Archive for the 'Art' Category

Becoming

By drewJanuary 4th, 2012Art, Blog, Leadership, Music Biz, WorshipNo Comments

Like life, art is both beautiful and hideous, happy and sad, light and dark.  In my opinion, the only good art is that which is true.  If art makes us feel something deep in the core of our souls, it’s because of truth, something reflected in paint, or stone, photograph or music that resonates within us is reminding us of our dreams, our love, our fear, and our pain.  When we as artists create at a level that moves people, we’ve earned the highest honor of creativity, a true reflection of Imago Dei (the Image of God).  In my experience, the most powerful expressions of art are those that come from context.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul”

Horatio Spafford penned these lyrics as his ship neared the tragic location where his 4 daughters perished only weeks before in a shipwreck. For nearly 150 years this hymn has reminded the church that in the middle of pain and brokenness, God is still there, giving us His peace that passes all understanding. I can’t imagine the loss and pain that Spafford was dealing with, but I’m glad he shared his pain and hope with us. It’s at these pivotal moments that we too should write and express our pain, questions and struggles through music or art.  As songwriters and storytellers we have to give full disclosure in what we’re walking through. As we lament or celebrate different seasons in life, we should faithfully translate the condition of our souls into tangible expressions that not only connect us to the lives and experiences of others, but helps us to heal and grow in the process.

Abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock once said: “Every good painter, paints what he is”. In other words, the finest and most sincere form of art is one that reflects who we really are, where we’ve been, or what we hope to become. The problem with much of our “Christian” music is that we’ve been too afraid to be that honest or open about who we really are and what we’re really wrestling with.  So instead of free handing the truth of our lives, we’ve begun to trace over what seems to work in our genre and sell in our bookstores or play on our radio stations.  It’s easy to fall into that trap, but my prayer for us is that we dare to create from the raw places of who we are, what God has allowed in our lives and the beauty of redemption in the gospel of Jesus. That story is worthy of nothing less than originality, risk and passion. God will use the ups and downs of the day to day to chip away at who we’ve been until He only sees who we can be.

Hebrews 6:1 (MSG) So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.

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The Scarlet Letter

By drewApril 11th, 2011Art, Blog, Featured, Marriage/Family, The Church1 Comment
Scarlet Letter Pic

I think it was about the eighth grade or so that we read the classic story of The Scarlet Letter.  Though I remember understanding the moral of the story, I had never felt what the stories main character must have. One thing we know how to do quite well is to ostracize people.  People who are different, look different, live different, they’re usually the first to wear our badge of shame.  I was a jock in Jr. High, a thug.  The school year picture from seventh grade was sort of angelic and innocent, where my eighth grade picture reveals someone completely different.  When I look at those pictures, I see a child wanting to be seen as a man, or at least someone searching for identity and acceptance.  I seemed to have found some of it in being tough, fighting, cussing, smoking, and rebellion.  I see those two pictures, and at first want to laugh.  To laugh about my immaturity, my lack of awareness or sense of fashion.  But I think it saddens me more than it entertains me.  Seeing these two is a peek into the days of my innocence lost. The beginning of caring about what people think, starving for approval, and the creation of a personality that someone else wanted. This was not exactly the child that was created by God and raised by my parents. In those days I was one of the guys that felt he had the right to label people and put people down to lift myself up. I’ve been on that side of labeling; of accusing and pointing out others ‘specks’ though in my own eye was a tree of sin and mistakes.

I haven’t thought about that old book since those years of awkward adolescence, until recently.  I didn’t have an affair or have some moral failure that would cause a community to cast me out, but I have felt shame, I have felt ostracized and lonely and as a result I’ve thought about all the poor souls that too have felt on the outside, guilty of wrong or not, they’ve, we’ve been pushed to the side and had to find life outside of the world we’ve known. I’ve become so much more compassionate for those who’ve been misunderstood, who don’t fit in, or for whatever reason has just been sidelined.  I didn’t feel this as a kid, I was usually picked early on during sports and never felt the shame of being the kid the last team had to accept.  I can’t imagine that feeling as a child, but I know now as an adult, the sting is as sharp and the sadness as valid.  For many who live a season of their lives with a “scarlet letter” it sticks for longer than the season of scandal and reaches into other years and aspects of life, creating a personality decorated with dark colors and sunken shoulders and overwhelming sorrow. These walking wounded may have actually had an affair or divorce or committed some crime, and so they each have been labeled with their own letter representative of the offense.  Yet others like myself, though not guilty of some heinous sin, still feel labeled. I was let go recently from my job.  Not for poor performance or anything inappropriate, but for preference or cutbacks or some other reason I’m still unsure of.  Since that happened, I’ve struggled tremendously with shame, sadness and self-doubt.  I know who I am, how I’ve lived my life with integrity and passion for excellence and holiness, yet I’ve found myself shaken to the core.  Part of it goes back to that little eighth grader hoping for approval and having not gotten it.  Some of the pain is from what feels like betrayal and a lack of communication.  My loss of community and position has made me feel like there’s a “scarlet letter” on my life.  It could be an “F” for fired, or an “N” for not good enough, or even an “L” for loser.  I’ve felt all of them, but in my heart I know none of them represents me.  These last several months have made me sensitive to so many who would never darken the doors of the church because they hide under their own letters, letters that have been put on them or letters they’ve put on themselves. Either way I’ve noticed how very easy it is to be found in those descriptions instead of what’s true.

The truth is that I am identified with Christ (Gal. 3:26, 28) that I’m hidden in Christ (Col. 3:1-4) that I’m complete in Christ (Col. 2:9-10) that I’m His friend (John 15:15) that I am strengthened by Christ (Phil 4:13) that I’m chosen by Christ (John 15:16, Col. 3:12) that I’m an expression of Christ (Col. 3:4) that He has a purpose for my life (Col. 1:16, Ps. 138:8) that I’m loved by Christ (John 3:16, Eph. 1:4).  It’s also truth that God is still working on me (Rom. 8:28, Phil. 1:6, Col. 2:7) so I know that He has allowed every day I’ve faced.  Some days hold joy and love sweeter than life itself, and others pain, confusion, and darkness that find us on our faces crying out for help and healing. Both are being used of God to create in us the image of Jesus and who He is and a dependence on our God.

Have you ever felt labeled?  Do you ever feel like people have already made their mind up about you, without trying to know you or understand the situation? Maybe you’ve believed a lie, or forgotten the truth of who you are and who God is in you.  You, we are not alone.  Our prayers and songs and hearts ring out with the voice of experience.  We KNOW God is faithful, we KNOW God provides, we KNOW He loves us.  Without walking through moments and seasons of struggle, we would never know the depths of God’s love and goodness.

I think it’s time we change the letter. It still remains a “Scarlet” one however, bathed in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for us, redeemed by His love. “F” for forgiven, or “L” for loved, or even “C” for child of the Almighty God.  It’s not easy but we have to find our identity in truth, in God. We are more than how we feel or what someone thinks of us.  We will be found in Him, we will be identified by Him, we will live and move and have our being in the One who gives us life.

Psalm 23 (Message)

A David Psalm

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.

You have bedded me down in lush meadows,

you find me quiet pools to drink from.

True to your word,

you let me catch my breath

and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through

Death Valley,

I’m not afraid

when you walk at my side.

Your trusty shepherd’s crook

makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner

right in front of my enemies.

You revive my drooping head;

my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me

every day of my life.

I’m back home in the house of God

for the rest of my life.

* Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of “The Scarlet Letter” (1850), regarded this painting, which William Walters commissioned from Merle in 1859, as the finest illustration of his novel. Set in Puritan Boston, the novel relates how Hester Prynne was publicly disgraced and condemned to wear a scarlet letter “A” for adultery. Arthur Dimmesdale, the minister who fathered her child, and Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s elderly husband, appear in the background.

Merle’s canvas reflects some of the same 19th-century historical interest in the Puritans as Hawthorne’s book, a fascination that reached its peak with the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863. By depicting Hester and her daughter, Pearl, in a pose that recalls that of the Madonna and Child, Merle underlines “The Scarlet Letter”’s themes of sin and redemption.

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Transparent Leadership

By drewJanuary 7th, 2011Art, Blog, Featured, Leadership, The Church1 Comment
iStock_000013160309Small

Romans 7:17-20 (Message)

17 -20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

I’ve always loved this scripture because it makes me not feel so bad about myself.  If Paul can be this candid and blunt – totally transparent about how he struggles with his sin, than I can too.  It’s always been comforting knowing that this amazing saint was such a screw up .  Why is it then that we pastors so often come across like we know everything, like we’ve figured out this faith, and we can ‘answer any question you’d like to ask’? Whether you know it or not the world looks at us pastors and thinks we’re fake.  According to a new study on what non-Christians think about us, overwhelmingly, they think our lives and words are empty, so much so this study ended up as a book called “UnChristian”.  How did this “perfect” posture become our example to lead people in their faith journeys?  If Paul could openly write this honest confession to those he was trying to mentor in church leadership, why can’t we be transparent about who we are and how we struggle?  The world doesn’t have a problem with the fact that we make mistakes and are human, they have a problem with how we deal with those mistakes, how we hide from truth instead of humbly embracing it and dealing with our sin honestly.  Perhaps that’s how Paul was able to attract and reach so many, because he wasn’t the haughty, perfect, pious Pharisee he used to be, but instead just a broken sinner with a loving and forgiving God.

We so often live and worship as though we’re pleading with God to come near with one hand and holding Him off with the other, what’s our problem? Why is this Christian life so hard to live? Why do we sometimes feel like Paul, going crazy in the cycle of faith and fear or living holy or heathen?  Only Jesus was able to walk this line of humanity and holiness perfectly and that’s why we need Him so desperately.  He gives us the grace to own our failures and the truth to help us change. 

You may not see the inconsistency that we as Christians can so often portray but the world does, in fact if you’re a pastor – your church does. Many business books talk about leading strong, making decisions and staying the course, even if you’ve made a bad decision or regret how you’ve led, don’t show weakness, but keep your head up and keep going in the same direction. That’s not good leadership, that’s arrogance and a HUGE lack of awareness – in fact it’s sin.  People may be littered in your wake as you’ve forged ahead in your decisions to succeed, but souls lay casualties in your path from your calloused heart to the Spirit and insatiable ego to do more – Please STOP! Don’t forget that people, are your mission, not your strategy to grow or come across as in control.  And for the love, please admit your mistakes and brokenness before those you lead.  It’s what Paul did, He didn’t seem to have a problem owning his mistakes and talking about them, airing them and apologizing for them.  Let’s not try to come off as perfect or like we’ve figured out every mystery of life and the universe, but instead open our eyes and be honest about our struggles or mistakes and, like Paul, talk about it, lead with humility and transparency – brokenness, only then will the world, and your church, see the beauty and redemption in our God.

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A Soul’s Worth

By drewDecember 31st, 2010Art, Blog, Marriage/Family, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
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This Christmas season I carried on with chores and work and family and all the other things that keep us busy from day to day. However, at this time of year, it’s all accompanied by a soundtrack of melodies and lyrics that repeat from year to year celebrating the birth of a King, a Savior.  I love Christmas music and as each song passes through one ear and out the other, my lips sing along without missing a beat, but rarely does my heart stop and reflect on the lyrics.  These Christmas songs are so familiar that we seem to sing them by rote and never consider the depth of truth and life given line by line, even word by word.

It was while I was hunched over my laptop recently that one of those old familiar Christmas songs caught my ear, as I looked up, thinking I’d see some children’s show on my TV, I notice that the lyric to the familiar song was going across the screen and though the strength of the melody didn’t catch my heart, the power in seeing the lyric did.  The line was “He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth”.  We all know this line from the beautiful 19th century poem turned Christmas classic “O Holy Night”.  This one phrase had given me pause before but not enough for me to really dig in and considered it.  I think this time was different because I’ve been in a place lately asking God to remind me of who I was, not what I had done or even wanted to do, but who He had made me to be. I wasn’t even interested in knowing what my childhood, or mistakes, or dreams had created in me, but specifically that He would remind me that my identity is in Him.  As I’ve thought and prayed about it, I’ve realized that my identity is deeply connected to my value, my worth.  I’m not talking about my self-worth, though what I believe about who God says He is and what God says about me determines what I believe about myself. I’m talking about my literal value. What am I worth? If I could determine my value or worth than I can determine how I should feel about who I was, my identity.  As I began to consider my value in that light, I’m reminded of an old saying “An objects value is determined by whatever someone will pay for it”.  Some old broken, worn out item may be junk to me, but have enormous value to someone else. They may be willing to pay top dollar for that piece because they value it for whatever reason.  I thought about that phrase and how my life in so many ways may seem like a broken, worn-out piece of junk to some, but that this King whose birth we celebrate, sees me and wants me.  He values me.  His value given to me gives me my worth, my identity.  I know who I am because I’ve been bought with a price, valued by the King, and loved with a sacrificial transaction.  Jesus blood for my sin.  My shame for His joy. His death for my life.
This is New Years Eve, we look back at a year of life and lessons both joyful and tumultuous but all beautiful in the light that Jesus “makes all things new”, that He uses “our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”. We look to a new year, new hope, new lessons, and new life in the One who gives us life “more abundantly”.  Our hope and peace, and worth is in our God!

Don’t take my word for it!!! (Keep reading!!)

Who Am In Christ?

All bible verses (quotes) quoted in NIV

I am accepted…

John 1:12 I am God’s child.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Romans 5:1 I have been justified.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Colossians 1:13-14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 2:9-10 I am complete in Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

Hebrews 4:14-16 I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I am secure...

Romans 8:1 I am free from condemnation.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:28 I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31-39 I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:”For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughter”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Colossians 3:1-4 I am hidden with Christ in God.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Philippians 1:6 I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

I am significant…

John 15:5 I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God’s temple.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Who Am I in Christ?

I am a child of God; God is spiritually my Father.
Romans 8:14,15

because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Galatians 3:26

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

I am a new creation in Christ; old things have passed away and all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

I am in Christ.
Galatians 3:26,28

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

I am an heir with the Father and a joint heir with Christ.
Galatians 4:6.7

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, ” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Romans 8:17

Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

I am reconciled to God and am an ambassador of reconciliation for Him.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

I am a saint.
Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

1 Corinthians 1:2
to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ their Lord and ours:

Philippians 1:1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ for good works.
Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I am a citizen of heaven.
Ephesians 2:19

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household

Philippians 3:20
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ

I am a member of Christ’s body.
1 Corinthians 12:27

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

I am united to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:17

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

I am the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.

I am a friend of Christ.
John 15:15
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I am a slave of righteousness.
Romans 6:18
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God

I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I am enslaved to God.
Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

I am chosen and ordained by Christ to bear fruit.
John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

I am a prisoner of Christ.
Ephesians 3:1
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles Ephesians 4:1
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

I am righteous and holy.
Ephesians 4:24
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I am hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:3
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

I am the salt of the earth.
Matthew 5:13
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness,how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything,except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”

I am the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

I am part of the true vine.
John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

I am filled with the divine nature of Christ and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:4
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

I am an expression of the life of Christ.
Colossians 3:4
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience

1 Thessalonians 1:4
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you

I am a child of light.
1 Thessalonians 5:5
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

I am a partaker of a heavenly calling.
Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.

I am more than a conqueror though Christ.
Romans 8:37
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
I am a partaker with Christ and share in His life.
Hebrews 3:14
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first

I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house.
1 Peter 2:5
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

I am a chosen generation, a royal priest hood, a holy nation.
1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priest hood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

I am the devil’s enemy.
1 Peter 5:8
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

I am born again by the Spirit of God.
John 3:3-6
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

I am an alien and a stranger to this world.
1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

I am a child of God who always triumphs in Christ and releases His fragrance in every place.
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

I am seated in heavenly places in Christ.
Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus

I am saved by grace.
Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

I am a recipient of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
in Christ.
Ephesians 1-6 (The Whole book!)

I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Revelations 5:9
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

I am part of the Bride of Christ and am making myself ready of Him.
Revelations 19:7
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

I am a true worshiper who worships the Father in spirit and in truth.
John 4:24
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

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Lift Your Eyes::Perspective

By drewDecember 10th, 2010Art, Blog, WorshipNo Comments
Pic - Lift Your Eyes

The human heart is a funny thing.  Mine seems to continually be on some sort of rollercoaster most days, from the exhilarating heights of adventure and dreams made reality all the way to the valleys of despair and self-doubt.  My emotions can run the gamut from thankfulness to selfishness within a beat of my heart.  Sometimes I think it’s because I’m an artist.  We’re supposed to be melancholy and moody, in touch with our feelings yet have the clarity to write about them or make that feeling translate somehow through a piece of music.  History tells us that musicians used to be considered crazy and even put in mental institutions.  Now that seems a little harsh but then again I’ve met some pretty wacky musicians who maybe should’ve been considered.  I’m not bi-polar, or manic-depressive – I’m human.  We all face struggles and joys that cause our hearts to feel up and down, happy and sad, or just plain worn out.  But for those of us who know Christ we don’t have to just try and hang on for the ride but instead trust that there’s a hand hanging on to us.

Have you ever been deep-sea fishing? Or riding in the backseat of a car through some hilly terrain?  I remember riding with a friend through some winding roads one time and I began to feel sick.  My head was spinning and my stomach was following suit.  My friend said, “Look out the front window and find something to look at, something a long ways a way, and focus on it”.  He said, “If you stay focused on it then it will calm your mind and stomach and you won’t be focused on the rough terrain.”  I tried it, and to my amazement it worked!  I’ve now found myself giving that advice to people whom I’m driving around.  Somehow focusing on that one steady object can help you feel better.  I’m reminded of Peter who gregariously called out to Jesus, “If it’s You, allow me to come to you on the water”.  Jesus agrees and Peter hops out of an already rocky boat onto a turbulent sea.  He starts walking and then that old ‘rough terrain’ starts to get to him.  He looks up and calls to Jesus, “Save Me”.  Jesus reaches out and asks, “Why did you take your eyes off of me?”

There’s no doubt in my mind that you, like me and every other person on the planet, can get down, feel depressed, hopeless, alone, lost, and confused (you can add your own list of struggles here).  There will be days that we begin to feel our spirits beginning to crash and burn or our dreams unrealized, throwing us into a tail spin.  Remember these encouraging words from Psalm 121, to “lift your eyes”.  Don’t let the stuff of this world cause your hearts focus to blur and your spirit to crush but instead, raise your head, lift your eyes (physically and spiritually) to the Lord, adjust your focus from yourself, change your countenance, take a deep breath in God’s grace and like Peter, call out.  Jesus will hear you, He will save you and He will be the calm in your storm.  Sometimes it takes a while for us to focus, but once you’ve found that place of peace and strength in Christ, stay there.  Don’t rush that moment, trust that He will be all you need for whatever struggle you face.  Allow Him to settle your spirit and give you strength.  He promised He’d do it.

Do you need to stop for a while to focus on Him, on His plan for your life, on His goodness?  Don’t let your busy day keep you from His peace.

Psalm 121 (Message)

A Pilgrim Song

1-2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?

No, my strength comes from God,

who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won’t let you stumble,

your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.

Not on your life! Israel’s

Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God’s your Guardian,

right at your side to protect you—

Shielding you from sunstroke,

sheltering you from moonstroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,

he guards your very life.

He guards you when you leave and when you return,

he guards you now, he guards you always.

* The Pic was one I took around the Sea of Galilee in the Golan Heights at sunset.

“I Will (Lift My Eyes)” was written from this scripture (download it now if you’d like)

I Will (Lift My Eyes).Mp3

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