I was a romantic this Christmas and took Deb to the Houston Symphony’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. As you might imagine Deb was thrilled with the evening and I have to say that I was quite impressed myself. Like many people I had heard parts of Messiah before. One of the most famous movements of the work is the Hallelujah Chorus which draws the audience to their feet like the coronation of British royalty. I wasn’t aware of the unofficial rise of the audience beforehand, but quickly connected it to a respect for Christ the King.
I also didn’t know before the performance that Handel had crafted the entire symphonic work around direct quotations from scripture. That’s it. Every word sung by the soloists and chorus were direct quotes from either the Old or New Testament recounting the life, mission, and glory of Christ. I have some music appreciation and background myself (no; I’m not as barbaric as I might seem at times) so I was able to appreciate the talent and time investment of every piece of the performance from the strings to the soloists and combined vocal chorus to the few brass and wind instruments as they combined into a profound musical and maybe even spiritual experience. It was indeed a great evening. Not to mention I got to sit next to the hottest lady in the building. (more…)
Well this stinks! Ever felt that way before? Ever said that out load before or even thought it under your breath with only yourself and God as the audience? Yup; me too. We’ve all been there. The truth is that life does stink at times and those who appear to constantly live above the fray and claim no pain are probably not dealing with reality and know a Christianity other than what I know. When I read the Bible I don’t see perfection, at least not on this side of eternity. No, I don’t see “health and wealth and lack of problems.” I see . . . stink. I see real life in the Bible and the kind of life that we experience here in the 21st century. While the Bible was inspired by God, it was written through human agents who breathed the same air and problems we face today. They were human and at times their lives stunk as well. Elijah felt suicidal. David wept bitterly. Paul spoke of anxiety regarding a dear friend near death. Even Jesus, God in flesh, spoke of the problems of his age and ours and the fact that just like they hated him, they would hate his followers as well. Yes, I see loads of stink in life and in the Bible, but I also see hope. (more…)
I turned 43 this past week and frankly it was a bit difficult to deal with at first. Honestly, I think the issue was probably just the fact that I had expected to have accomplished a whole lot more by this stage in my life. You know; saved half the world, published nine or ten books, served a term or two in Congress, and created at least one fortune 500 company. Well, maybe not all that, but some of you know what I mean.
Some of you are in the same boat. Maybe you have the t-shirt and wonder about the stage of life you’re in. The funny thing is that this feeling is not reserved for the retired. I remember one of the young guys on our team back in Nor Cal worrying about life when he turned 20. He thought his age was getting away from him. Yup, I laughed with him and then told him to chill out. The young warrior had no idea. But what is the best course of thought when the years seem like they are slipping away? Solomon advised young men to ““Rejoice” in their youth. But what about when you’re not as “youthful” as you once were? What do you do then? (more…)
I’ve been doing a lot of different things during our interim season and one of those is just picking up odd jobs to help pay the bills. Today and one day last week I spend a lot of back breaking time digging holes around old fence pole so that we could reinforce them with more concrete. In the process, I thought about the Shrewd Manager in one of Jesus’ parables. The guy was about to lose his job and didn’t know what to do because he felt like he was “not strong enough to dig, and was ashamed to beg.” So in the turning of earth, I thought, “man I really know how that old boy must have felt.” He came to mind not because I’ve lost a job or have been dishonest, but just because I can relate to not really being built for a life of ditch digging. But I did put my back into it and was grateful for the work. I also thought about all the other jobs that I’ve had in life not including full-time Christian service. I think the best job I’ve ever had was working in the electronics department at Sears during my last year of college. I think my worst job, next to digging ditches, was working at Godfather’s Pizza between my 9th and 10th grade years in High School. I think the big issue there was that the manager was always negative toward everyone and talking behind people’s backs. It really got heated when we were all accused of taking money from the till, especially when we knew it was the assistant manager’s boy friend. What about you? What are some of your best and worst job experiences and why?