I don’t know why but recently I have been in a rut. Not one of leaving Christ or anything of the sort. But simply, being pessimistic and judgmental and unloving. Lazy has been a huge thing for me recently. I mean Mike’s series came at the perfect time yet still no application on my part. I don’t really understand where all this has come from but I have been struggling to pursue holiness recently. Anyways, today, I started reading “The Discipline of Grace” by Jerry Bridges, a favorite author mine – one who helped shape me earlier on in my Christian walk. And this book has hit me so hard. Basically, the premise of the book is about how there is a part that we should play in our run with God. We shouldn’t just live as if grace is all that matters and that we can just sit by and grow in Christ. He shows the reader that you have to constantly pursue God in all of your life. Even though it is by grace that we are saved, it is a discipline to follow Christ. A journey of pushing forward. A journey of perseverance. I am about a quarter of the way through this book and it is still hitting me hard. Here are some quotes that have hit me thus far: “Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.” “The seriousness of sin is not simply measured by its consequences, but by the authority of the One who gives the command.” – this one hits me because of watching Band of Brothers over the past week or so. There is an officer in the miniseries, played by Ross from Friends, who is a real jerk and clueless as to how to lead soldiers in a time of war. Anyways, long story short, he gets demoted and one of the officers below him takes over. Ross Officer doesn’t go off to Normandy but stays back and the lower officer, Winters, becomes Battalion Commander. Then all this stuff starts happening and Ross comes back to them in Europe. He walks by Winters and doesn’t salute, as you always should a superior officer. And Winters tells Ross to salute him by saying, “You salute the rank, not the man.” Same way with sin, the gravity of the sin doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we have offended, defied, spit on, hurt, and rebelled against our God and Father. Then Bridges quotes an old Puritan preacher to make his point about how all of our acts are filthy before God and that nothing that we can do is good enough to satisfy His wrath, “even our tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Jesus is the only One who can appease God’s wrath and gain forgiveness for ourselves. And finally, the one that I need to hear most of the time in my life with God, “when [Jesus] lived a life of perfect obedience, it is as if we had lived a life of perfect obedience.” “What He did, we did.” That is how God views us now When He sees us, He sees His Son.
I meant to put this out the other day, but honestly, with all the holidays, I forgot. Enjoy.
1 – O come, O come Emmanuel
2 – Feliz Navidad
3 – All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
4 – The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire) – Nat King Cole 5 – Greensleeves (What Child is this?)
6 – O holy night
7 – Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
8 – White Christmas – Bing Crosby
9 – Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer – Burl Ives
10 – I pray on Christmas – Harry Connick, Jr.
11 – when my heart finds christmas – Harry Connick Jr.
12 – Baby it’s cold outside – Jessica Simpson & Nick Lache
13 – Frosty the Snowman
14 – Happy Xmas (war is over) – John Lennon
15 – Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
16 – Carol of the Bells
17 – Somewhere in my memory – John Williams
18 – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
19 – Run Rudolph Run – Bryan Adams
20 – The First Noel
21 – Silver Bells – Harry Connick Jr.
22 – My Grown-up Christmas List – Michael Buble
23 – Christmas (baby please come home) – U2
24 – Little Saint Nick – Beach Boys
25 – a holly jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
Christmas time is always a favorite of mine.This week has so far started with a bang of excitement and joy. We had Bunch Christmas on Sunday (always a time I look forward to) and it went by very fast. I believe that I was at the party for about 8 hours plus. That is an awesome family. I don’t take it for granted that I have a family that can come together so easily and have an awesome time. We can kid with each other and all in all, make fun of each other. Great times. Then on Monday, Christmas Eve, a friend and I went to Newspring to see their Christmas Eve service. I have always enjoyed Perry Noble‘s blog and it was great to get another chance to go see what God is doing in their church. The service started off with an elf picking us up on his “sleigh” and taking us to the front door. Then the service went on and dang, the music was awesome, with a girl who can sing better than any I have ever heard (live). It was unbelievable. It was really not a time for me to sing but a time for me to just listen and enjoy. I was speechless (as most of you know, that is a miracle in itself). Then Perry Noble spoke. It was great. He is such a passionate and hilarious speaker. He really hit me to the core with his message. One statement that stuck out to me was, “Christmas is not about Jesus. Life is about Jesus.” That hit me because he was referring to how churches always spend time discussing his birth on Christmas and ignore it the rest of the year. It hit me. Then Christmas day. I usually can’t sleep the night before. Ever. No matter what. Even when I know what I am getting. I can’t usually sleep. But this year, I did. I was worn out from the drive to Anderson, SC. I even slept in until 9 am. Then went over to my uncle’s house for an amazing breakfast (as the usual year brings about). After that, fun-filled morning, I went over to Chapel Hill to hang with another uncle. It was a great time of hanging out with my grandma. I loved it. Then today. I rode with my dad in his truck to SC. I have never ridden in a big rig so today was a first. Awesome time. I got to spend some time watching “Band of Brothers,” the gift I gave to my dad for Christmas. I will do a small group with Band of Brothers someday, watch out Reedy Fork. Ok, to give some details to the next week for me, here is a list of things I get to do:Thursday – guitar lessons, and shopping for a sound systemFriday – chill time Saturday – nothing Sunday – Patio, and then the most amazing thing will happen – the Tarheel game with my dad. They will destroy the crappy team that they have to play. Monday – Will and I are moving into the new house in the Fork. If you can help us move in, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday – ’08 starts.
Ok, the other day, I wrote about how I love iTunes and the great excitement that I got from a $30 giftcard to it.
Here are some of the stuff that I bought:
“West Coast” and “Sunny Day” by Cocunut Records (if you like Jason Schwartzman from Rushmore and the Wes Anderson flicks, this is his group – also check out his brother’s band – Rooney)
The Legend (greatest hits) album by Bob Marley (I seriously have bought this cd 3 times now – I had it in high school and seriously wore it out – someone explain to me how you can wear out a cd, seriously)
“Slow dancing in a burning room” (acoustic version) by John Mayer – seriously, my favorite Mayer song.
“The Longest Time” – Billy Joel – classic
“Sea of Love” – Cat Power – words can’t express this one
“Whole Wide World” – Wreckless Eric – as made famous by Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction
“Find Love” – Clem Snide
“Dressed to Kill” and “Falling in love at a coffee shop” by Landon Pigg – new favorites (some who watch Grey’s Anatomy might recognize some of these songs)
“Wish you were here” – Pink Floyd – I don’t know what’s wrong with me to have waited so long to get this song. Oh yeah I do, laziness. Check out Mike‘s blog on how to overcome it.
“More Time” – needtobreathe – artist of the year in my opinion – I keep getting impressed by them
“You could not decide” – French Kicks – great song that describes me in many ways
and the favorite of the month (maybe the year):
“Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” – Rufus Wainwright – I have heard good things from him and finally I have downloaded songs by him. I am utterly astonished at his voice and the beautiful strings in his songs. Great timbre as well as superb arrangements.
I don’t know about you, but man, oh man, I love me some iTunes.
I just received a $30 giftcard and I am just scouting out some new talent. There is a ton going on right now. I am kind of in a mood to buy Christmas music but this will only last a week or so. Oh well, new stuff will be in the way.
Well, I just realized tonight that next week I am going to release my favorite Christmas songs on this blog. Check it out this Sunday.
Ok, this day was busy for me, I am going to bed.
Well, today I went to another wedding. My sophomore roommate got married today. It was great. Small and intimate. I liked it a whole lot. Got to catch up with a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years. The wedding brought people from Germany, Hawaii, New York all back to the G-boro. It was great. I had a ton of fun. And the best part is that I now have planned trips to Germany, Hawaii, and New York to visit for a couple weeks in 08. It will be good times. Free place to stay and good sightseeing on the way. In Hawaii, I am going to go skydiving and film it.
Ok, enough of that excitement. I have another great thing to talk about. Ok, here’s the deal, I love Journey. Yep, the band. And a while back, Steve Perry, the singer, stopped being a part of the band (really sad) so they have been missing a vocalist. Anyways, the guitarist, his name slips my mind at the moment, went searching for a vocalist on youtube where he spent hours. He finally has found one and I must say, dang, he is good. His name is Arnel Pineda and check out this cover song of Journey that got him the new position.
Well, Mike has been doing a great little series about overcoming laziness, and man, it is really hitting me.
This is the biggest struggle that I face. It is so easy for me to lose sight of many hours throughout my day. I don’t know if you struggle with this, but I do. His blog today was concerning distractions. This is the thing I am learning to be most careful about. To be most watchful of.
Well, I am currently working on a list of things that I am going to fast for a while. I am going to try to do certain fasts for a month and see how they go. After a month, I will evaluate my need for that specific thing or at least, evaluate the consumptions that I allow myself to have of those items. The fasting started this month, when I began fasting any time spent on facebook. It will lead to a fast of food, soft drinks, even eating out, television, books not of the bible, music – other than rehearsals for the Patio, and various other things that I am teaching myself to not lean on.
It was interesting to fast tv for a day. Wednesday night, Mike challenged Will to fast the tube for a day and I decided to join in later that night. But the thing I found out was that when I went to the gym, without even thinking about it, I got on a stationary bike and it had a tv on it and I began to watch. Three or so minutes into it, I realized that it was on. I had failed without even noticing. How sad is that. Well I haven’t watched an ounce since then and man, I feel refreshed. I feel that I am able to do more work which is odd because I don’t really spend much time on the telly. I never watch cable as there are too many commercials. I only watch tv show box sets which can lead to many hours but recently, I have limited myself to very little of that.
But I read an article today that hit me hard about television. If you feel that you watch too much television, read this.