the time I was twelve because all I have in my mind is movies from childhood.
So, while driving down the long highway, The Wizard of Oz started playing. I can’t decide on who I think is scarier Ms. Gulch on her bicycle, or the Wicked Witch. If you throw in the flying monkeys, I have to say the Wicked Witch, but before that I’d say it’s a tie.
Then, because I am a preacher, I can’t just replay The Wizard of Oz in my mind, I had to consider them philosophically, “Which place is real, is it Kansas or is it Oz?”
Think about it. If you’re first thought is, ‘Of course Kansas real. Oz is made up. It’s just a story, a product of someone’s imagination. Not Kansas. I’ve been to Kansas.’ I must point out to you, in the movie Kansas is in black and white while Oz is in color.
Continue reading “Live Your Moments: Recognize – It’s All Made Up”

Pray to Your Audience of One

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I have a vague memory from my childhood when I prayed in a family or other group gathering. Someone, perhaps a sibling, snickered at the words I chose in my prayer. My mother, the ever protector, responded quickly, “He wasn’t talking to you.”
Jesus taught that prayer was never a public performance but a private one. Here are his words again from The Message and Matthew 6:

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

Instead of doing a dance for the world, you do your dance for God, your audience of one, The One. Instead of proclaiming your righteousness, you seek alignment with the heart and desires of God. Paul Thorn offers a great image for when God is your target audience and simple prayer in a phrase in, I Hope I’m Doing This Right, Continue reading “Pray to Your Audience of One”

New Year’s Transformation: One Step at a Time

I love musicians. I don’t just love them for the songs the create, I love them for the lessons they share. As a pastor, we miss what musicians take for granted.

Practice: No matter how good you get as a musician, you still need to practice. Religious people often forget that no matter what your faith – it takes practice.

New Songs: No matter how proficient an artist is, there are always new songs to learn. Too often we religious approach our sacred scriptures as if “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” The United Church of Christ holds, and I agree, “God is still speaking.” No matter how many times you’ve heard a story, you can hear it in a new way as God can use any moment to bring forth a new creation.

Work is Play: Musicians play music. Religious people make sacrifices. For someone working at what they love, with people they love, you may give, you may even give up, but when it’s for the greater song, it’s not a sacrifice because it’s part of what you love. Religious folks seldom play. Perhaps a new statement for some could be, “In Christ we play…”

Moments Lead to Moments: Musicians finish a song. The song must end because if you keep playing it, you’ll ruin it. (Check out John Fogerty’s version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.”) Religious people try and live forever without ever facing an ending. For musicians, the end of one moment leads to the next.

One Step at a Time: Musicians learn about steps. You can’t take all steps at once. You can only take them one step at a time.

If you are making some big changes in your life this year, don’t resolve to do it all at once. Take it one beat, one moment, one step at a time.

Here is a wonderfully encouraging song for taking your steps, whether one step, twelve steps, or a journey of a million miles, take them as Mike Zito suggests. “One Step at a Time.”

Live Your Moments: Let Your Soul Sing

Can a commercial carry the impact of a hymn? This one does. In a rollicking fashion, this Discovery Channel video carries an awe and wonder in response to the classic hymn, “How Great Thou Art.” See if you don’t think so.

Likely the Psalmist in Psalm 8 felt a similar joy:

Psalm 8

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
    to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals[a] that you care for them?

Live Your Moments: Wake Up!

In more than one place, the Bible writers assert that our spiritual troubles arise from our lack of attentedness in our daily lives, we are going throguh them as machines, following our patterns paying very little attention to the moments before us.

There are quotes from scriptures: Proverbs 6:9, How long will you lie there, O lazybones? When will you rise from your sleep? There is also Ephesians 5:14,Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead…

Some more recent philosophers have made a similar point. Like Mr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy from Star Trek asked, Instead of asking “Why are we here?” We should ask, “Are we here?” Author Thich Nhat Hat observed that, People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air,  but to walk on earth.

With the challenge before me, I decided I was going to go to our Sunday Service attentive to the present moment. Unconscious patterns are a clear sign of going through life asleep. I know about patterns. I’m a pastor.

My church’s members are like most others, finding comfort in familiar practices, arriving at the same time, parking in the same spots, and seating themselves in the same pews. Most pray patterned prayers offering, “Our Father who art…” when we gather and praying “God is great…” and “Now I lay me…” at home.

When I first started to notice my patterns, I tried to break out of one on a Sunday morning. It did not go well for me or my congregation. After the worship service, I took my position at the front of the church by the door as usual. As I shook the hands of exiting parishioners, I greeted and was greeted with, “Have a nice week,” and, “See you next Sunday.”

One of our members, Kathy, shook my hand and said softly, “Hi, how are you?” without breaking her stride through the door.

I replied, “Fine,” but determined to have more than the typical response, I resisted Kathy’s quick exit. The normal duration for a handshake was over, but I wasn’t finished. She pulled away, but I held on pulling her back into the doorway. I twisted my head to make contact with her already-past-me face. She returned to me. “Kathy,” I said pausing for emphasis, “how are you?”

“Fine,” she said giving a slight tug of return to her hand.

“No, really Kathy, how ARE you? I want to know.” By this time I just had her fingers, “Are you okay? How was your week? Really, I want to know.”

“It was fine,” she said emphatically pulling her hand liberating her fingers. “Fine,” she said again. “Really.” At this point she was out the door.

I gave her the pastoral I understand nod of my head. ‘I think we connected,’ I lied to myself. I looked up to see the parishioners now backed up from the exit like a line of women at the bathroom of a college football game, restless and anxious, trying to will the front of the line to move ahead and make way. The path cleared; one by one they all came through. I let them all go, no questions asked.

In your life, look at your patterns. Do you see any that have become sacred traditions for reasons since forgotten?

 

 

Live Your Moments: See in New Ways

In John 3, Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night because Jesus, as a teacher or Rabbi, doesn’t fit any of Nicodemus’ categories and labels for just how a teacher should act, while at the same time, he was doing far more works of God than those with tenure in the religious world.

Jesus bothers Nicodemus even more when he tells him to be “Born again.”

Nicodemus imagines what a shock that would be to his mother.

Throughout the gospels, Jesus challenges stuck people to think in new ways.

dotsCreativity guru, Michael Michalko, takes a normal creative challenge and then adds twist after twist. What used to be one creative solution to a problem, Michalko adds solution after solution. To begin to grasp Jesus’ teachings in the moments of our lives, we must be open to new ways of seeing. Perhaps Michalko’s exercise will help.

Continue reading “Live Your Moments: See in New Ways”

Live Your Moments: Find Strength in Unity

Ecclesiastes 4 puts forth an image of the strength in numbers whether the amount of cord in a rope or the number of bodies around you on a cold night.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

This quick snippets give a marvelous visual to the importance of living in community in an often predatory world.

Live Your Moments: Be a Child of Your Heavenly Father

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Back in my hometown of Anderson, SC, Carrie and I were in that auto line of cars following a funeral. I was trying to figure out my position in line behind the hearse. A man I had met earlier came up to the car. I rolled down the window. “Are you Ben’s boy?”
“Ben.” I had not heard that name in so long from anyone outside my family.
As the manager of a textile mill, in my childhood neighborhood, my father had been the king, the patriarch, but I long ago moved from there and from then. I switched towns and states. No one knew me as “Ben’s boy,” or “Ben’s son.” To hear that name washed over me and I was twelve years old again.
“Yes, sir,” I said with pride.
My father died when I was 18, three decades ago. I have moved far from anyone who knows him, but this man did. This man in a way knew me that others don’t, not even Carrie. He knew me as “Ben’s son”. With pride I said, “Yes, sir.”
As a youth, my father and I fought. He had an image from me as a future man far different from the one I was trying to become. In my mind, it was an either or proposition.
As I’ve gotten older, I see my relationship with my father as a both and, I am “Ben’s Boy,” yet at the same time, “My Own Man.” I have become far different than either of us envisioned, but now I can claim them both.
A Father’s love enables and empowers us to become both claimed by our Dad’s, and at the same time, grow unto something more than the images our father has for us or we have for ourselves, we can become the Imago Dei, the image of God, Our Father who art in heaven, and on earth, and in us, hopefully more and more each day.
“Are you Ben’s boy?”
Yes, I am.
“Are you God’s child?”
Yes, I am.
Prayer: Gracious God, on this Father’s day and every day here after, may I give my own son an example to follow and the freedom to find his own path. If it’s not to much to ask, could you arrange for my own father and I to have ‘a catch’ in a mystical corn field/baseball diamond in Iowa? Until then, tell my father I said, “Hello,” and that I’m still proud to be Ben’s boy.”

 

Live Your Moments: Feed Your Better Emotions

Often we become our emotions, so full of whatever we are feeling; there is little or no room for anything other than the emotion. We indicate we have become our emotion when we use ‘to be’ verbs. For example, “I am so angry,” or “I am afraid,” imply you are your emotions not that there is a larger “you” experiencing them. “I feel angry,” allows a recognition of the emotion, and your ability to feel it fully while listening to what your anger, fear, or other emotion is telling you. By becoming aware of your emotions, you can also choose how you will respond as well as learn about your situation from seeing where your emotions are directing you to look. Here is a helpful story attributed to The Cherokee Nation,

A boy looked at his grandfather whose face was tight and tense. Seeing his grandfather was troubled, the boy asked, “What’s the matter, Grandfather?”
He replied, “There is a great war inside me.”
“A war?” the boy asked.
“Yes, between two large wolves. One is dark, stormy, and angry, expecting evil and trying to force me to strike out at others. The other wolf is bright, full of warmth, and light. He expects wonder and joy. He encourages me to give love to others.”
Now, greatly concerned, the boy asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”
The man’s face brightened as he looked at his grandson and said, “Whichever one I feed.”

Before the grandfather can decide which wolf to feed, he must see the wolves. To be aware of our emotions allows us to be instructed by them without becoming them and then nurture the ones that are more life enriching. To help you call them by name, create a list of emotions so you will know them when you feel them.

Live Your Moments: Let YOUR Light Shine

Notice the U in the Sermon on the Mount, well, not the U, but the You…

Matthew 5: 13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

I am amazed at how different images from a scripture I’m living with during the week come to the surface when I’m thinking through my lenses of a Biblical passage. So often we make Jesus a person who is one in a billion, a person like no other, and, I believe, we miss where Jesus’ identity and life point us.

I believe that Jesus in one in a billion person and the purpose of being unique was to aid his followers in doing the same. John 1 tells us that Jesus is the light of the world and the darkness could not put his light out. So, too, then, if Jesus is the light of the world, then we also are to light the world. When the light of the world tells you that you are the light of the world, then it is your job to be the light, the salt, the city that sets on a hill in a way that only you can be.
Marianne Williamson’s words came back to me,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So, let your light shine! Be the light of the world Jesus is calling you to be. Along with this quote by Marianne Williamson, I found this song by Keb Mo. Again, let your light shine!

 

Live Your Moments: Be the Wise Fool to Facilitate Community

 

Many communities define unity through similar social circles, common belief, uniformity in attire and background. To break up such strict homogeneity, (like homogenization in milk) there often needs to be a wise fool to come in and break up the uniformity of the group, accept the jeers and sneers of those who deem themselves superior, until the opportunity for grace can happen and authentic community can begin. Here is a colorful example of how one bird can change the powerline, and one soul might bring hope to the world.

In Galatians 3, Paul speaks of the crucial component of a Christian community – unity in diversity. Paul wrote, 3:27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

 

 

Live Your Moments: Say, “There is No Place Like Now.”

Jesus’ counsel in the Sermon on the Mount is to not worry. Here is Matthew 6:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,[j] or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God[ and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

To not worry, to try and force yourself to not worry, to command your mind to not think about the future, is like telling yourself, “Don’t think about pink elephants.” Try it, tell yourself, “Do NOT think about PINK ELEPHANTS!” As soon as you make such a demand, it’s hard to think about anything else. The pink elephant in the room becomes the pink elephant in your brain.

Perhaps, to enter into the counsel of Jesus in Matthew 6, it’s easier to begin in an imaginary place. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy learns that she has the power to find home anytime she wants by clicking her heals together three times and saying each time, “There’s no place like home.”

To remind yourself to live your moments, to be at home whenever and wherever and with whomever you’re with, say three times, “There’s no place like now.” You can even click your heals together three times if you want. Once you accept, “There is no place like now,” then you can liberate yourself from constant witchy worries and let today’s difficulties be enough for today.

Live Your Moments: Be Kind to Become Happy

Jesus’ followers were debating on which one was better than all the others. Jesus reversed their expectation of what greatness actually required, but he also flipped their understanding of what happiness and health require. Jesus instructed.

Luke 22: 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.26 But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves

In this commercial, the sub titles aren’t needed. The images tell the story of how a servants heart can foster healthy relationships with man and beast, and a happier life.

 

Live Your Moments Choose Contribution over Competition

In The Art of Possibility, Boston Symphony Conductor Benjamin Zander tells about his family table growing up. He was the youngest of four with two older brothers and an older sister. At dinner time every evening, they would sit around the table, with the parents in the places of authority at the ends and the kids in the middle. Ben’s dad begin the conversation by addressing the oldest boy, “What did you do today?”

Ben’s brother would describe, at some length all that he had accomplished that day. Ben understood that “What did you do today?” meant “What did you achieve today? How did you bring glory and honor to the family? How were you successful?”
Then Ben’s father would ask the second in line, his other brother, “What did you do today?” and he would relate all his accomplishments. Then his sister. Then Ben. Ben felt that compared to his older siblings, he accomplished little. No matter what he had achieved, one of his siblings had done it before and done it better. Ben saw each day as a two-sided coin, success on one side and failure on the other, achievement on one side and disappointment on the other. There was no glory he could bring which the family hadn’t seen before. Continue reading “Live Your Moments Choose Contribution over Competition”

Live Your Moments Practice: Turn Sorrows into Song Part 1

TURN YOUR SORROWS INTO SONG

Martin Guitars has an ad campaign called, “Crossroads.” In the ad, they retell the legend of Robert Johnsoncrossroads article banner’s encounter with the devil. It’s a gloomy night at a crossroads on a rural Mississippi plantation in the early 1930’s. A struggling blues musician named Robert Johnson has a burning desire to play his guitar better than anyone else. At this lonely intersection, the Devil waits for Johnson. With the moon shining down, the Devil plays a few songs on Johnson’s guitar. When Robert Johnson gets his guitar back, he has complete mastery over the instrument. His soul now belongs to the supernatural being, and for the next 5 years or so, he creates music that will live past his tragic, suspicious death in 1938 at the age of 27.

A closer look at the lyrics of “Crossroads” shows not a man struggling with the devil and fame but with loneliness and pain. The crossroad is whether or not his pain will overwhelm him or whether or not he can come through it with a song. Continue reading “Live Your Moments Practice: Turn Sorrows into Song Part 1”

Live Your Moments Practice: Own a Sunday Song

Each Sunday, across the world, people gather around the world and sing songs to God. Do you think God enjoys all those songs? Is our singling like radio to God? If so, why do we all sing at the same time?

If God really enjoys our music, why don’t we spread out the singing?

Perhaps a better way to think of singing at church is choir practice. What you learn on Sunday is just practice for a song you can sing all week long. We can all be God’s radio, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Take a song and make it your own offering to God like Paul Thorn does here:

Check out more music by Paul Thorn you can make your own at this link: Paul Thorn Tunes

Live Your Moments: Learn to Live in God

Praying, “Give us this day our daily bread,” calls us to look beyond those needs we can earn, pay for, and acquire on our own to outside of ourselves, to God. Faith is more than belief, it is trust. When asked to write a statement of faith as part of a job interview, in contrast to the long statements of others about God as Father, Son, and Spirit or God as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, this pastor simply wrote, “I trust God.”
Praying for daily bread and looking each day for needs instead of wants is a crucial practice to learn the art of faith, to learn to live in God, in the world, and in this life.

Van Morrison offers a helpful question for reflection on whether or not we are seeking our daily bread from God. Morrison asks,

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?