May 21, 2014

Foy Vance – Created to Create

About 2 weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting a musical hero of mine, Mr. Foy Vance. It was rather unexpected. My wife and I had just left a Needtobreathe @ the Wiltern , and he was sitting outside a cafe drinking some ale. I knew he was in the vicinity, because he was the show opener, I just didn’t expect to actually meet him.

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His jilted Irish accent was super warm and inviting, and we spoke casually about the tour and songwriting. It is ultra inspiring to me that he has no method to his madness. He simply loves to sit down at the piano and write songs. No formula, no agenda, just the love of simple musical creation.

 

I walked away from our conversation that night with simple, but stunning revelation. We are called to create. God put it in our hearts to create. Whether it’s songs, or houses, computer software, or jet engines. We must create. We are called to be like our creator. My friend Saba is always telling me that we are called to create value by what we offer and bring to the table in our communities. When we try to make the best thing, to dress everything up and make it sexy before we offer it to the world then we rarely offer anything at all. Foy Vance wasn’t setting out to get all of his songs on Grey’s Anatomy, or become the acclaimed songwriter he is. He was just creating because it was in his heart to. It was a joy for him to compose songs. Let’s all create something out of our joy and passion. Imagine if Edison, or the Wright Bros had stopped trying for fear of failure. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t be scared of what others might think. Put yourself out there. God has created you to add value. He c

reated you to create.

Check out Foy’s Music –> http://www.foyvance.co

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March 17, 2014

Green Beer Anyone?

You probably don’t even care why, but before you drink a green beer tonight let’s take a look at the mysterious man behind the holiday and why we celebrate him as one of the greatest missionaries of all time. 

 St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents, either toward the end of the fourth century or the beginning of the fifth.  Although his father was a Christian deacon, there is no evidence that Patrick was particularly religious. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders (Barbarians) who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years as a slave in captivity.  During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to God.
 

Patrick writes “After I had arrived in Ireland, I found myself pasturing flocks daily, and I prayed a number of times each day. More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day and in the night nearly as often.”

During this time Patrick writes that He came to love his captors, to identify with them, and to hope for their reconciliation to God. Crazy Huh!!!!

  After 6 years in captivity, God’s voice spoke to Patrick in a dream one night, saying, “You are going home, Look! Your ship is ready!” The voice directed him to flee for his freedom the next morning. He awakened before daybreak, walked nearly 200 miles to the Irish seacoast, saw the ship, and negotiated his way on board. When Patrick’s returned to England, He trained as a Priest, and served as a Priest in a parish in England. 

 One night, at the age for 48 – Patrick experienced another dream that was to change his life again. An angel named Victor approached him with letters from his former captors in Ireland. As he read one of the letters, he imagined that he heard the voice of those people, and they cried out as one voice, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.” When Patrick woke up the next morning, he interpreted the dream as a call from God to take the Gospel to the Celtic peoples of Ireland. He asked the bishops to be sent on this mission. So he was ordained as a bishop, and appointed to Ireland, as history’s first missionary bishop.

Can you imagine going back to the people that enslaved you and mistreated you – not to mention the people that you escaped from!!! (let me remind you no laws are in place to stop these viking  people from killing him on the spot –  remember it’s 450 A.D.  :)

“Patrick’s mission to Ireland was to be such an unprecedented undertaking that it is impossible to understate it’s magnitude and significance, Why? 

Because the Irish Celtic peoples were ‘barbarians’.” 

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of doing things the Catholic way and attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish, and used the three-leaved shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity.  There is also the legend that he drove the snake from Ireland, although scientists are now certain that there never were snakes on the island; some scholars have argued that the snakes were symbolic of Druids.  

However, He got into a bit of trouble with the Catholic Church for these things and consequently did not get very much help from them after arriving in Ireland and doing things his way.  What was his way?

He went from tribal settlement to tribal settlement -  first speaking with the king – then if the king excepted he would set up a small mission praying for sick people, putting on dramas and plays about the Gospel, and lovingly serving the people with the hope that in time they would come to know His God. 

So for 28 years, Patrick lived and served among the very  people who kidnapped him and  enslaved him!  Over time, the once “barbaric and pagan land” became a Christian Nation! 

So we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year on March 17th, which is believed to be  the date of Patrick’s death in 493 AD.

So before you raise your pint of Guinness today remember St. Patrick and the St. Patrick’s of the world that brought the good news of Jesus Christ to you and me – and before you drink it all down, remember that you and I are called to do the same – to share the good news of the Gospel to all the world!!

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19&20

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!  CHEERS EVERYONE!!

 

 

 

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February 14, 2014

The Stillness Project

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.   Isaiah 30:15

So far, this year has been amazing but super busy. Most days I feel like I’m running around in circles just trying to get a few steps forward. Then I have days where I feel like I accomplish a lot, but there’s no real significance. Do you ever feel like this? Maybe we stay busy because we are trying to save ourselves from something – heartache, failure, loss. Perhaps it’s because we are trying to save something for ourselves – money, power, reputation, stuff… The list goes on and on. Sometimes, life begins to feel like a huge carnival ride that’s stuck in on position. We learn to make the best of it and try not to barf on ourselves or others. Unfortunately, this describes my Christian walk a lot of the time. Sometimes I feel the more I just smile and do, the better I will become.

This theology is preached a lot with our lives but never really shows up in the pages of holy scripture. Take a look at the life of Jesus in the gospels, a quick peek at Isaiah 30, or Psalm 46 and you begin to realize we need to stop the ride, maybe even jump off completely.

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Two weeks ago, a spiritual mentor reminded me of the incredible need for stillness in my life. After our talk, I realized I had to evacuate the carnival ride of the christian walk. The ride where going and doing are necessities and presenting a good costume is key. Instead, I need to be real and really still. I need to be quiet before God. I need to stop striving and start listening. Maybe these are things we all need?

I am learning to be still this year and to rest in God. It is also my prayer for all Christ followers. In this crazy, loud world we live in, it is my hope that we will all slow down. Out of this hope, a little compilation CD was born –The Stillness Project. It’s some of my old songs and a few new ones. I’m giving it away with the help of Noise Trade. My prayer is that these songs will speak to you and encourage you to be still and listen. Maybe in the quiet, you will hear God whisper in your ear, ever so sweetly, a resounding, I love you.  May we all learn to be still. May we all truly realize that in repentance and rest (in Christ) is our salvation, in quietness and trust (in Christ) is our strength.

“Be still and know that I am God”. Psalm 46:10a

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