Rest

Rest

When I started out in music I was 13. I started with drums and I played loud and often. I started playing in a garage band in high school and we wailed. All the time, every time. It was a frantic, disgusting wall of sound that assaulted and offended your ears. We freaking rocked. One mark of an experienced musician is that they know when NOT to play. It’s easy to play all the time; to wear out yourself, the song, and the band. In music, if you are deliberately refraining from playing, it’s called resting. Resting creates space. Space that allows the parts you do play to have more power, impact, and beauty. It allows space for others. It allows you to appreciate what is going on outside of yourself. My life is crazy and set to get even crazier in about a month when my second child arrives. There is no discernible rhythm to my life right now. I have a full time job and a part time job that I put in another 25 hours a week at. I need to find rest. My wife needs me to find rest. My family, my job, my health, and my walk with Jesus depend on it. Rest allows God to speak to you. To restore you. To refresh you. He designed it and He wants it for you. Psalm 62:1-2 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be...
Don’t Trash The Waiting Room

Don’t Trash The Waiting Room

I went to a new primary care physician last week. As always, I had to wait in the waiting room until the doctor was ready for me. I showed up on time with paperwork already filled out and still had to wait past my appointment time. I watched other people who got there after me and were late for their appointments get called before me. It didn’t seem fair. So, I picked up a chair and threw it through the window of the office. I then tore down the TV and smashed it over the head of the guy next to me. I cursed out the nurses at the front desk, and demanded that the doctor see me immediately. Not really. I read a magazine that told me that celebrities are just like us, because they also drink coffee, waited until they called me, and then went back and saw the doctor. I didn’t trash the waiting room. I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry. -Psalm 40:1 It’s been a tough year. We’ve been in a difficult season of life and are getting anxious to be out of it. We pray constantly that God would bring us out of it and we hear almost nothing. There can be a tendency to become frustrated, bitter, and sinful when we feel like we’ve waited too long. It begins to affect not only ourselves, but those around us. We watch other’s success and blessing and wonder when it’ll be our turn. We ignore the blessings already in front of us for the ones we don’t...
To Build Or To Tear Down? That’s A Dumb Question.

To Build Or To Tear Down? That’s A Dumb Question.

I had the privilege of leading worship at a conference for worship leaders this morning. It was awesome. When the session ended and I was milling around talking to people, one person told me thanks and then proceeded to critique my key choices for the songs I’d led. Not “Great job! We were very blessed to have you!” Or even a “Nice guitar man, is that a Gibson?” Nope. Just a comment on my key choices. Too low for him because he’s a tenor. (At 8:30 am, nobody is a singer and I always err on the side of too low.) I’ll most likely never see that guy again. The only thing that he will ever speak into my life is criticism. He had a great chance to say something nice, something encouraging, and he blew it. I do that all the freaking time. I miss out on opportunities to be encouraging, give a compliment, put someone else’s needs before my own, and I blow it. Proverbs 16 says “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Positive is better than negative. Positive beats negative 100 times out of 100. Positive words change the speaker and the listener. Positive words bring healing, hope, and life. Don’t miss those opportunities that you have every day to speak encouraging, positive words to someone. Do it and watch it change you and the people around...
Vestiges

Vestiges

Sometimes there’s a lag between the calling and the change. A disparity between the heart and the mind. The spirit loses to the flesh. How long did it take Peter to become the rock upon which the church was built? How long did it take Moses to free Israel from captivity in Egypt? Peter actually knew Jesus. He walked with, talked with, joked with, drank wine and partied with the Living Word. He knew this guy: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3) After meeting The Word and walking with Him, Peter denied knowing Him to avoid sharing in His fate. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Our salvation is instant, but our sanctification is not. It’s a process. A daily battle against ourselves to stop living according to our fleshly desires and live according to the law and will of God. To trust God more than we trust ourselves. To let go of the things that we cling to and approach God with open hands instead of a clenched fist. Psalm 1:1-3 says… 1 Blessed is the one     who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take     or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,     and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,     which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—     whatever they...
Pot Roast and Anticipation

Pot Roast and Anticipation

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 My wife makes the best pot roast. Seriously, it’s the best. It cooks in beer all day and fills the house with the most amazing smell. Whenever I walk by the kitchen, I can smell it and my mouth begins to water. I count down the hours until I can devour one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. I anticipate. I expect. I know what is in store for me and I cannot wait to enjoy it. That’s just pot roast. Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. -Joshua 3:5. The Israelites had come to the Promised Land. The land God told them would be given to them. Moses was dead, and Joshua now lead them. They came to the Jordan River, the boundary to the Promised Land and wondered how they were going to cross it; how they were going to defeat the armies on the other side. Joshua said “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” God stopped the flow of the Jordan River, allowing the Israelites to cross into Caanan, terrifying their enemies who knew that God was with the Israelites. Joshua wanted the Israelites to expect God to do something. Not to doubt, but to believe, anticipate, and have courage. On Sunday mornings, do we expect God to work? When we gather as his church, do we anticipate that we will meet with him and that lives will be changed?...
Unsupportive Support

Unsupportive Support

It seems that many people have the idea that support and agreement are synonymous; that to be supportive means being in total, unquestioning agreement. I disagree. I take the long view of support. The view of support that is more concerned with long term, overall goals. Sometimes it’s better to support the destination more than the journey. If I’m being supportive of my wife, my friends, and my team, I’m invested and interested in where they want to go, what they want to accomplish, who they want to be, and where they want to end up. Sometimes this means saying no or disagreeing in the short term so that the long term does not suffer. Jesus said no to his disciples plenty of times and it certainly cannot be said that he didn’t support them. Are you willing to support people in your life, even if that means saying no? Do you have people around you who love you enough to tell you the same when...
Not Just A Bucket of Parts

Not Just A Bucket of Parts

Lately I’ve been reading Psalm 139. One of the more well known verses of that psalm, and of the Bible at large, is this: “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is what I hear: “Tim, you are not an accident. I didn’t just throw you together from a bucket of spare parts. You aren’t here to fill space, you aren’t here because I was bored. I created you with intention, care, and purpose. I know you intimately. Like everything else on earth, when I created you, I was pleased with what I made. I knit you together in your mother’s womb, I knew you before you were conceived. Does that sound like an accident? Does it sound like I don’t care?” Ok. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. By the creator of the entire universe, who apparently knew me before I was even a thought in my parents’ heads. We have a problem in our world. It has to do with self worth, identity, and meaning. We as humans, have an innate desire to belong, to matter, and to be accepted. We crave approval and attention. Even those that claim they don’t care what people think about them want everyone to know and accept that fact. The problem is, we seek these things from sources that are severely lacking in their ability to deliver them. 5 minutes on the internet will tell you this. Facebook, Youtube, (insert social networking site here), etc, etc are all testaments to this. I struggle with self esteem. I struggle with my identity. I struggle with my sense of...
You Can’t Earn It

You Can’t Earn It

When you were growing up, did you ever offer your parents cash or chores for your Christmas or birthday gifts? Like, “Thank you so much for the Nintendo 64. Here’s some cash; that should cover it.” I didn’t either. There’s a reason that your parents bought that stuff for you. The reason is that there was no way you’d ever be able to afford it on your own, and I get the sneaking feeling that most parents like to bring joy to their children. We were not required to earn those gifts, just to enjoy them and take care of them. It would be silly of us to try and pay for something that was given to us as a gift. Why, then, do many of us try to pay for our salvation? We can’t earn it, it’s already been paid for. God knows that we’d never be able to pay the cost for our salvation, so he paid it for us. With his blood. Perhaps it’s an overwhelming, albeit misguided, need to DO something that drives this need to earn our salvation. God’s way seems too easy, surely he wants me to earn it a little bit. Perhaps we feel guilty. Guilty that we sin, guilty that we aren’t perfect, guilty that we aren’t good enough, guilty that we aren’t worthy of the cost. This guilt paralyzes us, it shames us, and it makes us believe a lie. In Hebrews 9:14, it says that the blood of Jesus cleanses our consciences from sin so that we may serve God. Romans says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ...
Rockstar or Servant?

Rockstar or Servant?

I love hitting the stage. I developed a love for music in middle school and have never been able to shake it. In fact, I despair at the thought of a life without it. I have played on many different instruments, in many different settings, in many different venues, to many different types of people. I have played to audiences that couldn’t care less that I was there, to audiences who shush talkers because they want to hear every nuance of what I’m doing, and to every audience in between. There is a time to entertain, and there is a time to lead. As musicians, we all have, or have had, illusions of grandeur. Leading worship is a dangerous position for an attention loving, approval seeking musician. You see, God doesn’t share glory. He is jealous for His glory and honor. Every time I step onstage to lead worship, there is a danger that my self will fight for the attention and glory that is due my Creator. There is a fine line between humility and a modesty that sometimes hides a desire for recognition. Leading worship is service. We are serving God with the gifts He has given us to bring glory to Him, and to bring attention to the truth of who He is and who we are in relation to Him. We are serving the Church by using those gifts to draw people’s attention to Him, not ourselves, and to facilitate an environment that allows those we serve to worship God. We aren’t rockstars; we’re servants. Biblical leadership as modeled by Jesus equals service. How do...
Maturity

Maturity

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Psalm 145:3) He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28) There is a common theme running through these three verses. They illustrate an attribute of God that you may not hear every day: His incomprehensibility. God is incomprehensible. It means that we can never FULLY understand him. There will never be a point that God will say “I have nothing left to teach you, nothing left to reveal to you about myself, and nothing left to say to you.” Our relationship with God will never settle into the kind of comfortable silence reserved for couples who have been married for 200 years and have nothing left to say to or learn about each other. This means that God ALWAYS has something NEW to say to you. Something NEW to show you. Something NEW to teach you. About him, about you, and about you in relation to him. How many of us miss out on this because we are stuck learning the very basics of our faith? Or because we lean only on what God has said and not what he’s SAYING? The author of Hebrews chastised Jewish Christians who struggled with this very thing. “…you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers,...