Category Archives: Music

“Tomorrow is a Long Time”

So lately I’ve been listening to “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” and I’m a big fan of it.  It was originally written by Bob Dylan and recorded by a whole ton of folks, but eventually Dylan cut his own version, which is great (it’s on iTunes).  My favorite, though, is the latest rendition by Nickel Creek because of the way they’ve arranged Dylan’s simple poetry-to-guitar-music original.  The vocals, guitar, mandolin, and violin are awesome together. Read more

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To Whom It May Concern (music from The Civil Wars)

Lately I’ve come to the realization that I’m a fan of good music.  I have also lately been looking for more mellow music to read and write to.  Over the period of several days, several different random acquaintances have suggested a newer crew called “The Civil Wars” and I put it on my wait list until I got done with my slow-hand blues kick that I was on.  Had I known I was missing their haunting harmonies and mellow free-flowing folksy tone, I would have tarried not.

Anyway, I must say it’s been quite a while since the last song that truly took my breath away when I realized the lyrics.  Although I enjoy music, it rarely touches my soul – but when I was listening to the downloaded Civil Wars Barton Hollow album, I was struck speechless at how close the lyrics to “To Whom It May Concern” came to a rarely-pricked piece of my heart.

I’ll post some more of my thoughts on this topic here pretty soon, but I just wanted to share this sweet song with you.

Here are the lyrics:

“To Whom It May Concern” by The Civil Wars

Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be

How long will you make me wait?
I don’t know how much more I can take

I missed you
But I haven’t met you
Oh how I want to
How I do

Slowly counting down the days
Till I finally know your name

The way your hand feels round my waist
The way you laugh
The way your kisses taste

I missed you
But I haven’t met you
Oh how I want to
How I do, How I do

I missed you
But I haven’t met you
Oh how I missed you
I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
Oh how I want to

Dear whoever you might be
I’m still waiting patiently.

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Revelation Song

I’ve had Kari Jobe’s “Revelation Song” (mostly Shane and Shane’s version on their latest record) playing on my iPod the last couple of weeks, and it’s been a huge encouragement to me because it brings me hope of heaven and the unending worship that I’ll one day experience at the foot of God’s throne.

My favorite thing about it (and any other worship-inducing music that I listen to) is that it basically puts Scripture into song.  The particular passage in question for this song is Revelation 4 where we get a glimpse through John’s eyes into the throne room in heaven.  Kari sings that Christ is the slain lamb who sits on Heaven’s mercy seat – the place where sin is atoned for.  The precious imagery refers back to the Old Testament sacrificial system and the Ark of the Covenant is beautiful, haunting, and shows the immense weight of the sacrifice which made my salvation both possible and secure.  More precious still, Hebrews 8-9 goes into great detail about how Christ fulfills a much better covenant – a perfect one-time sacrifice in a heavenly temple that is the substance that casts the shadow of the whole Old Testament sacrificial system.

It is exactly this sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his ensuing resurrection that makes my worship of God both beautiful to him and possible for me.  In light of the redemption that I have in Jesus I am free to worship the Lord and bring him glory as one of his children.  And not only me, but all of God’s people sing his praises, and we join with all creation to praise our King of kings and Lord of lords.  Truly he is everything that we have, everything that means anything, and everything for which we live.  This, sadly, is not my heart posture at all times.  There are many occasions when I fail and place my worth in a myriad of other things.  But the astounding truth is that God loves me in the midst of my struggles and pride and junk.  He isn’t waiting for me to fix my sin before he will love me; no, he freely gives his love and grace to those who claim his name and follow him.

So the one who was, who existed from eternity past, has known me and formed me and called me and saved me unto himself.  And not only was he, but he is – he is with me in my struggles, with me in this life that so easily confuses me, and he walks with me as a teacher, leader, shepherd, father, and holy God.  He knows my struggles and my sins, and he is with me as I navigate my way through this life to his glory.  And God is the one who is to come – the story isn’t over; there’s still time on the clock. There is a day coming (and it will soon be here) when Christ will return to simultaneously slay the wicked and secure his followers unto himself.  So my hope doesn’t rest on this world – it rests on my Christ Jesus, the God who will return for his people one day.

Along those lines I also really like the way that the imagery in Revelation 4 makes its way into “Revelation Song” – the vision of God seated on his throne is higher than my imagination, but it does strike me with wonder and fear that I will one day see my Lord on his throne with my own eyes.  When this world begins to steal my affections and distract me with busy-ness, tempt me with my desire for others’ approval, I am tempted to despair.  One thought with two aspects is what anchors me in a heavenly, eternal perspective.  The first aspect is that this world is a fleeting vapor, an ephemeral existence.  It is temporary, fallen, and meant to lift our eyes to heaven.  The second aspect is that heaven is an eternal, beautiful, peaceful, restful place where I can (along with my brothers and sisters in Christ) enjoy unrestricted and uninterrupted communion with my Lord.  I can’t wait to be in heaven, but God has seen fit to keep me here for this time, so I’ll go about his work seeking his glory in all things.

So give “Revelation Song” a listen – it’s good stuff for sure.  And let this vision of eternity fuel your passion for God’s glory in this temporal place that he has put us in.

 

“Revelation Song”
by Kari Jobe

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat

Chorus:
Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

(chorus)

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery
Yeah…

(chorus)

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Restless

Lately I’ve listened to “Restless” by Audrey Assad as I’ve settled in to life in Missouri.  She came to LifePoint (my home church) and I’ve kicked myself for not going to that concert.  Anyway, I’ve felt a bit of yearning to be older, to be married, and to be a pastor full-time so that I can serve and teach and lead like I believe God has called me to.

But one thing that I’ve known all along (and re-realize from time to time) is that God is at work in the times where I feel restless.  Just because I’m not where I eventually want to be doesn’t mean that where I’m at serves no purpose.  So in my restlessness, I praise God for his sovereignty.  I praise him that he gives me what I need, not what I want.  And I realize that I’m restless in this life because I’m not home.  I’m not in heaven; I’m in this temporary house that sharpens and sanctifies me, makes me yearn for more – makes me yearn for my God.

This is the thought that Augustine expressed in his book ‘Confessions,’ which happens to be that inspired “Restless.”  His prayer to God reads (loosely) that ‘we are restless until we find rest in [God].’  This simple but profound truth has immense implications that I can hardly scratch the surface of, but it most certainly rings true in my restless heart.

In Christ I find the only security, the only satisfaction, the only answer that gives my restless heart peace.  I truly am restless, insecure, impatient, and frustrated.  But in Christ I am made new, made whole, and made to be of great worth in God’s economy.

So though I started this day restless and frustrated, I pray that I put into my heart and speak to my soul the promises that are all confirmed and established in Christ, and may I see that my restlessness drives me to the one in whom I have eternal rest.

watch Audrey playing “Restless”:

[song starts about 20 seconds in]

Restless
by Audrey Assad

You dwell in the songs that we are singing
Rising to the Heavens
Rising to Your heart

Our praises filling up the spaces
In between our frailty and everything You are
You are the keeper of my heart

And I’m restless
I’m restless
‘Til I rest in You
(Oh God I wanna rest in You)

Oh speak now for my soul is listening
Say that You have saved me
Whisper in the dark
‘Cause I know You’re more than my salvation

Without You I am hopeless
Tell me who You are
You are the keeper of my heart

Still my heart
Hold me close
Let me hear a still small voice
Let it grow
Let it rise
Into a shout
Into a cry

I am restless until I rest in You

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Winter

In a lot of ways 2009 was a tough year for me. Struggling with loneliness, bitterness, and burnout along with all kinds of other sins too numerous to mention here, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a deeper need for God and had it answered with a more fleeting joy. Looking back over my journal entries, written prayers, and various writings I’ve also seen a theme of bone-weariness that taken a heavy toll on me spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. So in the post-sunset twilight hours of 2009 I am compelled to reflect on what a year it was, and speculate on the first glow of 2010’s sunrise as it peaks over the horizon.

Even though it has been one of the toughest years in the hardest season of my life yet (my post-graduate mid-20’s), I am hopeful in God’s purposes for me. He has never and will never forsake me. And his goodness doesn’t depend on my happiness – he is good whether I die tonight on my way home or whether I live to see my great-grandchildren. And even though I am very tired and weary right now and it feels like winter in my soul, I am looking forward to the day when I look back on this time and see the hidden smile of God all the while. And I am looking forward to a time when life begins to make sense again. But most of all I am looking forward with eager expectation to the eternal rest that awaits me in heaven.

So right now I am breathing a sigh of relief – relief that a tough year is past and I am another year closer to heaven; relief that God has yet again proven himself faithful in answering my needs, and relief that God is much bigger than my struggles.

God, even though life doesn’t make sense to me right now my faith in you remains steadfast because you are more than struggles, more than certainty, more than confidence, and more than I could ever have hoped for. Even though I see in part and know in part, I praise you that you know more fully than I ever will, and I ask that you sustain me in my nearsightedness. I pray that you remind me of your goodness and your sovereignty in times like these, and I pray that I don’t miss what you’re teaching me through them. God you are so gracious to me in giving me the righteousness of Christ – I pray that I don’t take it for granted and that I am a good steward of the gifts that you’ve given me. Let me live for you; let me glorify you with my thoughts, actions, words, and motivations. Give me the grace to yearn for you and seek you in all that I do. And I pray that I follow you faithfully this year, no matter where you lead me or what you lead me through.

“Winter”
by Shawn McDonald

Sometimes I feel like winter, cold I feel
Icicles are forming
It’s hard to tell what is real
Cold winter, cold winter day

Frost is on the windshield and it’s hard to see
Air is like slivers
It’s hard to breathe
It’s a cold winter, cold winter day

Warm me up inside
And let your face from me not hide
‘Cause You are what I long for
To melt this cold heart of mine
‘Cause when You are around I am found

Sometimes I feel like the prodigal, a wandering weary son
Gone in search of something beautiful
Something to make me one
It’s a cold winter, cold winter day

The world is full of lies that will only rob you blind
Hit ya’ when you are not looking
And steal away your time
It’s a cold winter, cold winter day

And warm me up inside
Let Your face from me not hide
‘Cause You are what I long to find
To melt this cold heart of mine
And when You are around I am found

Warm me up inside
And let your face from me not hide
‘Cause You are what I long to find
To melt this cold heart of mine
‘Cause when You are around

‘Cause when You are around
And when You are around I am found

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