Songs of Greatest Impact

February 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm (Inspirational, Sights & Sounds) (, , , , , , , , )

I was in the car yesterday and in the middle of a time consuming detour, “Reject” by Living Sacrifice came up on my iPod. For those of you that are unaware of this Christian Hardcore/Metal milestone, Living Sacrifice was one of the bands that I believe was pivotal in ushering in a new era of clarity in message being expressed through a quality and relevant medium (ie Hardcore music). For those of you that have experienced this tasty treat, recall for a moment where you were at when Reject assaulted your eardrums and you were awakened to a reality where Christian music could challenge you as well as rock your face off.

As my long journey on roads never traveled, this detour through Memoriam (ha ha – Living Sacrifice’s last album) afforded me additional time to consider other milestone songs. I tried to compile the “best of” with these factors: 1) Song must have a clear message; 2) Song must inspire passion; 3) Song must be crisply executed (quality); 4) Must still be relevant today (still sounds good)

Hardcore: Reject by Living Sacrifice

Alternative: Jesus Freak by DC Talk

Contemporary:
Shine by Newsboys or Big House by Audio Adrenaline – “Secret Ambition” by Michael W. Smith deserves a nod and possibly should top the list, who was edgier than MWS in his initial era?

*I recognize there is a host of songs that church going folk will have been inundated with via Christian radio and even the “special music” from church – perhaps some of those belong on this list or maybe a separate category. Some of them may be jaded by their redundancy but a few that come to mind are “Mary Did You
Know” by Michael English; “Thank You” by Ray Boltz

Rap: “What Do You See” by Cross Movement
*I will admit that this is not a genre that I have extensive knowledge of, but I think most that enjoy this arena will have to recognize the impact that Cross Movement has had.

Ska: “Unite” by Supertones

Punk: “Never Die” by Dogwood (“Control” is also another great offering by Dogwood but slightly more mellow) “JCHC” by Officer Negative also came to mind
*I recognize that MxPx owns the most widespread audience as a Christian Punk Band but in the early days of their music where the message was clearest the quality wasn’t but perhaps “Teenage Politics” deserves a nod.

Hair Metal: “To Hell With The Devil” by Stryper

*Is there really any argument here? What was better at the time than yellow spandex and weapons that only the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had access to.

Before some of you music buffs go crazy and start rioting at my house, please note that this was mainly written on the fly with only my memories to serve me. This list is certainly up for discussion and I’d love to hear back from you all. Keep in the mind the (4) distinctives that I tried to use to guide this list.

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Spending Your Life

February 22, 2009 at 5:08 am (Biblei-Octopi) (, , , , , , )

I like to read while I am in the restroom. On this particular occasion I forgot to bring some current reading material with me so I grabbed some materials out of “the drawer” where some of the unfinished magazines and books find rest. I read a small section from a trade magazine and then grabbed “The E-Myth Contractor: Why Most Contractor’s Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”, a supplemental follow up to “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber. (As a side note, if you are looking for a book that will help you with directional values and to solidify business principles, I recommend The E-Myth Revisited)
I happened to turn to a section dealing with the subject of time:

The first thing you have to do is put Time into perspective. You’ve got to think of it as Time with a capital T…You must accept that you have only so much Time, that you’re using up that Time second by precious second. And that Time, your Time, your life, is the most valuable asset you have. Of course, you can use your Time any way you want. But unless you choose to use it as richly, as rewardingly, as excitingly, as intelligently, as fully, as intentionally as possible, you’ll squander it and fail to appreciate it. (pg 95,96)

This segment helped to bring home a principle that time is more than a component of life; in many senses time is life. How you spend your time is defining your life. The message of your life, the conclusion of your life (your legacy), is being written in time.

How altering is it to understand that spending time is more than just seconds turning into minutes, each second is life that you are spending and of which you have a limited supply?

If you are spending time in worthwhile pursuits then you can say that you are investing your life in what is important to you. If you feel that you are wasting time, you may very well be wasting life. Be careful where you invest your time for you are paying with your life, literally.

In practical terms, we exchange time for money, which means we are selling a portion of our lives for money. If we thought of the exchange rate of life for money, perhaps there would be fewer things that we were willing to pay for with our lives. There is much that we can waste our lives on, but there is also much that we can invest our lives in.

Life in this current measurement of time has a definite end. Christ spoke to the matter in this way, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NIV) Not that you can spend your time to earn salvation, but are you spending your life pursuing things that will give it back? Is what you are spending your life on worth the investment; worth the price of your life?

Jesus set the example of spending life (time) with God as well as investing his life (time) in the lives of others. Even though He died (on the cross), Christ says that He gave His life and did so to ransom many (Mark 10:45). Christ lived to fulfill the purpose that God had given Him. His life was very much intentional and He spent His time pursuing His purpose. God raised Christ to again demonstrate His power over death (the end of life). Christ died and rose to save the lives of others. Christ died to save your life and to bring great promise as well as purpose to the living of your life – the spending of your time.

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My last post (The Spiritual Reality of Busyness) promoted a series of messages by Michael Kennedy, the first of which confronts the cultural pressure of busyness and how this has largely been adopted in the lives of Christians as well as the church. 50 minutes well spent to help you identify and confront these cultural pressures that distort our focus and often cause us to spend our lives (time) unwisely.

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The Spiritual Realities of Busyness

February 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm (Biblei-Octopi, Words (Not Mine)) (, , , , , , )

Identify spiritual and cultural encumbrances that may be silently affecting your relationship with God and your effectiveness in completing the work he has put before you. This is a message of freedom from cultural pressures that if left un-confronted will distract and undermine your spiritual growth.

Enclosed is the link to the first in a series of messages from Pastor Micheal Kennedy of Faith Evangelical Free Church in Moline, IL.  If you need a formal introduction, here is Mike’s bio from the church website.

This series of messages serves to enlighten the followers of Christ on the roots of busyness, the effects of materialism and the often un-confronted cultural pressures that have been adopted even in the fabric of the believer’s thought process and the church at large. You are invited to take a humbling look into the principles of Scripture and the life of Christ and how completely different our current mindset is undermining what we often quote as our Christian mission. Allowing God’s word to test and weed out these hindrances, we can operate in the freedom and power of God’s Spirit.

Message 1 “Jesus and Simplicity (part 1)” from Sunday 01-04-09

Sermon Archive note messages entitled “Jesus and Simplicity”

I have a personal connection with Mike Kennedy as I enjoyed his love for God, love for others and practical-sincerity in his approach to Christianity. If you choose to listen through these messages, you may not have the relational context that I enjoy, but you will certainly benefit from the truths that are presented.

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Are You A Man?

February 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Biblei-Octopi, Parents, Words (Not Mine)) (, , , , , )

Mark Driscoll: A Study of Man From Genesis 1, 2 & 3

(Link to Audio)

In this study is not only a better understanding of the fall of Adam, the historical and current implications of that fall, but also a clear call to Biblical Manhood.

Noteworthy are the expositions on the spiritual priesthood of every man/father, the call to responsibility to be a man both for the unmarried as well as the married and clear directives/consequences of not fulfilling the Biblical call to be a man as God intended (generically in the sense of the definition of man and very specifically in the sense of being a Biblical man).

I believe this message is critical for men of all ages, but also a good message for women as you understand very practically what a Biblical man should be.

This is a worth while investment of 45 minutes of your life.  Warning, this is not a sugar coated message – if you are not offended something is wrong with your listening mechanism.

Let me know what you think.

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“What Happens When You Don’t Go To Heaven?”

February 9, 2009 at 7:36 am (Biblei-Octopi, Parents) (, , , , , , )

So, tonight we are reading a passage in a “children’s” Bible – you’ve probably read one with your kids – condensed message that outlines a bible story without a whole lot of details. Tonight’s story was about some friends who brought a blind man to Jesus to be healed and through the passage I was discussing with my 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son how important it is to choose and be a good friends.

I don’t recall how, but the conversation progressed into believing about Jesus and somewhere in there my daughter asked, “So what happens when you don’t go to heaven?”

I should preface by saying that my wife and I have a strong commitment to the principles of 1) being available to discuss ANY topic with our children and 2) not glossing over the truth but working to help our kids understand truth to the best of their ability to comprehend. The topics of hell and sex are obviously some of the biggest challenges to these principles, but here we are in real time.

“Well, heaven is where Jesus is, where those who believe in Him get to live with Him forever. When you don’t believe in Jesus, you go to a place called hell, that is where Jesus is not and it is not a very nice place at all. Those that do not believe in Jesus have to go to hell, where they will not be with Jeuse, they will be with the devil.”

6 year old daughter: “What does the devil look like?” (Note, this is a 6 year old and the progression of questions are quite logical but also reveal an exposure to spiritual topics and a hunger for truth)

“Well, he probably is very beautiful to some degree as he was created by God and had a very important job but decided that he wanted to be like God. Since only God can be God and the devil had decided to do something other than what God had created him for he had to be sent out of heaven.”

6: “Isn’t the devil red?”

“No, that is an incorrect creation of people, similar to many of our religious images (talked about the wimpy images of Jesus).”

6: “Did great grandpa go to heaven?”

“I didn’t know great grandpa really well and only Jesus decides who goes to heaven. From what I understand of great grandpa I don’t think that Jesus was a priority for him, I don’t know that he believed in Jesus.”

6: “So then he didn’t go to heaven?”

“I don’t know for sure because I didn’t know him but it would depend on whether he believed in Jesus.”

I don’t remember just how she worded it, but she mentioned something about when we die we our eyes are closed so we can’t see in heaven. We talked about physical bodies and spiritual bodies, I turned to Philippians 3:20, 21 and we discussed that we will have perfected physical bodies. Since the word transform was in the text and my children are quite familiar with Transformers, I used that as a discussion point to talk about transformation through Christ.

Some nights we have good discussions. Some nights the discussions are brief. I think the important thing is that there is an open format for spiritual discussion and when times like these come along, there isn’t a fear of diving into difficult topics. Tonight was about 45 minutes of deep topics all centering around heaven, hell and death.

As my wife and I were reflecting on the conversation, we were discussing the natural consequences of our commitments and the deeper truth that was revealed by our 6 year old. We were enlightened to just how much of a hunger for truth our 6 year old daughter was displaying, just how logically she was processing the information (granted, 6 year old logic, but none the less logical) but also the reality that she is receiving information that is of a spiritual nature with or without us. If we do not create an open door for our children to discuss ANY topic they will find some other source to feed them information about those topics. If we are not honest with our children, they will not get the information that they yearn for as they search for truth and the trust they have in us as a conduit for truth will deteriorate over time.

If you didn’t catch that, let me sum it up: IF YOU AREN’T DISCUSSING (fill in blank) WITH YOUR CHILD, SOMEONE ELSE IS. If you aren’t discussing spiritual things or sexual things or any other thing with your child, then someone else will and they probably won’t be framing topic in the proper moral context.

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A resource that has been pivotal in changing our mindset towards youth ministry and parenting has been “You Want To Pierce What?” by Walker Moore (available as a book and/or movie presentation). We were so blessed when we were working with youth to have attended a presentation at a SBC Youth Conference where Walker presented his ideas. What struck us was that you could tell Walker had put his time in understanding how not just to create a successful youth group but how to actually help youth develop into spiritually functioning adults.

Last I checked on Amazon there were 6 avaliable (92 cents plus shipping) – type in “You Want To Pierce What?”

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