I am pleased to announce that the band and I will be on tour for four weeks this summer! We will once again be joining Never The Same (NTS) for three of the four weeks. We recorded our soon to be released live worship project with them last summer. Be on the lookout for the live video's we shot last year as well. Great Stuff! We will also be returning to New Camp in Dayton, TN. Can't wait to see you all!!!
This past fall I was privileged to spend the month of October on tour with my Pastor, Dr. Michael Easley. Dr. Easley is also formerly the president of Moody Bible Institute and is often asked to speak at various conferences and events. One of our tour stops was at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, NC where Dr. Easley spoke on "Living Faithfully In Trying Times." During one of his talks Dr. Easley offered this quote and I thought I'd pass it along. I hope you find it as renewing as I have.
"The reason we are led into trouble and out again is not merely that we may value happiness the more from having lost it once and found it again, but that we may know something which we could not know except by that teaching, that we may bear upon our nature some impress which could not have been stamped except on natures just so softened to receive it." ~Phillips Brooks, The Candle of the Lord, 1884
In 2005 I spent about six weeks in South Africa. I had been brought over with a group of American musicians to help lead and teach worship to university students and to churches in both Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It was an amazing trip to say the least. We met one of Nelson Mandela’s closest officials and had tea in his home. He then personally escorted us on a tour of the bush and a wild game preserve where we saw giraffe, rhino, elephants and countless wonders you read about in story books from the time your in diapers. It was like nothing I have ever done before or since.
About three days before the end of the trip we were told a surprise had been lined up for us. We loaded in a van before the sun rose and proceeded “over the river and through the woods” until we arrived at a little house on a remote beach on the coast of the Indian Ocean. We were told that we didn’t have to participate but if we wanted to, we were being presented a very rare opportunity.....shark diving. Not just any sharks mind you but Great White’s! It was just like what you’d see on the Discovery Channel. You get in a metal cage over the side of a boat and float, surrounded by bait, until the shark comes along and in an attempt to eat the bait scares you half to death. Well if you know me then you know I couldn’t wait to get in that cage. It was surreal!!! I loved every minute of it and hope to do it again someday with my family.
Once I came back to America people asked about my trip: How was it? What did you do? Did you have a good time? Wow, I was overwhelmed, not by there questions so much but by how to answer them. I mean, what do you say when someone asks you what it’s like to stand 30 feet away from wild giraffe or float in a cage with Great White sharks literally inches from my face? What words do you use to describe that? Nothing I could’ve said could communicate everything I’d felt. But when I met someone who had been to South Africa the conversation was entirely different. There was very little said, it was mostly understood. They would say things like, “Wasn’t it just awe inspiring?” or “Can you hardly wait to go back?” or “I still haven’t gotten over my trip!” They didn’t ask many questions because they knew. They knew there was nothing I could say to communicate the way the trip had affected me and that perhaps anything I did say might feel like I was cheapening the experience.
That’s exactly what it’s like to try and describe my love for my son. What can I say, what words are there to describe that...feeling, if it is a feeling? How is that quantifiable? How do I make sense of the way I can wake up at 2:00am and miss him when he’s just the next room over? How do you understand the sincerity of my joy when I tell you “he peed on me.... again” like it’s an honor badge? Really, how do I describe that? I don’t know that I can describe it with words but I’ll try to show him, everyday for the rest of his life, just how much I love him by the way I live. Of course I’ll try to tell him, after all I’m a songwriter (words are never in short supply), but it will be the way my love for him causes me to act that will make all the difference.
So how do I describe our Heavenly Father’s love for us, knowing that my love for my son Henry is just a small shadow of the love God has for us? What would I use to measure it? What would I compare it to? I could tell you when I look at the mountains I hear the Father say, “Yeah, my love, it’s big like that” or when I look at the ocean He whispers, “My love for you, it’s wider than that”, but even the mountains and ocean fall short. It’s only when we look at our Heavenly Fathers actions that we even begin to realize just how incomprehensible His love for us really is. It’s only when we realize that His love for us caused Him to give up His own Son’s life, crucified on a cross, so that He might redeem our lives to Himself in exchange for the life of Jesus, that we understand that we cannot understand. There is no measure for that kind of love, there is no comparison.
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the gospel six weeks ago. Since Henry’s birth however, I am convinced I am clueless. I’ll just be honest; I wouldn’t give up my son’s life for any of you. Yes, I’m that “selfish”, if that’s what you call it. If you don’t have kids it’s not a lot different than asking me about my trip to Africa. Trying to describe my sentiment is futile. For those of you who are parents you know exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t have to defend the way I feel to you. You just get it.
“For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son...”, I understand the value of that statement a little more today than I did six weeks ago, but I’m still a long way off.
I’m still brewing over this quote I heard several months ago now:
“Doing things for God is not the same thing as spending time with God”
What an incredible reminder. I think we all get so caught up going from function to function, event to event, service to service that we forget to actually spend time WITH God.
I am guilty of that this week for sure. I have had so much on my plate with this tour (as you’ll notice it’s Thursday and this is my first post this week). It seems like the first thing to go is my quiet time. How ridiculous is that! The first thing to go is the most important! Ugh. When we become so busy doing for God, or doing the “stuff” of life, that we forget to spend time with God we have become too busy.
What has taken your attention away from what’s most important? Let’s re-establish our priorities, slow down and get back to what matters.
Love you all.