Saturday, March 18, 2006

One week later. . .

I'm trying to find the balance between staying involved and running for cover. A big part of me wants to just let everything drop while I sink into the slough of despond. The logical part, however, knows that I have to keep on keeping on. I do need to reassess some of my involvement in some areas. I was gone every night last week, except for Friday when I couldn't make the retreat meeting because I needed to take the dog to the vet. I'm just overly busy right now and it's my fault.

I did spend some much needed time writing the press release for the National Day of Puppetry and a script for "The Three Billy Goats Gruff". I've been wanting to create a puppet show that I can do solo. TBGG is the first attempt.

I'm also costuming and set dressing "The Lion in Winter" for Bread and Circus. I get to play with medieval costuming and that's always fun. I will have to build some things from scratch.

So, after writing this three times and having it crash twice when I put in the html code for the links, I'm hoping to press publish and go to bed.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

How Old Are You?

With all my aches and pains and having it hard to stay up late, I've been worried about starting to act my age. Of course I'm hanging out with people my age, but I don't want to act my age. So, I just took this test and here are the results. Let me know how old you are.

You Are 22 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Full of the Word

Music in church is such a complex thing. Who could have thought that singing praises to the Lord could be so full of controversy? More hymns! More praise and worship! More music! More teaching! Where's the balance?

For me, I find it in Colossians 3:16. Read it in several translations you'll discover that we're probably breaking the sentence up incorrectly. The KJV and the NASB both take the position that we're to teach and admonish in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. For a teaching church, it's the logical translation.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (KJV).

But, when we teach and admonish, we use more than psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Is this exactly what Paul meant? Compare this passage, however, with the NIV translation:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms,hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

The parallel that Paul has created is evident in this version. There are clearly two ways the word dwelling in you manifests: through wisdom in teaching and admonishing and in singing thanks to God.

Putting this translation into practice, we find that the worship or music portion of the service is just as important as the teaching portion of the service. They are both the result of letting the word of God richly dwell within us. In a church where the music portion of the service is meant solely to prepare hearts for worship through the study of the word, it's challenging to think that thanking God through song is equally important.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

The residue of darkness: The old man belief system

Pascal wrote that there is a God-shaped hole in each of us--a vacuum waiting to be filled by God. But we find so many other things to fill it. When man was created he had a direct link to God, but the fall broke that link and left us utterly alone, feeling worthless, and separated from Father. Man is built to fellowship, to commune, but sin has left that God-shaped hole.

We try to fill the hole with other people, with things, with money, with activities, with power, but it doesn't work. We always seem to need a little more than we have. If we could have just a little more we'd be satisfied. But, that's the lie. We'll never be satisfied apart from God.

Relationships fail because we have unfair expectations about each other. We expect the other person to fill the void, but they expect the same from us. It is when we stop expecting other people to be our savior and turn to the one Savior that we can actually find fulfillment and worth.

The residue of darkness, however, is that old man belief system. It's the old pattern of expecting people, postion, and things to fill the void. In fact, it takes a daily, sometimes constant, habit of telling the old man to stop trying and allow God to fill the gap.

It's an odd habit to get into. When something strikes a chord that produces and emotion, whether it is anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, examine the emotion. Pinpoint its source, and determine if the old man is taking control.

Recently, I was forced by an emotional outburst to examine whether I was finding my worth in my ministry or in my God. Perhaps there is a hint of pride connected to the ministry, but I eventually concluded that I could give up the ministry without feeling a loss of my worth. I passed that test.

That has not always been the case. There have been times when what I do is who I am. That is the American way, is it not? If we are talking with a new acquaintance isn't one of the first questions asked, "What do you do?" In our culture it establishes who you are and what you are worth. Let's say that one works at McDonald's. The average person will look down on the employment as a substandard job. But maybe that person is using the job as a opportunity to save money to go on mission trips. They work at McDonald's because they can leave their job and return without effecting their position. What then is the more important answer to "What do you do?" Do you work at McDonald's, or are you a missionary?

Where to do you find your worth? If you're looking in the darkness trying to find someone or something to make you feel important, then you're looking in the wrong place. Look to the light. Only God can fill that God-shaped hole.