Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A cord of 3 strands...

Today is my parents 40th wedding anniversary. It almost slipped by me but I happened to be looking at the date on a piece of mail and it caused me stop for a second. Dad passed in 1986 and Mom passed last March so for the first time in 23 years they are actually celebrating their anniversary together.

This is actually, I think, the oldest picture I have of them. It's from November 1969 and the baby that mom is holding is me. I'm sleeping, which according to Mom I did a lot of. She used to say that she had to wake me up to feed me. Well that wasn't a problem for long I assure you.

This is a family portrait from the mid to late 70's. Note Mom's beehive, length of her hair and lack of make up. All of those were requirements of the church we were attending at the time. You'll also note how much I (that's me on the right standing beside her) look like my mother and how much my Dad and my brother Dana favor each other.

The last one is from Christmas 1980 and it's not the best photo but I just love the memory it brings and look on Mom and Dad's faces. We never had a lot of money for Christmas but it was special day to them both and they really went out of their way to make it as special as possible for Dana and I.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Song Lyric Sunday

The contest starts next week. I post full rules and the first lyric sometime after 4 pm (ET) next Sunday. Here's this weeks lyric.

Maybe sometimes, we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Grace Is For Sinners and a Song Lyric

In my last post I mentioned that I was reading the book Grace Is For Sinners. I finished the book today and just wanted to say that first of all I highly recommend the book. The author, Serena Woods, gives a first hand account of an abusive childhood, foster care, finding faith, falling into an affair and heer finding grace in spite of the "biblical discipline" dished out to her by her church family. The book really is an incredible read and is one of those books that I think could well become a staple for myself and others like me who need a faith and a God who doesn't fit into a box. Woods does an excellent job of telling the story of how church discipline almost destroyed her faith instead of helping to bring her to a point of restoration. She provides specific examples of how this biblical discipline was actually anything but biblical and does so without coming across as mean spirited or vindictive. She also doesn't down play her own shortcomings and the sin of the affair that ultimately led to this book being written. Woods also does a fine job of pointing out that for the believer God should be sovereign and we need to believe that he all things in control at all times. I really don't think I can recommend this book highly enough, especially for those who feel abandoned or outcast by the church. javascript:void(0)

In keeping with the spirit of the book, here's my song lyric for this week:

I keep on chasing the wrong things
and coming up empty
This isn't who I'm supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I'm finding each time that you fall,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shooting Our Wounded

I recently started reading a book called Grace Is For Sinners and it really has me thinking about how much God is in control of everything and how little control we have. The book focuses on the way the church tends to treat believers who stumble or fall away and how harsh we can be when someone in the church falls into sin. I was reminded of this even more recently when I started doing some research on Katy Perry. As I've told you previously I am a huge music fan and even though I didn't know it I am no stranger to Katy Perry. In 2001 I bought a CD by a 16 year old named Katy Hudson. It was a very good CD, the singer had an amazing voice and the lyrics were not your typical "god or girlfriend" variety but were solidly based on scripture and to this day the song "Trust In Me" is one that pops into my head when I'm struggling with worrying about something. Well it doesn't take long at all to find out that Katy Perry and Katy Hudson are the same person. That's right the same person who wrote "But you said don't worry/for I've healed the blind man/and I've set the captives free/and you said don't worry/for all you gotta do is put your trust in me" in 2001 wrote "I kissed a girl and I liked it/the taste of her cherry chapstick." in 2008. The song was a huge hit and if you have a teen I'd venture to say it's on their iPod somewhere. How does that happen you ask? I dunno, I dunno Katy so I don't know where heart was in 2001 or where it is 2009. I do know that I've read plenty of snarky comments on "christian" websites about how she was never really a believer, or how disappointed her parents must be and those are the mild ones. I do know that the God she sang about in 2001 is the same God in 2009 and his love for her hasn't changed and until Katy is dead there's always hope. Who knows maybe this time is Katy's time to be "sifted like wheat" and 10 years from now she'll be an example to all the believers. But dog piling on the girl just makes us look like some elitist country club that has decided to revoke her membership because she doesn't meet our standards. Does this mean I'm ok with the bigger issues that I Kissed A Girl presents or that I think parents don't have a right to monitor what their kids listen to? Absolutely not, and I think as a parent you should be familiar with what your kids are listening to and watching. I'm just saying that instead of villianizing Katy, try for a minute to see her as Christ does and remember that the same blood he spilled for your bad stuff, he spilled for her bad stuff too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prayer Request

My friends the McKenzies have been missionaries in the Middle East and Africa for quite some time now and Steve is faithful to send periodic updates on their work. When I checked my email today there was an update requesting prayer for 2 of their colleagues. I'm not gonna try to reword it I'm just gonna cut and paste and ask that after reading you would take some time to pray as he's requested:

Special Edition

Please Pray
When one part of your body hurts the whole body feels the burden of pain. Our teammates, Brian & Becky Schrader have endured an incredibly difficult few months. Initially they hoped to be studying French about this time in Quebec but God sovereignly held up the sale of their house while slowly stripping them of possessions and securities. Just days ago they left their home without any of the equity they anticipated. Their testimony of faithfulness throughout all of this allowed God's glory to be seen through some very difficult circumstances.

Just yesterday God blessed Brian and Beck with a very special little girl, Elliana Hope. She was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome. She has no ear canals with a very small upper and lower jaw that is preventing her from breathing on her own. She also has a complete cleft palate. Specialists are currently evaluating how to best help Elliana, especially so she can breath on her own.

Becky has also endured various complications throughout the pregnancy and hemorrhaged after the birth. She has lost 50% of her total blood volume but remains stable without needing blood transfusions up to this point.

I would be amazingly grateful if you would pray for our teammates during this difficult time. Would you be willing to pray for them now before closing this email and make them part of your regular mealtime prayers? This email goes to various countries in different time zones and it would be a blessing to know that God's universal body was interceding for this family throughout the day.

For His Name's Sake,
Stephen McKenzie

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Song Lyric Sunday

Hey mama hey mama lookee what your little babies all have become
Hey mama hey mama don't it ever make you wish you'd been a nun?
Vain and fickle, were we weaned on a pickle?
Is it in our blood?
Rome is burning

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Song Lyric Sunday

So, if everything goes as planned a new contest will start the first Sunday in February. My buddy Brian over at Black Dog Coffee will be sponsoring the contest and putting together a nice little prize package for the winner. The rules will be pretty much the same with the exception that I will be turning on comment moderation for the duration of the contest. Keep your eyes peeled for rules and other info in the coming weeks.

Why pluck one string... what good is just one note?
Oh, one string sounds fine, I guess... but we were once 'one notes',
We were lonely wheat quietly ground into grain...
What light and momentary pain!
So why the safe distance, this curious look?
Why tear out single pages when you can throw away the book?
Why pluck one string when you can strum the guitar?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Artist of The Moment - GRITS

My first memories of GRITS are not actually as musicians at all but as dancers. They danced for DC Talk when DCT was opening for Michael W. Smith on his Go West Young Man tour, which was before most of the youth I now teach were even born.

Grits members Coffee and Bone formed one of the first "Christian" rap acts that made music that didn't come across as a cheesy christian version of whatever was being played on mainstream radio at the time. They released their first album "Mental Releases" in 1995 and their latest "Reiterate" was released in September of 2008. In the time between they have release 7 albums of original material and 3 compilation/remix albums. They are one of my all time favorite groups, ranking right up there with artists like Jars Of Clay, Sixpence None The Richer, The Prayer Chain, etc. The first song on the list 'Tennessee Bwoys' is special because it always makes my think of my family in Tennessee and that always brings a smile to my face. Even if you're not a rap fan, give the list a listen and let me know what ya think.