About Me

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Blogger, Christ-follower, Encourager, Friend, Husband, Dad

Monday, February 24, 2014

I sing because it matters.

(photo credit: Wise Choices Gala 2012)

Music has always been a big part of my life.  I sang my first solo in church at the age of 3, almost 30 years ago.  Oh, wait.  Did I say 30?  Ok, almost 50 years ago.  Honesty and integrity can be tough taskmasters!

Music, in general, and singing, in particular, have been constant throughout my life’s journey.  No matter what else gets added, or even moves to the forefront, I’m still a singer.  I don’t make my living at it, but it is one of those words that make the short list of what I consider to be descriptors of my identity.

In the past few years, I find myself singing much more often for causes.  Just this past weekend, I sang for two different fundraiser events that are causes that are close to my heart.  For the third consecutive year, I emceed the fundraiser gala for the Pregnancy Resource Center of Bowie.  This year, I was also given the opportunity to provide musical entertainment during seating and dinner.  I sang for an hour and a half and, hopefully, helped people enjoy dinner and put them in the mood to give generously to this life changing ministry.  

The very next night, I did a fundraiser concert at the First Baptist Church of Paradise to raise money for church members to go on mission trips to Mexico, Brazil, and Costa Rica. This is the second time I've done this at FBCP and I love it so much that I would be willing to do it at any church to help them raise money for missions.

My next “singing for a cause” event will be on Thursday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. and you are invited.  I am partnering with my friends at the First Baptist Church in Decatur to host the Singing Men of North Central Texas in a free concert. I’ve been singing with this awesome men’s choir for 5 years and I promise you won’t be disappointed.  While it is not a fundraiser per se, there will be an offering received that will go toward our next planned mission trip to Ukraine in April, 2015.  If you’ve been watching the news lately you know what a strategic place in the world that is.  Please consider this a personal invitation to my readers to be my special guests at this concert.

Those are just a few examples of “singing for a cause” but there is a greater cause that keeps me singing.  I sing because my life matters to God.  I sing because He gave me the gift of music and continues daily putting a renewed song of praise in my heart and mouth. (Take a look at Psalm 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1)

What do you do in acknowledgement that your life matters to God?  What are the words that describe your identity?  You don’t have to be a singer.  Be the “you” God created.

And be that “you” because it matters.

Leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear how you express your "you".

Monday, February 17, 2014

How deep is your love?

(photo credit: mountainjackpot.com)

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.  No, I’m not referencing Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities. I’m referencing the music of the 1970’s, my formative teenage years.  Ask almost any adult about their favorite music and the most likely answer will be whatever was popular during the decade between their 15th and 25th birthdays.  For me that was 1976-1986.  Best. Music. Ever.

Unfortunately, that time period also included disco.  

I still recall Casey Kasem counting down the American Top 40 Hits at the end of the year.  “1978 will be known as the Year of the Bee Gees!”  Five of the top 10 songs of that year were sung either by the Bee Gees (Brothers Gibb) or their little brother Andy.  Thankfully Queen (We Will Rock You / We are the Champions) and Kansas (Dust in the Wind) redeemed the year for me.

One of those Gibb tunes was “How Deep is Your Love.”  Man, were there a lot of sad, hormonal teenagers asking that question! And, as with most teen romances, we found out the answer to that question was, “Not very.”  Fortunately, I found one whose love was deep and who drew the depths of love out of me.  Mrs. Sweetie and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this summer.

I found more about the depth of love almost 26 years ago when I started the journey of fatherhood.  Those young ‘uns are all grown up and married now, but I am often overwhelmed at how much I love them.  We just spent a weekend with them in Amarillo and I came away with an incredible sense of how blessed and proud I am to be their dad (and dad-in-law).  If they were to ask me, “How deep is your love for us,” I would have to tell them that they can’t touch the bottom of that pool.

I have to acknowledge, however, that there is a depth of love that makes mine look like a leaky kiddy pool.  Ephesians 3:14-18 says, “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” (New Living Translation)

That’s not a pool.  That’s an ocean so deep it can’t really be measured. The best way I show the depth of my love is to point to the depth of the love of the One to whom our lives matter most.

Sit and think about that one for awhile.  I’m praying that you are overwhelmed. 

What is your response to the depth of God's love?

Leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear your perspective.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I can't wait to get on the road again!

(photo credit: Sorry, I can't remember where I found this one)

Mrs. Sweetie and I love to travel. One of the things we like most is the ability to stop at interesting places we see along the road.  I described our vacation a couple of years ago as our “Texas Tour of Diners, Thrift Stores, and Pawn Shops”.  For us, the trip matters as much as the destination.

For me, writing a weekly blog/newspaper column is much the same.  I am often asked how I manage to find something to write about every week.  The people who ask this usually ask because they can’t imagine coming up with new content that frequently.  The simple truth is that I can’t either.  Many times (like today, for example).  I just start typing and see where it goes.  I don’t have the destination planned in advance.  I’m just driving along looking for an interesting place to visit.

Fortunately, I am not composing the next great American novel, a revision of the Declaration of Independence, or a new translation of the Bible, so the pressure to be brilliant and/or profound is off (lucky for me and you).  I’m just sharing some observations along the journey of life and seeing where I notice God showing up.  I thought about saying that I am writing “reflections on the intersection of life and God”, but that’s really not a very good way to live.  We are missing a lot of the life that God intends if we are only occasionally intersecting with Him.

So, maybe I am writing “reflections on the parallel paths of life, walking side by side with God.” That one at least sounds like God and I are going the same direction, but I am really looking for something more than simply knowing that I am going the right direction on a parallel path. I want the intersection.  I want those moments when I am completely surrendered to and overwhelmed by a sense of His presence. 

So, what kind of reflections am I really seeking to share?  What is it about this journey that matters most?  Then I remembered the first four verses of Colossians chapter 3:

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory." [Colossians 3:1-4, New Living Translation, emphasis mine]

That’s it!  The goal is not that we be on parallel paths; it is that we are on the same path. Our lives matter so much to God that He wants us traveling His path: what I call the Christ-life.

Hmmm … “reflections of a Christ-life traveler”.  Let’s roll! I can’t wait to get on the road again.

How do you reflect on the journey of your life?

Leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear your perspective.

Monday, February 3, 2014

How to avoid Foot in Mouth Disease

(photo credit: dododreams.blogspot.com)

“He put his foot in mouth.”  I was pondering that phrase this morning and wondering about its origin.  I did some internet research and found that there is no definitive answer.  

One article suggested: “One possible point of origin for this phrase traces it back to Irish Parliamentarian Sir Boyle Roche, who was sort of an 18th-century equivalent to (former U.S. Vice President) Dan Quayle. Roche once said, ‘Half the lies our opponents tell about me are not true!’ Someone with a much firmer grasp of the English language remarked of Roche, ‘Every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it,’ and a phrase was born”.

Sound good to me. It was on the internet, so it must be true.

I am doing something today that I don’t think I have ever done. At least I don’t remember doing it (which is NOT an example of foot in mouth).  I am writing twice in one day on the same subject.  Many of you do not know that I write two blogs.  Life Matters, which many of you read in the newspaper, has been around longest (almost 18 years in some form). 

I started writing a second blog last November.  Dr. G’s Morning Cup of Encouragement (www.drgencouragement.blogspot.com) is a daily (except Friday) encouraging devotional based on my own morning devotional reading and prayer.  Usually about ¼ the length of a Life Matters post, I’d love for you to check it out if that sounds interesting.

This morning’s post was based on Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” I wrote that a mouth filled with praise doesn’t have much room for criticism (or a foot). You’ll have to go online if you want to see the rest (shameless plug … again, NOT an example of foot in mouth).

Now, if I were to say that people who read my newspaper column are not as savvy as those who read my blogs, THAT would be an example of foot in mouth. Or if I were to say that people who read only blogs are disconnected from what is happening in their local community, THAT would be an example of foot in mouth. 

It seems to me that one common symptom of foot in mouth is a judgmental attitude and a lack of sensitivity to those who will hear.  By “sensitivity”, I don’t mean the politically correct sensitivity that is concerned that someone might be offended.  I mean being aware of people, seeing the value of each person and the unique contribution he or she brings to the ongoing conversation of living in community.

Psalm 34:1 reminds me that the best things I can say are based on observation of what God is doing among people whose lives matter to Him. If we can’t find something praiseworthy before we criticize …

… maybe we should stick a foot in there until we can.

Question:  How can you be more intentional about your words?

Leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear your perspective.