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Post #73: “Prepare the way of the Lord…”

For anyone who wants to know, the song that we sang in chapel yesterday that had Jesus’ name being sung over and over again is called “Prepare the Way”…it’s by Charlie Hall and it’s on the Passion CD Our Love Is Loud. It’s simple, but it’s powerful. “Prepare the way of the Lord…You are the Light of the world…You are the King of the earth…JESUS.”

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the cross lately…most of my readers have probably been in church long enough that you’ve heard about the crucifixion a whole lot. We all know how brutal it was–the beatings, the nails through the wrists and ankles, the amount of blood He lost. We know He was mocked. We know He took on all our sins. We know it so well that I think we take it all for granted most of the time. What Jesus did on the cross is the reason why we even have a chance. He literally became our sin, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians. He went through so much torture for US. And until He brought us to Himself, we literally were all anti-Him. He had no reason to die for us except that He loved us and by doing so He brought glory to Himself. Wow.

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[1] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…” (Galatians 6:14).

The cross, neither jewelry nor icon nor charm
The cross held a Lover who died in my arms
Under the weight of the hammer I held
The space between heaven and everything spanned
And the lost art of living was found again
When the cross became loving and Christ became friend

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For some reason I keep thinking of Godspell…at the end, Jesus has been crucified, and (in the original script), the disciples take His body down from the cross, and carry it, pallbearer-style, out of the theater singing “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” There’s not a resurrection per se, but one interpretation of that I read said that it’s probably symbolic of taking “the body of Christ” into the world. We are literally His body. We are Jesus in the flesh on earth. And so you get the church fulfilling Christ’s command to take the Word to every nation. Not the dead Jesus, of course, but the risen Christ.

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Post #72: “I sing to life…”

I have now decided that I hate Chris Carrabba’s voice. It annoys the heck out of me. All you hardcore Dashboard fans out there, I apologize, but his voice is too nasally and whiny and…it’s just bad. Someone give the man voice lessons.

That said, I have recently become obsessed with Further Seems Forever and Evanescence. The latter band is going to playing downtown a week from today, so if someone wants to get tickets and go, let’s do it.

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Saw one of the saddest (but also one of the most amazing) things yesterday that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Remember that cat they’re dissecting in Biology II? Well, it’s a girl cat…they opened her up, and noticed that her uterus was unusually big, so they opened that up, and there were kittens in there. Three boys and two girls. They were so little, and they were so perfectly formed–they weren’t full term yet, though–with little tails and ears and claws and everything. I almost cried. A couple of us came over from consumer math to watch. They have names–they’re Billy, Bobby, Benny, Becky, and Bonnie. So sad. I think Monika and Taylor gave them a proper burial.

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For anyone who thinks the Bible is boring, read the book of Judges. Dear goodness…there’s enough violence in there to make it R-rated. A guy gets stabbed, another guy gets a tent peg nailed through his head, a whole Israelite tribe gets almost obliterated–it’s interesting stuff. And the gore doesn’t just stay in Judges; the next few books are pretty violent, too. All sorts of wars and stuff. I’ve been reading through the Old Testament and I just finished Judges, so whenever I try reading the New Testament, it’s sorta weird. No one getting into wars or anything terribly violent. In fact, this guy Jesus sorta shows up and says “Love your enemies.” It’s a culture shock. No wonder people thought He was odd.

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Post #71: Good songs for you guys.

“My Immortal” by Evanescence. This is the closest thing to a girl doing an emo song that I could find.

“Pride War” by Further Seems Forever. Come on, it’s Further Seems Forever…what more can you ask for?

“Untitled” by the David Crowder Band. They’ve been trying to come up with a title and haven’t succeeded, but listen to it anyway.

“This Ruined Puzzle” by Dashboard Confessional. Good song. 🙂

“August in Bethany” by The Juliana Theory.

“One By One” by the cast of The Lion King. Yeah, it’s in Zulu; yeah, it’s from a Disney musical. But it rocks. I like it.

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Post #70: Cool verses…

The Bible has a lot of cool stuff to say. Here’s a sampling.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20a).

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave” (Psalm 86:12-13).

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3).

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9).

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3).

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

“Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:9-10).

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18-19).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:12-17).

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:5-10).

“Be merciful to those who doubt” (Jude 22).

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Post #69: More random songs that bring back memories…

“We Are Hungry”: We sang this a lot at camp in ninth grade. That week I hung out a lot with Ryan and Zach and Jamie…worship was crazy awesome…every time we sing “We Are Hungry” I always have this picture of us standing in the back worshipping…

“Take Me There” and “On The Verge” by Watermark: Camp, eighth grade. We made a lot of memories that year…Caleb’s head getting shaved, all of us walking around the camp (us being Katherine and Josh and Caleb and Ben and Steph and Jenny and Tara and Hebble and me), walking to Mexico (on Galveston Island…lol)…and those songs.

“My Glorious” by Delirious?: The Sunday night after 8count…for those of you who weren’t there, after 8count we had a follow-up worship session. God was there. “My Glorious” was the last song we sang, and all of us (well, all of us from the Collins/Coker house, anyway, I can’t speak for anyone else) were standing there yelling it out together. I think God had done a lot in all of us that weekend and we got excited.

“Letters to God” by Box Car Racer: Another one of those songs that I’ll always remember the guys by.

“Sweet River Roll” by Waterdeep: For some reason I always think of David Mitchell when I hear this. I think it’s because he loaned me his Waterdeep CD once, but not before playing this song for me.

“Sick Cycle Carousel” by Lifehouse: Drama class, November 2001. We did a skit for chapel that was based on this. I think we heard this song at least a hundred times in a time span of about a month. It was a great skit, if I do say so myself. I got to call this one guy a player, which for some reason got a huge response out of everyone. I think it’s because I don’t usually use terminology like that (only b/c I don’t have to…).

“One Week” by Barenaked Ladies (that’s a horrible name for a band, by the way), “Screaming Infidelities” by Dashboard Confessional, and “Stomp” by Kirk Franklin: Farkle, spoons, and Egyptian war @ Heather’s house a couple of weeks ago. Those are the only songs I specifically remember listening to…

“Higher” by Creed: Another Seattle memory…we’re on our way up to the middle of nowhere, driving through the mountains, and we listened to this song about eighty million times because Amy Maddox brought it along and that song, along with “With Arms Wide Open” were the only songs we felt like listening to. I think I had it memorized by the time we got to our destination. That was the day my friend Jenny fell in the river…but that’s a whole other story.

“Holy Roar” by Passion: I remember my friend Heather signing this for a demonstration speech for (duh) speech class, and I’ve wanted to learn it ever since. She did such a gorgeous job with this because she’s so graceful when she signs…

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Post #68:

So we had (I think) a pretty decent discussion in Bible today about chapel yesterday. As most of my readers know, we didn’t have any “worship time” (read: singing) in chapel yesterday. There was something bothering me about it, but I couldn’t figure out what it was until someone vocalized it today. The people who aren’t worshipping aren’t going to start just because we take the music part away. The silence yesterday was awesome, and I worshipped then. God got a huge hold on me about a lot of stuff. But the same people who are apathetic about God are going to stay apathetic no matter what we do, because there’s nothing we can do except pray for them.

But the thing is, Mrs. Gertson got a word from God, and I’m going to trust that she’s obeying it. There’s something about silence that forces you to confront yourself, forces you to either listen to God or ignore Him. I think that’s why people hate it so much if they don’t have a good relationship with Him. So who knows, maybe this is what we’re supposed to be doing. At any rate, I don’t know what’s going on, but it’ll be interesting to see how chapel goes for the rest of the year.

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Pray for Monika and Zach…it’s a long story, you’ll have to ask them when you see them…

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Post #67: “You are…”

I wrote this during chapel today….

You are…unending, unchanging, immortal, invisible, beautiful, eternal, holy, pure, good, righteous, praiseworthy, extraordinary, supernatural, joyful, hope, just, glorious, forgiving, merciful, graceful, simplicity, loving, peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, gentle, compassionate, powerful, ruling, alive, life itself, demanding, intimate, coming, close, giving, freedom, covering, approachable, lovely, wonderful, famous, great, encouraging, genuine

You are Father. You are King. You are Lover. You are Savior. You are Friend. You are Brother. You are Ruler. You are Sovereign. You are Priest. You are Prophet.

You are.

And You are near to us. You are why we’re alive and here. Your mercy flows down like a river over us. Your love is wide and long and high and deep and You choose to give it. You are dwelling in our hearts.

And we are proud, unyielding, selfish, immoral; we are apathetic, false, hateful, angry, bitter; we are broken, wounded, torn apart, unholy, self-seeking; we are ugly in our depravity. We turn away from Your face.

But in You, we are made beautiful. In You we are made a pure bride for You. In You we are made perfect. In You we are united and pieced together. In You we can touch Your face. In You we have received the kindness leading to repentance. But only in You. Solely in You.

And we need You like water, and we breathe You in like oxygen, but we’re content to dehydrate and suffocate to death…come and take us kicking and screaming near to Your heart again. We need You. Because YOU ARE.

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