"Sing to the Lord a new song..." Psalm 96:1
- Music has an indelible place in worldwide culture. It has a unique power to move, inspire, and comfort. While we don't think about it much, there's a reason for that. God is the creator or music (Colossians 1:16). He is the original songwriter, song-singer, song-giver, and that music, like all things He makes, is intended to glorify Him. In fact, God even sings TO US. As Zephaniah's prophecy declares in 3:17, he sings over us with joy, and it DELIGHTS him to do so. God takes us up in His arms, and as He sings over us, we are quieted and calmed by His voice. It is the heart of the gospel. Yes, we live in the tension between sin and grace, but God has taken our punishment upon HImself, so there is nothing to keep us from receiving the tenderness of HIs love. This takes time, reflection, and prayer to truly internalize, but as we live into it, Zephaniah tells us how we should respond to such love: we should sing, too! 3:14 says "Sing! Shout! Exult!" We do this because of what God has done for us. His song over us becomes HIs song in us, and as we sing in this world, we become the notes and music of HIs Kingdom. We become His chorus on earth. Amidst all the discordant notes we hear today, I pray we will be those who are singing HIS song.
- When we fail to grasp #1, it is not a long leap to arrive where 104-year-old Australian scientist, David Goodall, arrived last week. He was not terminally ill. He was not mentally ill or depressed, but he decided he did not want to live anymore, so he went to Basel, Switzerland and ended his life via assisted-suicide. Reading it filled me with such sadness. He was one who believed in nothing beyond science, beyond "proof." Yet who can prove love? Or virtue? Or hope? He felt that if age and infirmity kept him from doing what he wanted, then there was no longer any point. If that is one's thinking, then there is actually NEVER any point. There is no meaning. Such thinking is to miss the delight of God in our lives and the purpose we have in singing His song, regardless of our current disposition.
- SABBATICAL: While widely misunderstood in secular culture, the word means "of or relating to the Sabbath." In other words, it is a word that means a season of rest. I am so thankful to the elders of FPCO for granting me a sabbatical this summer (announced yesterday morning) as it reflects the church's desire to care for me and my family. It's hard to communicate the unique burdens of pastoral ministry, and while they are balanced by many joys, they add up over time. When your output exceeds your your intake, you get stale and ministry can flatten. Statistics show that pastoral longevity depends on such seasons. For that reason, I covet your prayers for me this summer. I'll be out beginning May 30 and return August 18, ready to share what God has revealed in my study, my reflection, my prayers, and my extended periods of listening.
- Someone dropped something on my porch yesterday. I couldn't figure out what it was. It said "phonebook" on it. What's that?
- SCOTT FROST: "I wish my ring didn't say that." Ouch.
- For those who live in Central Florida, it really is astounding to consider that 70 MILLION people came to our city last year, more than any other city in the country. When we think about the potential influence we could have in the lives of so many, it makes our choices regarding community involvement all the more important. Jeremiah 29:7 "Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you....pray to the Lord for it, for as it prospers, you too will prosper." Find a place to engage your city, your community, and lift the common good. As all humans beings flourish to a greater degree, we renew culture in ways that both honor and reflect God.
- NEWSFLASH: A recent study showed that there are five habits that can extend your life by as many as 14 years - yes, 14. They are: eat healthy, get 30 minutes of exercise a day, maintain your weight, don't smoke, and drink only in moderation. There is no surprise that those are the five, but the surprise is HOW MUCH they can lengthen life. Those who had all 5 got the most benefit. The fewer you have of the five, the lower the benefit. (I am a week away from FINISHING WHOLE 30 and it has been fantastic. I will definitely do it again. I feel physically as good as I have in a long time, and my energy levels have evened out to an all-day consistency - all from cutting out the junk and sugar.)
- WHAT I AM READING: Charles Martin, Send Down the Rain. I have read most of his novels (best one, in my opinion, is Where the River Ends), and this one is at the top of the list. His stories have depth, honesty, and genuine humanity that reflect real human struggles.
- For all my tough-guy hockey friends Jim Poorman I was pretty amused by the "controversy" surrounding one player serially licking the faces of others during games.