Month: July 2010

Make My Life a Prayer to You / No Compromise

“No empty words, and no white lies. No token prayers, no compromise.”

– Keith Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982)

Over the last few weeks, I have been taking time to do some things for my personal growth.  I have been listening to the music of Keith Green.  There has not been a time where I have not been challenged and encouraged in my spiritual walk as a result of listening to his music.   I do not know of another singer / minister that has had a greater influence on me as a believer.   His music transcends time and although most of it was written and recorded over 30 years ago it is still as relevent as ever.  This week will mark the 28th anniversary of his death.

Keith Green (October 21, 1953) was a Contemporary Christian Music artist originally from Sheepshead Bay, New York. He had a Jewish background, but he grew up reading the New Testament. He called it “an odd combination” that left him open minded but deeply unsatisfied. His journey in life led him to drugs, South Asian mysticism, and “free love.” After experiencing what he described as a “bad trip,” he abandoned drug use and became bitter towards philosophy and theology in general. He would later state, however, that in the midst of all his skepticism, he felt that God “broke through [his] calloused heart,” and he became a born-again Christian.

More than the music, his message inspired me to commit my life to follow Christ.  Apart from my relationship with the Lord, I am not sure there has been a greater influence that challenged me to live for Christ.

Keith Green died on July 28, 1982, when the Cessna 414 leased by Last Days Ministries crashed after takeoff from the private airstrip on his property. The small two-engine plane was carrying eleven passengers and the pilot, Don Burmeister, for an aerial tour of the property and the surrounding area. Green and two of his children, three year old Josiah, and two year old Bethany, were on board the plane, along with visiting missionaries John and Dede Smalley and their six children. All aboard the seven-seat aircraft were killed.

I struggle, even after all these years, trying to figure out why a pilot would allow 12 people aboard a plane designed for 7.  I also struggle in trying to understand why God would take a man that had such a great ministry and influence on so many people.  These will be some of the questions that I would like to ask when I get to heaven.

Just before he died, I had the opportunity to see him in concert…concert is a strong word because it was more like a revival service.   I think he preached more than he sang.   It was great.  The challenge he gave to all of us back then is the same as today…”don’t fall asleep in the light of God’s directiont” …make sure you fulfill what God has asked you to be for Him…and that is a witness.

I remember him saying, “I repent of ever having recorded one single song, and ever having performed one concert, if my music, and more importantly, my life has not provoked you into committing your heart more completely to Jesus!”

Indeed his music and ministry did just that.

If you open your mind and heart to Keith’s message…maybe…just maybe…God’s Love will break through to your heart as well. I hope you catch that message as you research his life…

May this be the day that you let God’s love break through to your heart.

Cleaning Up the Mess

I just spent the night cleaning up my office.   Sounds fairly easy…but in reality it is a chore I hate to do.  Why?  I am a pack rat.  I keep everything.  If  something has the slightest sentimental value I struggle with throwing it away.

Ever tried cleaning up a room that was totally trashed? By the time the desk drawers won’t shut and the chair disguises as an unseen colony of clothes and clutter — when the last shoe has finally dropped and you’ve been surrounded by the law of gravity — it’s time to do the “big stuff” first.

The glaring things.  The obvious things.

This is the easy part of cleaning.

But I struggle with what to do after I clean the ” Big Stuff”.

Why?  Because underneath the “Big Stuff” are the  chief culprits of what makes my office messy.   It is what is not necessarily seen by the eye at first glance.   It is the thin layer of dust in the corners, on the baseboards and on the shelves.   Pockets of disarray you didn’t notice before, but now — with all the major problems taken care of — they cry out for a complete cleaning.

So with my mighty “swiffer” in hand,  I attempt to tackle those unseen and hard to reach places that need my attention.  I start with quick short swipes and then I realize that I am making a bigger mess.  The faster I go the worse I made the dust fly around the room.  I need to slow down and take a methodical approach to cleaning those layers of dust.

On and on it goes, it never seems to stop.   The more I clean…the more I find.   The light exposes another patch of dust, desperately trying to hide from my mighty “swiffer”.   At times I just want to stop, there just seems to be way too much dust to keep going.    I even try to convince myself that my allergies are reacting to the dust so that I can get out of finishing the job.

However, I press on.  Soon I see the fruits of my labor.  The hard work has paid off and I have cleaned the whole room… it is spotless.   I could wipe the corners with a white glove and not pick up any of the dust that was there just a few hours before.

As a Christian,  I am reminded that this is how it is in our Christian walk.  Many times it is easier to take care of the “Big Stuff”  (i.e. sins) that we need to take care in our lives.  However, for most of us, it is the small unseen things in our lives that keep us from doing the right thing for the cause for Christ. Bitterness, pride, regret, resentment, disappointment and anger are just a few things that are not necessarily seen by the eye but keep us from having a “right” relationship with Jesus Christ.

We need to stay constantly open to the white glove of God’s Word.  He wants us to realize that the “dust” that we hide in our lives can be more of a problem than we think.  God wants us to constantly rid…clean…lay aside the “baggage “that keeps us from serving Him.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  – Hebrews 12:1

Take time to consider about what keeps you from really doing something for God.

Then…start cleaning today.  You will soon see the fruits of your labor.

I Didn’t Fail, I Just Found Another Way To Do It Wrong

As I sat at my desk in the early morning hours, I was putting the final touches on my project.   Just a few more key strokes and I would be done.  I thought,  I have fulfilled a lifelong dream.  I had finally completed a project that I had worked on for over two years. I expected to feel elated, but instead felt numb.   Completing that project had been a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual marathon.   I felt as though every intelligent thought I’d ever had, I’d poured into that project.   I couldn’t think and I was sure that I didn’t have a single word left in my brain.

All I had to do now was to save the project and get some sleep.   I clicked on the save button and almost immediately the screen began to flicker and suddenly go blue.  The blue screen of death.    I felt the shot of adrenaline pass through my stomach and up my spine.   At first I was in denial.   I tried to convince myself that the computer just shut itself down and it would not be a major problem.  I hurriedly tried to re-boot my computer.  As I waited for the computer to come on,  all the hours of research, the countless pictures scanned and the 450 pages of  my project flashed in my mind.   My computer would not boot up.  The realization that I failed to save my project on disk sent another wave of sickening adrenaline through my system.  The sense of loss and the inability to blame anyone else weighed heavy on my heart.  I would find out later that morning that my computer had crashed and all of the information was lost and could not be recovered.

For the next three weeks, I struggled.  I have to admit, there were times I almost cried.  I tried every way I could think of to blame someone else for my situation.  But in the end,  I could not blame anyone else for my failure to back up my project.  It was my fault and I knew it.   I was now going to have to start over.  What had taken me over two years to complete, would now have to be re-written.   I did not have the desire nor the heart to start it again.  My failure had defeated me…for a while.

Failure.

Tomas Edison, after thousands of failures when he was inventing the light bulb, is quoted as to have said,

I Didn’t Fail, I Just Found Another Way To Do It Wrong

Now I am not sure that Edison’s perspective is right, but I do know that many people experienced epic failure before they were credited with success.


Failure is something we’d rather talk about after its overcome with subsequent success.  That’s unfortunate, because failure teaches us things we can’t learn any other way.   I have been told that the doorway to success is entered through the hallway of failure.    Lord knows, if that is indeed true, I should be the most successful person ever.

Are you learning from your failures?  If so…what are you learning?