I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I just wanted to pass along our version of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” that we played a few weeks ago. Hope to see ya in the new year!
We have some dates upcoming this weekend and I’d really appreciate your prayers. We’ve been serving a lot more at our home church lately, which has been amazing, but our ‘touring’ muscles haven’t been worked out much. We’ll be in Indiana and Louisiana this week…visiting two very different worlds but worshiping the same God.
This Friday and Saturday we’re playing at Indiana Wesleyan University. We’ll be playing their chapel services, a few conference sessions, and playing a concert with Switchfoot on Friday night. We’ve fostered a really great relationship with this University so it’s always fun to go back and hang with those guys!
And then on Monday and Tuesday we are traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to play at Angola Prison. Angola is most famous for being the largest maximum security prison in the country. In the 90s, this was considered the bloodiest prison in America. Eighty percent of the inmates are serving life sentences with no chance for parole.
But in recent days God has been working among the inmates and there is a movement of God’s kingdom happening within the walls of the prison. Several churches have formed within those walls. Lives are being changed. Things are happening. So we’re teaming up with several pastors and some NFL players that we have relationship with (Bill Hybels, Reverend James Meeks, Mike Singletary) and we’re gonna go worship together, share stories, build some relationships, and see what happens!
Anyway, there are so many details that we’re sorting through the next couple days and then we go so, again, prayers appreciated!
We shared communion together at our church this weekend. As part of our time together we played the beautiful song, Mystery, by my friend and long-distance-mentor, from Oklahoma, Charlie Hall. The lyrics are as follows.
Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity / Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven broken for me / Cup of salvation held up to Drink
Jesus the mystery
Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again
If you grew up in a more main-line Christian tradition, you will recognize that prayer in the final line that is often spoken or sung during Holy Communion.
You can find the song right here.
A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to share our song, “Empty”, at Willow Creek Community Church.
This past weekend at church I shared with our community that I’m a forgetful person. If my wife needs me to do something she’ll hold me by the face, look at me in the eyes until she has my attention, and then - slowly - ask for what she needs me to do. As if I’m some sort of puppy in training!
I’ll nod my head in obedience and then quickly start repeating the request in my head so I can hopefully retain the information.
Five minutes later I’ve forgotten.
We are forgetful people aren’t we?
I think we forget how God views us.
We need to remember.
So we spent some time reflecting on the following passages this weekend.
If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus all of these statements are already true of you.
And if you’re exploring faith in Jesus all of these statements are available to you in him.
YOU ARE -
A Child of God - John 1:12
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
A Friend of Jesus - John 15:15
I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
Redeemed - Romans 3:24
Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
No Longer Condemned - Romans 8:1
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Free From Death - Romans 8:2
And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
A Temple of the Holy Spirit - 1 Corinthians 6:19
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.
A Transformed Person - 2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.
Forgiven - Ephesians 1:7
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
God’s Masterpiece - Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
A Citizen of Heaven - Philippians 3:20
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
Provided For - Philippians 4:19
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Loved - 1 Thessalonians 1:4
We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.
Father help us to see ourselves the way that you see us.
It has been a wonderful and busy summer for us. We’ve been at it since mid-May and we just finished up our summer tour. I’m sitting here sorting through pictures so I thought I’d just share a few!
Wetzlar, Germany was so amazing! Here are some pics.
We were in a tiny village in El Salvador last month capturing footage for Celebration of Hope at Willow Creek Community Church. I borrowed a guitar from one of the locals and my friends Bjorn Admusen and Blaine Hogan shot this footage.