Friday, April 25, 2008

Prayer After Speaking at the J. High retreat


My soul is not at ease. I don’t know exactly what it is. I don’t know how to place this feeling. I don’t like speaking. I think that’s it. I think I thought that I did. But I surely don’t.  I don’t feel like I communicate well. I fear that my words are crafted to suit the ears of men rather than to be pleasing to You, to pierce hearts and convict, to encourage, and to proclaim Your greatness. I am a worm and not a man. I have no good but You. I can do nothing good apart from You. You alone are worthy to be praised. Blessed be Your name, O Great Father.

I just pray that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing to You, my God. I pray that Your words of power and truth would not fall upon deaf ears, but that they would level our souls, that our prides would not be left standing in Your Spirit’s wake. Let us be laid to rest; let us be humbled. O that Your name alone would be great. Jesus wake souls up from the dead! Create in us pure hearts, O God. Renew us in Your unfailing love. Let us not stand upon our own strength, but upon grace and grace alone, for there is nothing more. We get you. If we persevere, if we continue in our faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out for us in the gospel, you give us the right to sit with you on your throne in heaven. For eternity. What endless joy and perfect peace will be found there. There is no one like You and no god but you. To whom will I compare You? Or who is Your equal? Who can stay your hand or say to You, “What have You done?” You need nothing, as if You could be served by human hands. At Your name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He never changes. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.

Who is like our God? He does as He pleases. It pleases Him to be with His children. To meet them, while they were yet sinners. He died for the ungodly. He who knew no sin became sin for us to reconcile us to God. He rose from the grave, and now He is seated at the right hand of God.

Thank you, Father. Thank you, Spirit. Thank you, Savior. I would be blind without You. I would be dead. Lead me back to the cross in repentance. May I stand in awe of who You are and what You have done.

It was never about what I could do or what I could say. It was never up to me to save any of these students. Only Your Spirit can bring people to Yourself. If you had wanted them to be here before 1140, You would have brought them here before then. Your plans are perfect, and You never fail. Thank You for that. Thank you for saving a sinner as twisted and as vile as me. Thank You for teaching me how to love on them, even if I am not as skilled at communicating with them as I wish I was.

Thank You that my words are death, and Yours are life. Thank You that I can do nothing on my own strength. Thank You that nothing is too hard for You. Move in power this weekend. Change hearts forever for Your name’s sake. May community and fellowship be built from this place. May walls be torn down and hearts restored. May Your name alone be exalted and lifted up. Praise the name of Jesus. He’s my rock. He’s my fortress, the only one I can fully trust. He has never let me down. He has always been there when I needed Him. Praise His incomparable name.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

La Musique- The Best of Fall 2007

Songs that were new (at least to me) during the summer & fall of 2007.

Best of Fall 2007

1. Iron & Wine- Boy With a Coin

-Genius song on an otherwise let-down of an album. 

2. Rufus Wainwright- Going to a Town

-I love Rufus. This song is majestic & dark. A killer combo.

3. Robert Plant & Allison Krauss- Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)

4. Wild Sweet Orange- Ten Dead Dogs

-Hopefully a sign of greater things to come from a fantastic local band.  

5. Josh Ritter- The Temptation of Adam

-Life-changing love song. The lyrics are astounding. This is seriously one of the most amazing love songs I have heard in my entire life. Ritter is undeniably brilliant.

6. Fiona Apple- Extraordinary Machine

-I'm not sure that I've heard anything quite like this song.

7. Feist- 1234

-Hopelessly catchy. Just ask Keith Davis.

8. The Apples in Stereo- Same Old Drag

-Hopelessly catchy track from a hopelessly catchy, hopelessly optimistic album.

9. The Triceratops- I’m Sold

-Stewart is a stud. Simple. Unadorned. Beautiful. What a great local band

10. Amy Winehouse- Rehab

-She can sing. Even if she is a cracked-out tramp.

11. The Avett Brothers- The Ballad of Love & Hate

-Fiendishly clever folk-love song about two lovers: Love & Hate.

12. David Gray- The World to Me

13. The Weepies- Gotta Have You

14. Ray LaMontagne- Hobo Blues

15. Fionn Regan- Put a Penny in the Slot

-Plays guitar like Nick Drake, but he can sing. I read a review that said he was "Ireland's answer to Bright Eyes." He's not nearly as pissed off.

16. St. Vincent- Marry Me

-She is amazing. She used to play with Sufjan and open for Jose Gonzalez. 

17. Bishop Allen- The News from Your Bed

-Listen to the 30 second clip on ITunes and TRY not to buy this brilliant pop song

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stolen Words

I've tried to turn this into a song for a little while, but I haven't had much luck. I think I get too depressed when I work on it. The lyrics are still very much in the rough stage, but they don't have a melody to be crafted into, so it's been hard to work with them. I got the idea from a post-secret that read something like this: "I realized yesterday that I only love her because she loves me. It's not reason enough to stay, but it's still not enough to leave." I tried to craft the scene around that confession.

"Stolen Words"

Daylight cuts through the blinds in ribbons
And the light lays the whites across your skin
I roll over and give a tug against the sheets
And see the blush that's still clinging to your cheeks

Remember how the frosted air had colored them
The night our firm resolve gave way to sin?
You were cold; I took you in; we drank all night, and then slept in

But these thin walls could not contain
The guilt I couldn't place, the fear I couldn't name
and, oh, that unutterable shame

o how quickly three magic words leapt from my heart into your ears
They ran like lidocaine through your veins, dissolving every fear
I wasn't sure I meant them, but they sure sounded nice to hear

In these still moments, I'm alone with my thoughts
I feel the coming wrath that those words hath surely wrought
I can see the sickening truth of it all
How my clever, stolen words made you fall

As you sleep, I dream of ways I could deny
That every tender word I spoke was a godforsaken lie
Because I know now I only love you because you love me
It's not enough reason to stay, no, and not enough to leave
You dream of children, I dream of ways to flee
And now I see.... finally....
That indescribable something that drives men to cheat

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Proverbial Wisdom

“The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: the Lord gives sight to them both” –Proverbs 29:13


I had been taught to “love his neighbor as himself” and to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” but  this verse captured my attention further. If we grasp this, we can stare our brother’s killer in the eyes and forgive. Why? Because we understand that it is the Lord who has given us both sight, that God has ordained both of our steps, both of us are made in His image, both of us are undeserving of grace and deserving of eternal punishment for our treasonous rebellion, both of us experience his common grace every day. We can see that even this unfathomable sin will work for His glory- even this shall be made right.


“I am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man’s understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know! Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to his words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar. Two things I ask of you, O Lord, do not refuse me before I die;; keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” –Proverbs 30:2-9

My attempt at "Such Great Heights" on the banjo