I have six months to reshape my life. I can do this.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Steve's New Christmas Song

When the Romans ruled in Israel
A savior child was born
Would he lead the zealots and sound the battle horn?

But not a general or a warlord
or a president was he
He taught "in a transformation is the key"

Christmas came out of a war.
Christmas was born into hostile occupation.
So maybe come goodwill can come from me and you.

We know Jesus was born in a manger,
that's what the stories say.
And today we live in castles while we pray.
Maybe celebrating Christmas can still keep us occupied.
But the Romans haven't left us, they're still inside.

Christmas came out of a war.
Christmas was born into hostile occupation.
So maybe some goodwill can come from me and you.

Christmas is coming again.
Christmas is coming again.
Christmas is coming again.
Christmas is coming again.

Words and Music by Steven Stark (I went to high school and church with him when we were kids. His myspace page actually has this song - I really like it)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Music

I have posted about this in the past. Then it was a list of my favorite Christmas songs. I really do like Christmas music.

Some holidays gems you should search out:
- Harry Connick Jr's Harry for the Holidays - this is not just his best Christmas album, it is perhaps his best album period. The first blast of those Orleans horns on Frosty...
- Any Christmas music by the Beach Boys. I try and try and try but I simply cannot get away from the Wilson brothers, Tubesock, Al and Mike the music hijacker. My new BB fave? The Man with all the Toys
- James Taylor's great Christmas album James Taylor at Christmas. So so good. But as it is with all JT's music, do not operate heavy equipment while listening.
- Anything by Bing Crosby. I think the Binger is THE perfect Christmas voice. My current Bing fave? Marshmallow World.
- Check out Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector. I think this could be the best collection of R&B classics for Christmas. And you cannot go wrong with The Crystals. Their version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town is worth the whole album.
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas Eve and Other Stories is so good. Just to get ahold of Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24 is worth it. And if you can see them live at Christmas, go do it. They are a GREAT concert.

Anything I left off?

Bad Guys #4: Jonah

We all suffer from Jonah Syndrome. God has put people in our path, placed their names on our hearts and we have decided not to do anything about it.

Jonah had a legitimate beef with God over sharing the message of repentance to the Assyrians at Nineveh. Nineveh was a successful city of almost 150,000. It was a key stopping point on the trade route from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. And the Assyrians were some bad people. They would decorate the roads leading into their major cities with the heads of the conquered people on large lances. Sort of a reminder of why they were great. Some of those heads belonged to Jonah's people.

But God called him to share this message of repentance. And you know the rest of the story. He ran away. God got his attention. Jonah ultimately obeyed. Nineveh repented. Jonah got ticked. And the account ends before the story does. We have no idea whether Jonah died in the desert pouting or not.

We all suffer from the Jonah complex. We simply don't share God's message. And I can think of three reasons that we don't share:
1. We don't want their lives to change. This is how Jonah felt. His anger and sense of vengeance limited his view of God's grace. We can be like that. We don't want our Jeffery Dahmers or our Timothy McVeighs making those prison conversions. We certainly don't want to hear how Manuel Noriega has become a Christian. They are bad men. They deserve the judgment they are under.
2. We don't care if their lives change. We are not concerned enough to share. We just don't care. This is the root of all the popular excuses I make about evangelism. I am scared or I am not confident or I just didn't get the chance...all of those stem from just not caring enough. If I truly cared about my friend's eternity, I would get past my fears and doubts and share. But ultimately, I just don't care enough.
3. I don't desire intimacy with God. Maybe the root has nothing to do with other people and I how I feel about them. Maybe it has to do with my connection with my Heavenly Father. If I don't really desire closeness with Him, why would I share about God's grace and love and forgiveness to others?

But the good news is even though the account of my life may end, the story goes on. I am not in high school any more. I cannot go back and share with all of the people God placed on my heart. The account of my college years is over and I cannot go back there and change how I lived. But my story is not over. I can make changes today. And I can overcome my Jonah Syndrome because of Jesus Christ, the true and perfect Jonah. He too had issues with delivering God's message of repentance but instead of fleeing, Jesus Christ was obedient to die on the cross. And because of that, I can get past my hang ups and share.

So, what do you do when God puts someone that you don't like in your path? How do you respond? Does the "J" on your bracelet stand for Jonah or Jesus?

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Slight Adjustment

After dealing with people in churches for a few years now, I have decided that as a whole, Christians should be less demanding and more grateful.

And the phrases "Thank you" and "I'm sorry" should probably make a resurgence in popularity.