A year ago, the federal government and state governments of the United States of America locked down the greatest country in the world. We the people were told that it was for our own food, for the greater good.
Stay at home, no church, no school, no hugs, no handshakes, no travel, no exercise, no choice. No preventative and normal medical care for anyone. Why? Covid.
The “experts” used faulty projections and models to terrify the population into submission instead of leading with authority. Media fueled the panic. Toilet paper disappeared. Supply chains were disrupted globally. Families disintegrated overnight. Singing in choirs was utterly destroyed overnight.
The TRUTH: none of the countermeasures delivered as promised. The epidemic and mortality curves of the lockdown leaders are equal or greater than the anti lockdown leaders. We live and we die. This was true before. It will always be true. The mortality rate of the human race is 100%.
What happened, whether intentional or not, was the further subjugation of people’s minds and ability to think for themselves. Our bodies fought the battles with Covid. Our minds chose to surrender to the “experts” opinions over our own because we were and are afraid.
We the people fell in line. We went along to get along. We dutifully put on our masks and stopped singing our songs of community and connection.
The medical crisis is ending now. Science has prevailed with vaccines and synthetic immunity. Those of us that had the actual disease either lived or died like every other disease. The infestation of fear and dependence on government has only begun. The consequences of THIS disease will be far worse over time. Write it down. Follow the science.
We the people need community. Masks are bad things both physically and mentally. Not singing in community is catastrophic. The one societal entity that could have fought successfully was the local church. Instead, it largely proved its insignificance and irrelevance and stayed on the sidelines like it has in so many global crises of the past.
God is working indeed. He is working individually in hearts and minds. Faith over fear is the answer. Once we accept the astounding authority of God and His power to overcome death, these earthly things become nothing. Governments rise and fall. Churches form and fail. My God is real and present in my day. I am not afraid. I am sorry for when I was afraid. I will strive to NEVER be afraid of death again. You should too.
I’m pretty sure that I retired from vocational music ministry this morning officially. 25 years of doing the job, fitting in, and going along for the greater good with notes, rhythms, and service design are over in my mind.
I actually resigned from First Baptist Ridgeway for any that don’t know. No hard feelings but plenty of anxiety.
Ministry is guaranteed to always be part of my future. I’m a musician so there is that, but I can’t see a job for me which forces me to fit into a box anymore. The old Jeff, the tenor, the performer, the passionate powerful presenter has been in a chrysalis for a long time. Maybe I stay in there. Maybe I come out a moth. Maybe I come out a glorious butterfly. Who know? Only God knows.
I hope that I’ll be afforded and opportunity to lead again in the future. I adore choirs. I revel in live music making with passionate and skilled collaborators. I also love preaching and teaching scripture and leadership and using technology.
the future is bright but the one thing I know for sure is that it won’t be like it was. I’m grieving that loss. I’m a change champion but even for me it is exhausting and the cost is high.
For anyone who sings and leads in worship AND anyone who attends and wants to lead. Perhaps most important of all...for the congregation: as we approach worship we must find the balance and always seek the higher excellent things for glory to God, not praise of men and not our own preferences. It is difficult for all roles to execute. It is simple to criticize. The relentless return of the sabbath provides a weekly opportunity. As for my experience, some are far better than other. This is simple reality.
Christianity is not rational. It is miraculous. Jesus loves us in spite of us. He was resurrected from the dead and is God was God as well as man. Based on what we know, this is impossible. Faith requires belief in what it impossible.
The mystery of the Trinity boggles the minds of men because we are made, we are not God. It is okay to not understand everything. Be. Love. Serve. Repeat. This is the way.
Solid question asked today in our era of crime and punishment and evidence and science. If you died today, is there enough evidence available for your friends, neighbors, family members and even strangers to review and convict you of being a Christian? It isn’t about talking, being good, nice or moral... the case is made in your words and deeds. Your legacy in sharing the good news of the Gospel. We are so easily distracted these days, consumed with a desire to look good, be good, do good. Those things are indeed good, but the way to heaven is through Jesus. Belief and devotion to a man that lived, died and was resurrected for us. Earthly standards are just that. God’s standard is all or nothing. Everything ventured. Everything gained.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life— your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life— and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” Romans 12:1-2 MSG
Last few days and weeks have represented a manic phase for me and many. In my mind, I can see clearly how so many threads are intertwined. Sleep is the casualty it seems. As I manage and prioritize my time and attention on others in place of self I am able to cope.
The unending victimization mentality is exhausting. It is true that each of us has different advantages and challenges. I am lucky to have made many good choices and experienced so many wonderful people. I want to share my blessings and I do but... others are not as lucky and dod not. Seeing and hearing them... the emotional toll is a high cost. The mission to love and serve in spite of the nearly constant noise floor of “gloom despair and agony on me” is essentially endless.
I have no idea how those without faith cope. Writing, working, and studying help me. I know that in Christ all things are possible and that He is with me always, and that my charge is simpler than can imagine. Share the good news that Christ saves and go, tell, and make disciples. It IS simple. I make it hard. The threads are all around me, like a warm blanket, protecting and keeping me from the cold hard world. Every day Is an opportunity to be love and serve in this endless variety show. I am not the producer.
Most of us are feeling disconnected lately. We must choose to connect and give control over to God to move ahead. As we connect with God we can do anything and connect with those around us. Family. Friends. Neighbors. And total strangers. Even enemies. - apart from God we remain isolated, useless, foolish and sad... reveling in fear and empty things. Worship is a starting point. It is a sustaining process. It is the destination as well and salvation is assured. Don’t miss out by embracing isolation and fear. Choose to connect and live. Ask Jesus into your heart and live with him. It is scary, but it is Awesomeness.
My family and several close friends survived the RONA. The reality is we also survived driving, numerous other illnesses, some acute emergencies and other chronic long term life threatening conditions all in the past year. That list is long, just like yours.
We are NOT afraid. Living life is a daily choice. Choosing to isolate away from “the world” pretending that all or most risk can be managed is one way. Another, is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, make good decisions for you and your family, and live into every day prioritizing family and friends and neighbors in Love and Service in spite of the risks and laws imposed by civil and social authorities.
I say that every day is an opportunity. The world turns regardless of what we do. Finding the balance in choices and freedom and associated accountability with consequence is the ever spinning wheel of control. We aren’t in control of much but we do have free will. We choose to be together, to smile, to eat, and to serve.
Be. Love. Serve. Repeat. This is the way.
There are a lot of people worried about censorship on FB and YouTube. I’m one of them. Also: consider that Google is the real information broker. They “censor” and promote content? Of course they do. And most would never even know it. HOW exactly will you get info if the search engines went “offline”. Consider your data consumption and curating plans carefully. Things could change in the blink of an eye. Preparation is best.
The monopoly on information access and connectivity is a major danger in a world in crisis.
Cogs in the great wagon wheel boys. That is what we are. None of us are driving. We are along for the ride, and what a ride it is. #GodHasGotThis
We can all do ministry online and it doesn’t have to be all the time or all the same. It is fundamentally different to approach your community digitally, authentically, and in their world rather than the controlled and constructed world of a church building. A kingdom way of living is about living in a kingdom way in the world but not of it.
We are ALL ministers of the Gospel as believers. Like the disciples we have good days, and bad. Those days are more obvious in an always on real-time digital community. We still need to meet face to face and we will need to continue meeting online as well. The world has changed. Jesus brings us together if we choose His path. We all doubt. We all struggle. It is okay. We are also all here as beloved first born children of Christ. Each one of us is in His world not ours. Consider that God created the internet just as he ordains all things. It is a tool and should/must be used as all tools, carefully and powerfully. How we use it matters.
Authentic, honest, humble, proud, to influence, to learn, to listen... to Be. Love. Serve. Repeat. As we are. Where we are. When we are. Embrace old ways and new ways to DO and BE Christ in His world. Believe.
To Worship and Lead WORSHIP dynamically and authentically.
I've been pretty frustrated at the lack of execution by so many ministers including my own of late. Such wonderful ideas, so little action, such dependence on a "system" or "others" for action, such eviscerating opinions in their sermons presenting veiled attacks on personal political views of both sides collectivism vs individualism. As an individual committed to making a difference this decision to implement social initiatively force through the government is anathema to me.
Any minister fixated on the government’s power to implement morality and Christian “policy” is missing the reality of Jesus’ examples. Preaching a theocracy based collective autocracy model is not biblical.
We must choose to Be Love and Serve. Cheerfully. On a journey. With full armor and faith in our personal relationship with GOD. Not government.
Facebook and online media is a highlight reel.. its a version of me... but it is not me. If you want to know me, you can start here, but you have to go deeper... #WakeUpAmerica I don't apologize for living out loud. That isn't likely to happen. You shouldn't either. That said.. post your highlights for you.. not for everyone else. What are you proud of? What inspires you? What shocks you? Who do you serve freely? -- Those are questions that I ask as the editor in chief for my pages.
if you are thinking this : “he is so fat... big... huge...crazy...” you are part of the problem, not the solution. #MorbidObesity just one of many disorders that affect us. Mental health issues come to mind immediately as well. The urge to feel superior and think that the other guy is doing it to himself is not correct. It is morally reprehensible.
The person that you judge does not want to be less successful, less capable, disabled. They may indeed have issues with decisions, education, AND genetics, culture, friends, and environment. In fact, they do, and we all do.
Solving #morbidobesity is a huge challenge. It must be accomplished by individuals but they need help not judgement. Help us by accepting us as we are. Love us and encourage us but remember that we aren’t “better” because we look better. We are better because we are in control, we have more choices, and we are less disabled in a harsh, cruel, judging society.
Recognize that the words you use come from the thoughts you harbor. You are not healthy because he is fat. Together you can both be better.
Intersection of principles and practices...