Friday, October 27, 2006

Who's Your Neighbor?

Sometimes it's lonely in the corporate world especially as a Christian. It's not like we're branded believers versus non-believers so I can automatically connect with my brothers and sisters in the marketplace. I think this is a good reminder to live a radical life for Jesus, even in the workplace by modeling and living by the fruits of the Spirit. People will eventually catch-on.

A good indication is when people swear around you. Once they figured out you're living for Jesus, they normally apologize when they swear. Maybe not always when they are taking the Lord's name in vain, which is more offensive to me, but sometimes.

Yesterday I held the elevator for an unaware colleague of mine, who was busy stuffing confidential documents into the shredding bin. She hurried in and we exchanged the normal pleasantries. Normally we wouldn't have much in common so she hurried a few steps in front of me as we exited the building, following the same route to our cars. This time she turned back and said, "Do you lead worship at KHOP on Tuesday nights?"

Surprised by the connection, I responded, "Yeah, do you go to Elim Christian Fellowship for the Bible study on Tuesdays?" It lead into a bigger discussion about her experiences at Elim and KHOP. But I walked up the dreary hill to my car with a smile on face knowing I made a connection with another Christian on fire for Jesus.

Matthew 18:20 reads, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

God didn't want us to be alone. He gave Adam, Eve. Jesus had 12 disciples. They were companions, partners, buddies, brothers and sisters. It's the same way in the marketplace. God wants us to connect with other Christians in the workplace. After all, we spend SO much time together, why not make it pleasing and fruitful to God?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Web 2.0

So I found some cool Web 2.0 tools online including, where I designed a 3D version of myself. Check it out...

When God Gives You a Voice

Now let me praise the keeper of Heaven's kingdom,
the might of the Creator, and his thought,
the work of the Father of glory, how each of wonders
the Eternal Lord established in the beginning.
He first created for the sons of men
Heaven as a roof, the holy Creator,
then Middle-earth the keeper of mankind,
the Eternal Lord, afterwards made,
the earth for men, the Almighty Lord.

From Wikipedia:

Caedmon (IPA: [kaedmÉ’n]) is the earliest English poet whose name is known. An Anglo-Saxon herdsman attached to the double monastery of Streonaeshalch (Whitby Abbey) during the abbacy of St. Hilda (657–681), he was originally ignorant of "the art of song" but supposedly learned to compose one night in the course of a dream. He later became a zealous monk and an accomplished and inspirational religious poet.

Caedmon is one of twelve Anglo-Saxon poets identified in medieval sources, and one of only three for whom both roughly contemporary biographical information and examples of literary output have survived.[1] His story is related in the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum ("Ecclesiastical History of the English People") by St. Bede who wrote, "There was in the Monastery of this Abbess a certain brother particularly remarkable for the Grace of God, who was wont to make religious verses, so that whatever was interpreted to him out of scripture, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much sweetness and humility in English, which was his native language. By his verse the minds of many were often excited to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven."

Caedmon's only known surviving work is Caedmon's Hymn, the nine-line alliterative vernacular praise poem in honour of God he supposedly learned to sing in his initial dream. The poem is one of the earliest attested examples of Old English and is, with the runic Ruthwell Cross and Franks Casket inscriptions, one of three candidates for the earliest attested example of Old English poetry. It is also one of the earliest recorded examples of sustained poetry in a Germanic language.

Bede's account

The sole source of original information about Caedmon's life and work is Bede's Historia ecclesiastica.[2] According to Bede, Caedmon was a lay brother who worked as a herdsman at the monastery Streonaeshalch (now known as Whitby Abbey). One evening, while the monks were feasting, singing, and playing a harp, Caedmon left early to sleep with the animals because he knew no songs. While asleep, he had a dream in which "someone" (quidem) approached him and asked him to sing principium creaturarum, "the beginning of created things." After first refusing to sing, Caedmon subsequently produced a short eulogistic poem praising God as the creator of heaven and earth.

Upon awakening the next morning, Caedmon remembered everything he had sung and added additional lines to his poem. He told his foreman about his dream and gift and was taken immediately to see the abbess. The abbess and her counsellors asked Caedmon about his vision and, satisfied that it was a gift from God, gave him a new commission, this time for a poem based on “a passage of sacred history or doctrine”, by way of a test. When Caedmon returned the next morning with the requested poem, he was ordered to take monastic vows. The abbess ordered her scholars to teach Caedmon sacred history and doctrine, which after a night of thought, Bede records, Caedmon would turn into the most beautiful verse. According to Bede, Caedmon was responsible for a large oeuvre of splendid vernacular poetic texts on a variety of Christian topics.

After a long and zealously pious life, Caedmon died like a saint: receiving a premonition of death, he asked to be moved to the abbey’s hospice for the terminally ill where, having gathered his friends around him, he expired just before nocturns.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Time to Sit Down?

My father-in-law surprised me a few years ago at Christmas with a decent Yamaha "Portatone" keyboard. While he knew I loved music, I really didn't have a clue how to play it.

When I was in grade school, my folks attempted to introduce me to the piano unsuccessfully. I just wanted ready for it yet. Maybe if they had only waited 26 years, they would have gotten their money's worth.

In high school, I found a creative outlet in the piano and began feeling my way around the keys. I had no idea what the chords were I was playing, but I was dangerous enough to make up songs primarily about high school romance and puppy love.

My knowledge of the piano quickly faded away, especially when I gingerly took up the guitar in my 20s. Little did I know that playing the guitar would help me feel my way around the keys of this piano again.

This keyboard has gotten some use over the past couple of years, but lately I have been playing the guitar and prodding around on the keyboard forming the chords. I am dangerous enough to be able to pick up most worship songs and fake it. It is a little difficult to develop any sort of rhythm although I'm slowly improving.

But music has been given a new life through this learning process. You could definitely say that as I am typing this at 1:05 AM after spending the last three hours playing the guitar and piano.

I think Misty Edwards has given me inspiration in wanting to learn how to play. Apparently when she took the call at International House of Prayer, she only knew a few chords. After her set, she ran out of the prayer room and said she would never do it again. Another missionary there chased after her, encouraged her, and prophesied over her. God breathed life into those fingers and into her lungs and now she sings and plays like an angel. If that's not motivation, I don't know what is.

Then there's Bill who keeps sending me the story of Caedmon...and that, my friends I will post tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

God's Music

I started a little home improvement project at home over the weekend. I'm painting what we've dubbed "The Dorm Room," and it's transforming into a warm, inviting room. I spent a great deal of time over the weekend sanding and priming the paneled walls. On Sunday, I was able to knock out a bunch of the painting.

Last night I determined it needed another coat so I got started after the kids went to bed. After my wife called it a night, I tuned into the IHOP webcast and was blessed to have caught Luke Wood's worship set, who is one of my favorite worship leaders. He spent the entire two hour set play D - G - D2/F# - G over and over and over. As simple as it was, it was an incredible blessing. I sat down at my computer to take a break, listening to the chords resonate in my ears. I opened up and navigated to Psalm 46 and began breaking down the scripture into lyrics and a melody. Truthfully, it came easily as I was inspired by the music I was already listening to. I finished about half the song and decided that I'd work on it the following day, resuming my painting.

It's unseasonably warm here and despite my high powered fan motoring a cool breeze throughout the room, my utility light kept it pretty toasty downstairs. At one point in the night, I found myself on my knees trimming above the baseboards. I was uncomfortably warm and sweating, yet I was reminded of Mary sitting at Jesus' feet. My guess is the music had something to do with that vision but it was easy to ignore my discomfort because of the subtle reminder of a Savior who loves me.

As soon as Luke's set was over, Clay Edwards transitioned into worship and began playing some recognizable chords in the key of "E" on the piano. Something stirred in me and God captured my attention. Clay was singing the exact same melody to a song about Psalm 121 we wrote down at KHOP several weeks ago. Despite the difference in lyrics, the melody was exactly the same down to the chorus and lyrics. Instead of singing "Hallelujah" over and over as we do in the chorus, Clay was repeating "Jesus".

This was a reminder to me that the music that pours from my heart and soul is not my own. It's on borrowed time from God who surgically implants it when I am focused on Him alone, when the Holy Spirit is on the move.