Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Words and Meaning

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with people in the hallways. It was the typical "good morning" and "how are you doing". But on this day, asking "how are you doing" took a different spin. You see, on this day, the response by one person wasn't really what they were saying. On this day, "how are you doing" took on a different meaning. It was obvious that this person was trying to hide the hurt, the fears, the stress of their life. Once they shared a little of what was going on, my question back was "so how are you doing". It was then, only then, that the wall came down and that they could share what was on their heart.

Have you ever gotten so caught up in the question and expect a response that you fail to really listen? We tend to do this everyday. It is so imporant that we really listen. Could you imagine if God just expected a typical response and that he didn't really listen to what is on our hearts? He doesn't do that. He listens...to every word, every meaning, to everything. We need to try to do the same. Don't ask a question, unless you really want to hear a response. When you do ask, listen...not only to the words spoken, but to the true meaning. Your listening could really help make someone's day or even their week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Personal Soapbox

Last week, I received an email from a former college classmate of mine. He is now serving God as a pastor in a Lutheran church. He questioned what I now do for Living Word. He was telling me that what I did wasn't part of the Lutheran confessions. He was telling me that the music I share isn't part of the Divine Service set up by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. He was telling me that there is no place for contemporary worship or music in the church and that the pure music for worship is from the hymnals. He told me that I was leading people astray.

Now I was taken back by this, but not really angry, just hurt. When David was leading the Ark of the Covenant and was dancing, I believe he was dancing for the Lord. I like to think that when the Psalms tell us to praise the Lord with cymbals or drums or trumpets, that it is telling us to praise the Lord using any means we can. Music is just one part of the worship experience. Word and Sacrament play a big part in our spiritual walk. It isn't what I do, it is what God is doing through me and through the worship teams that enhance worship. There are so many different ways to worship our Lord, that no one way is correct all the time. Worship comes from the heart. Worship is how you praise, thank, confess, ask, respond to God and His glory. Worship is you giving back to God. Some people like a more traditional, some like contemporary, but whatever the style, if it is focused on our heavenly Father, it is worship.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


It is allergy season! Some of us are suffering big time because of the tree pollen and mold. Soon other things will be in the air to cause allergy sufferers to have big puffy watery eyes, runny noses, sneezes, coughs, etc. My son and I suffer from allergies. His are a lot worse than mine. He is on medication in order to help control it (at least the best we can) so that he can play outside and not have puffy eyes and a runny nose all the time. Without the medication, he wouldn't be able to see clearly. His eyes would be watery and red. His nose would be running constantly. He would be miserable. Allergy suffers, you completely understand.

As Christians, there are many "allergies" that keep us from living our lives like God would want us to. The stress of a busy day, unexpected events, other people's attitudes, our schedules, all these "allergies" and more keep us from living our life as God would expect. They keep us from seeing, hearing, and focusing on God. We need to combat these things with a daily prayer, daily devotions, getting into the word, worshiping together and coming to the Lord's Supper. We need to use these things to regain our focus. Sometimes when we don't see things clearly or when the "allergies" of our lives take over, stop and refocus. Allow the power of God to help you see who He is and how we should be living for Him.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


This past Sunday was my son's birthday. He had been talking about where he wanted to go out to eat since last September, maybe even earlier. He wanted to eat at the Rainforest Cafe. So the big day finally came. After my daughter's 5:00 soccer game, we headed to the Rainforest Cafe for his birthday dinner. When we arrived, it was closed. It closed at 6:00, the same hours as the mall it is in. Disappointment filled his face. I felt terrible for him. Something he wanted to do, something he was looking forward to for a long time, wasn't going to happen on his birthday.

There are many disappointments in our lives. It almost seems like we expect only good things to happen to us. At least, good from our point of view. Disappointment isn't something we long for. We spend a lot of time asking God to fix things; to make things right. We spend time praying for things we want to see, we want to happen, then...disappointment hits. But are they really? God answers us in the way he knows is best for us. He knows what will work. He knows how to answer and promises to answer "our daily bread" prayer. God supplies us with what we need, not what we want. We, on the other hand, may see some of our "no" answers from God as disappointments. The challenge is to look at it, not from our eyes, but from God's. Look and try to understand that he is taking care of us, that his will is being done. Then, things that seem to be a disappointment, are truly an opportunity. So the Rainforest Cafe was closed on Sunday, we went Monday. But on Sunday, we ate at Joe's Crab Shack. A new restaurant for us. It was a new experience that we all enjoyed.