Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Here's the scripture that stuck this week:
I Kings 8:41-43 The Message
41-43 And don't forget the foreigner who is not a member of your people Israel but has come from a far country because of your reputation. People are going to be attracted here by your great reputation, your wonder-working power, who come to pray at this Temple.
Listen from your home in heaven.
Honor the prayers of the foreigner so that people all over the world will know who you are and what you're like and will live in reverent obedience before you, just as your own people Israel do; so they'll know that you personally make this Temple that I've built what it is.This is a theme you see throughout the entire Word of God. It's all about people knowing our great God. Evangelism, in it's truest form, is about people seeing and ultimately living for the glory of God. That's Solomon's heart in this dedication of the temple. He knew the solution to the problem that churches are still trying to figure out. It's not about smoke, lights, music, personalities, or buildings. It's about the presence of God, and that's what draws searchers to Him. He draws them to Him.
What's your Word?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
I'm definitely a child of the 90's. Those were the high school days and I have a lot of great memories from that decade. I personally think the 90's have some of the best and worst in music history. So...
What's the best and worst when it comes to the music of the 90's?
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
People are weird. I know I'm weird. People can also be very difficult to deal with. If you think about it, people are the source of most of our problems. People are also the ones that help us and they are the ones we depend on, so, basically we need each other. So, we have to learn how to deal with each other, tolerate each other, and ultimately love each other.
In the book 9 Things You Simply MUST Do, Dr. Henry Cloud gives us nine very valuable principles of living a successful life. The underlying theme of the book is being a "Deja Vu Person". I personally thought that "Deja Vu People" should have been the title, but that's just the marketing side of me coming out. The first two chapters are introductory and a little slow, but once you get into the 9 principles, the nuggets of wisdom just keep coming. He uses a lot of stories from personal experiences of counseling people, and that's not really my bag, but the principles he is applying were spot on. I love reading books like this, because they put things every good leader knows into words and sentences that they can pass on to others. He ends the books by saying:
"Do not see success in love or life as a goal that you cannot attain or a prize only for special or lucky people. That is not true. Success is never embodied in a person, but in the ways of wisdom that transcend any one individual."
9 Things You Simply MUST Do is a great read for anyone on how to deal with people in a wise and productive way. I believe every leader simply must read this one.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Here's the scripture that stuck this week:
II Samuel 22:7, 21-25 The Message
7 A hostile world! I called to God,
to my God I cried out.
From his palace he heard me call;
my cry brought me right into his presence—
a private audience!
21-25 God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I cleaned up my act,
he gave me a fresh start.
Indeed, I've kept alert to God's ways;
I haven't taken God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works,
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
Just an incredibly beautiful, poetic praise to God. This makes me really excited for the Psalms in the Message. Beautiful and inspiring praise.
What's your Word?
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
It was the summer of ‘92, Garth Brooks made my friends and I all instant country music fans and the speaker at our youth church camp had a new agenda. His mission was to convict our hearts of the evil secular music that had invaded our lives. He capped it all off by telling us to take our secular CD’s, including “Barf Brooks”, and destroy them like Christian soldiers crushing the enemy. All of the kids in my youth group made the “decision” to give up their secular music. You see, making decisions was the pinnacle of the whole camp experience. In the midst of all the revival and purification of non-Christian music, I was the only one that just didn’t quite get the conviction of the holy speaker. Slowly, each member of the youth group discovered my rebellion and one-by-one came to me, some in tears, pleading me to give up my devil music. But I stood my ground. A couple days after getting back from camp, our youth director held a CD smashing event. Everyone, except for me, brought their Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus CD’s and destroyed them from the heart. Here’s the problem: Within months of that revival, most of those people purchased the same CD’s again. The idea of breaking a CD to acquire holiness was a flawed attempt. It goes much deeper than that. The churches I grew up in all shared that common denominator of drawing closer to God by way of rules and regulations. I think that is why I love reading the accounts of Matthew Paul Turner’s upbringing in the church. I relate so closely to them, and combined with his sarcastic humor, it leaves me laughing out loud as I read, which is a rare thing when it comes to books and myself.
I think you can accurately label this a sequel to his previous book called Churched, which covers MPT‘s elementary years in the church. Click here to read my review on that. In Hear No Evil, he recounts his teen, college and adult years. The reader gets a very humorous look at a student really experiencing life outside of the bubble of the legalistic Independent Baptist Church. He says, “I learned quickly that what we believed as Baptists trumped anything God told me. The things he said didn’t count unless they were included in my church’s statement of faith.” This is a mindset I totally understand and have experienced, myself. I really related to him when he said, “I didn’t study God. I just memorized Scripture verses and practiced Bible trivia.”
The main, underlying theme of this book is his journey through music. Like myself, the only music he was exposed to growing up was either hymns or southern gospel music. He says, “…for a young Independent Fundamental Baptist, few things existed that were more frightful than a syncopated beat.” I remember growing up hearing my pastors all saying that there was no such thing as “Christian rock”, and they would all use air quotes when they said it. The whole CCM movement scared and threatened the old regime, and they went into attack mode.
MPT takes us from high school experiences to college where his eyes were opened to different kinds of music and cultures. I felt his hesitancy and judgmental nature that surfaced as he encountered different ideas and beliefs that didn’t match up with the doctrine that his church had given him. He says, “We could be passive-aggressive toward our parents and our past lives without being considered unchristian. Reformed doctrine offered a different way to think about God. And sometimes different, even when it really isn’t that different, is all we need to make us feel alive, creative, and in control of our own destiny.“ The book takes us to his present time and shows us his fresh, more balanced understanding of grace. He gives us a glimpse into the ugly truths of the CCM world that appears sometimes too perfect. As editor of the once popular CCM Magazine, he recounts the hypocrisies and lack of grace that exists in the Christian music industry. This takes us to a very moving encounter he had with Amy Grant, who has experienced such judgment and condemnation from people who claim the name of Christ, which is possibly the greatest oxymoron we know.
Like Churched, I would only recommend this book to people who are not ultra-conservative. Unlike Churched, I saw more nuggets of spirituality that one could benefit from. If you’ve grown up in a very legalistic church or family, you will definitely be able to relate with the good and bad experiences that Matthew Paul Turner recounts. For me, Hear No Evil was a very enjoyable and encouraging read.
Thanks to Random House & Matthew Paul Turner, I am giving away a copy of Hear No Evil here on the blog.
1. Leave a comment, preferably with your weirdest church experience.
2. Retweet my tweet on twitter regarding this post.
(make sure to retweet using @garydurbin, so I'll see it, and use the hashtag #HearNoEvil.)
DO BOTH OF THESE AND RECEIVE 2 ENTRIES INTO THE DRAWING
THE DRAWING IS CLOSED. CONGRATS TO CRYSTAL GAMBLE ON WINNING!
Feel free to still comment with your weird church stories. Very interesting stuff so far.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Yesterday was Valentines Day. Love was in the air. So...
What's your favorite love song?
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
"I tend to pay more attention to a well-packaged recording from a local church than from an individual’s demo. If the pastors and congregation believe in your ministry and songs enough to fund a recording, that speaks of endorsement from them and faithfulness from you."
Click here to read the whole post.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
First, the original by Tiny Tim...
And, the spoof by these folk. This kind of reminds me of a sketch on SNL, except this is real. What do you think?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Here's the scripture that stuck this week:
II Samuel 11:27-12:7 The Message
27-3 But God was not at all pleased with what David had done, and sent Nathan to David. Nathan said to him, "There were two men in the same city—one rich, the other poor. The rich man had huge flocks of sheep, herds of cattle. The poor man had nothing but one little female lamb, which he had bought and raised. It grew up with him and his children as a member of the family. It ate off his plate and drank from his cup and slept on his bed. It was like a daughter to him.
4 "One day a traveler dropped in on the rich man. He was too stingy to take an animal from his own herds or flocks to make a meal for his visitor, so he took the poor man's lamb and prepared a meal to set before his guest."
5-6 David exploded in anger. "As surely as God lives," he said to Nathan, "the man who did this ought to be lynched! He must repay for the lamb four times over for his crime and his stinginess!"7 "You're the man!" said Nathan...
Isn't it funny how judgmental and condemning David got against his own sin? The reason he did was because he was blind to his own sin. I am constantly grossed out by judgmental Christians. It's gross. We have no biblical right to judge or condemn anyone, because we ALL fall short of God's glory. Sometimes we need someone like Nathan to come and show us who we are from a different perspective and kick us off our judge's seat. It's so important that we remember God's mercy on our own lives, before we start judging someone else of their misdeeds.
What's your Word?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Some of the worship leaders there include: Leeland, Brenton Brown, Matt Maher, Christy Nockels, Phil Wickham and Audrey Assad.
Great Superbowl this year. There's several things that come to mind when it comes to the annual big game. One, in particular, is who is singing the national anthem each year. So...
What's the best performance of the national anthem ever at the Superbowl?
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Setlist with itunes links:
When I Think About the Lord - Shane & Shane
What Can I Do - Paul Baloche
Consuming Fire - Tim Hughes
I Give You My Heart - Reuben Morgan
Flow Sheet from Planning Center
Also part of Sunday Setlist
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Here's the scripture that stuck this week:
II Samuel 6:20-22 The Message
20-22 David returned home to bless his family. Michal, Saul's daughter, came out to greet him: "How wonderfully the king has distinguished himself today—exposing himself to the eyes of the servants' maids like some burlesque street dancer!" David replied to Michal, "In God's presence I'll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God's people, over Israel. Oh yes, I'll dance to God's glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I'm concerned...I'll gladly look like a fool...but among these maids you're so worried about, I'll be honored no end."
In the churches I grew up in, this is one of those "verses which we do not speak of". The whole idea of dancing was attributed to Satan, along with rock music and movie theaters. I love how the Message words it, "Oh yes, I'll dance to GOD's glory...". That's so important to this story. It wasn't to David's glory or the glory of acquiring the ark again, and it definitely wasn't to his wife's glory. It was for God. If you've never danced to God's glory, try it sometime. It's a beautiful thing.
What's your Word?
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
That's the question I've been asking myself a lot lately. I'm a very driven person, and I love trying to improve myself, situation, and those around me. So, the balance I have to find is that of contentment. Everyone leans to an extreme, and I don't believe living an extreme life is very healthy. There's a healthy balance that can be found in everything, and that comes from wisdom, which comes from God.
Being that I'm pretty driven, I have to lean the other way to find my balance of contentment. I need to be content in what God has given me, and ultimately find joy in that. My leaning to the driven extreme will always make me want something more, or look to greener pastures, when God has put me in green pastures and still waters already. I guess it's just realizing that and accepting it.
So I ask, "What is enough?"
I've been thinking about this, and I've decided that there are priorities with enough's.
In my life, I have different areas that, if I'm living right, organically make up who I am. Here's how I would list them in order of priority:
2. My Own Family
3. My Family
4. My Friends
5. My Occupation or Ministry
6-?. Other stuff
First, let's talk about my occupation - "Worship Pastor or Full-Time Ministry". When I tell people what I do, it instantly identifies myself in a religious, churchy context, which I think is a good thing. When it comes to ministry in the church, there needs to be a self-motivating drive in one's self to be "successful" and to have a healthy ministry where you make a positive impact on people. Now...if I say that a great life for me is to have a successful ministry, then I'm rolling the dice, big-time, because this "enough priority" probably will not last forever for me. (i.e. retirement or change of vocation.) Don't get me wrong. I love the church, and I truly see myself serving it for the rest of my life, whether I get a pay check or not, but it can't be enough for me to have joy.
Another area would be my social life. (Play the song, "Friends" by MWS for more effect during this section) I am so grateful for the friends I've had in life, and I'm very grateful for the life-long friends that have always been there for me. Friends are great and valuable, especially in the down times when you find out who you're real friends are, but is it enough? This "enough priority" can also be fragile and can change. I'm sure your social group now looks much different than it did in high school. That's because we change, and usually when you change, your friend choices do as well. This "enough priority" is not a constant either.
Another area would be my family. They say you can't choose your parents, and that's true. The choice of the ones who raised you was completely out of your hands. Hopefully, you have had and have a good relationship with your parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. The unfortunate truth is that there are many dysfunctional families out there and there is broken relationships and trusts. I love my parents, my brother and my grandparents dearly, but they're not always the source of my joy, and I've not always been the source of their joy. Yes...unfortunately, even family can let you down. So, if we say that family is enough for us to have joy, then once again, we are rolling the dice. This "enough priority" can change a lot as we get older and develop our own independence.
Another area would by my own family. Those that know my wife, know that I married way over my head. I do not deserve her whatsoever. (You can play the song "You're the Inspiration" by Chicago during this section.) She knows me better than anyone. She knows the best and worst about me, and yet she loves me. She's made me better. We have two great kids that bring so much life and energy to our home and family. This is my family...mine. When my job fails me, and when my friends fail me, I know my family is there for me through thick and thin. But is this enough? Is this "enough priority" number one on the list? As a Christian, I have to say it can't be. I can never imagine my family being broken up, but the truth is is that they will let me down at times and I will let them down. Therefore, it's not enough for my joy.
The main "enough priority" and the core to me has to be my faith and relationship with God. God has said that He will never leave me or forsake me. He is the God that never lets go and never lets me down. He's bigger than my occupation, my friends, and even my family. He's God. He is and must be enough and sufficient for me. God is the joy that lasts. One of my favorite verses is Psalms 37:4, "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." With that, God must be what I most desire. God is "enough priority" number one in the joy-filled life. When all is said and done, there is God.
When God is the main priority of our life it will bring light to the priorities of our life. There will be a divine order to them. God is the ultimate fuel for all areas of our life, and when He is not prioritized over them in our life, He will not bless them. When we put our ultimate hope or joy into anything less than God, we will face disappointment with no light.
So, think about the areas of your life, or your "enough priorities". List them out and make sure they're in the proper order. The best thing you can possibly do is prayerfully prioritize your enough's and you will find true joy more and more everyday.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I'm a DJ at heart. I love to put together mixes to listen to. I've been doing mixes all the way back to "mix tape" days, and I had many of them. I'm very music ADD, so I constantly need change in my musical selection. Now, thanks to Itunes, I can change my mix all the time. So...
What's on your mix right now?
Share your mix?