Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘United States’

Somewhere

Last night we finally got a chance to catch up with a program called – American’s Got Talent.  And as a student of all great singing reality shows, this one has been an interesting one to watch this season.  Some of these individuals and groups have some really great talent!  This next group is one that caught my attention.  And as a voice major myself – I always perk up when someone comes on these shows that can really sing.  These three guys met online and combined their beautiful voices to make a trio called “Forte”.  This is their performance from Radio City Music Hall.  The ending gave me chills!  If you missed it – here it is!

Enjoy and God Bless

There She Stands

This morning I was reflecting back on past 4th of July’s.  The fireworks, the friends, food and laughter.  The many places we have lived and the many venues where we have participated in fireworks, or just stood by and watched.  We’ve been involved in fireworks stands and 4th of July choir celebrations.  But none is so meaningful as the song featured on this moving video by Michael W. Smith, “There she stands”.

I found this video that someone had made for a Celebration of America at his Trinity Baptist church.  It features three great songs with pictures – but if you can make it all the way through the songs and pictures to the quote by a Franklin D. Roosevelt at the very end – you are stronger and less emotional than I am!  It is very worthwhile watching.  Watch – be blessed and thankful to be an American.

 

Happy 4th!

 

God Bess

The Absurd To The Ridiculous

This weekend in the Puget Sound we have experienced record-breaking high temperatures.  Usually the bottom level of our 2 story house stays pretty cool.  The heat rises and only on the hottest day of the year (usually one or two) it is uncomfortable in the house.    The sundown brings in this lovely cool air – and with fans in every upstairs window we have cool air to sleep.   And if you don’t have anything to do during the day – don’t have to move around much – then it’s bearable.

But…not this weekend.

Recently we decided to rent our home by the end of the summer and to do so meant  throwing an open house.  Right in the middle of the heat wave.  This meant cleaning, packing boxes of books off of bookshelves, (to sell furniture)  getting each room “open house” ready, packing up personal belongings and pictures on walls,  patching holes etc..  Yes we are insane.  Most sane people in their right mind just go somewhere else to wait out the heat – not us.  We clean like two fools and have strangers walking through our home.  We planned this.  And we have sweat pouring down – glistening on our faces.  Every fan on in the house with the windows closed.  Priceless.

I know that this is one of those events that we will always remember.  Like so many we have experienced over the years – the more painful, the better the story.  We don’t ask for “drama” – live quiet, unassuming lives – and yet – we seem to always get the good stories.

I’m starting to believe that we are so boring – (even our pups thinks we are) we need something drastic and radical to shake us up out of our slumber and complacency!   Nothing like a heat wave and no air conditioning to do just that!  It will be just our luck to get ready to move in another record-breaking heat wave at the end of the summer.  I can just imagine have a moving sale and trying to move furniture in this same heat.

If we end up living somewhere really warm – please let there be air conditioning.  I need less drama.  I need to be able to think straight.

Years ago we lived without air conditioning in triple digit heat, while I was pregnant with our daughter.  We lived in New Castle, PA and they were having record-breaking heat that summer.  But like any self-respecting woman – I didn’t sweat – I glistened and glowed.  (I still do)  And before children we lived a couple of years in Alaska.  One year in Fairbanks where they were having some really cold weather.  Dark and cold most of the winter.  I froze, my toes hurt, my nose and fingers were numb most of the time.  Good times.

Heat Wave (album)

Heat Wave (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We seem to always live where the extremes happen.

Again we do not ask for this – it just always seems to happen to us 🙂  The Absurd to the Ridiculous.

But we have not lost our sense of humor.  Yet.

Stay cool.

 

God Bless

 

To Remember

IMG_5390This weekend

we pause from usual activities

attend Memorial Services

watch the presentation of the colors

view those in uniform

representing decades long past

and those still active

we see flags line the green grassed gravestones

observe family and friends of the deceased

as they mourn

reflect

stand silent

and quietly weep

There is a soberness

a reverence

a hushed crowd

those with hand over hearts

and those who salute

we stand unified

one nation under God

sing songs of patriotism

and pray

all of this

to remember

A Unique Perspective

Photograph of Shuffleboard at the Century Vill...

Photograph of Shuffleboard at the Century Village Retirement Community – NARA – 548567 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday Greg and I had the opportunity to observe people in action.  People who manage a retirement community here in our area.  They were gracious hosts and showed us what they do to make a safe and comfortable environment for senior adults age 55 and older.  It is an independent living community, filled with many amenities, love and warmth.

The facility itself is large and beautiful – but what was impressive to us – were the people who live there.  Everyone was  happy, in good humor and eager to meet a new friend.  When we first walked up to the facility a couple of older gentlemen sitting outside the front doors flirted with me right in front of Greg,-  telling me that I had made their day – so cute 🙂  Greg got a real kick out of it and teased them back, which they found very endearing.  We walked in to  the large lobby where an art display was in progress.  The artist was a sweet lady in her 80’s that got started with art lessons at age 69!  There was wine and cheese and a display of her pictures with everyone milling around.  And we found to our amazement, someone we had known from a staff position at a nearby church about 5 years ago.  Greg had baptized this man and he had remembered the experience with fond memories.  It was great to talk with him and find out he had been in this facility for 19 months and LOVED IT!

In this unique independent living facility – the live in managers either make or break any feelings or atmosphere for the senior adults.  It was great to witness that this management couple was doing something right.  This kind of lifestyle is certainly not for everyone, but the rewards can far outweigh the drawbacks – because like church work – it is about people.  It is about ministry in the truest form – serving people.

Our unique perspective was in witnessing the dynamic of happy people living with a group of people who thrive on love, attention and time.

I think we are all like the people who live there.  We thrive when someone takes a special interest in us – someone who makes us feel special, our needs are important – and someone who really listens and understands.  It is a shame to think that we must become senior adults to have people pay attention to us in that way.

It is a lesson to all of us on this side of retirement.  It is a great reminder that life is short.  Enjoy each day as it comes.  Live each day to the fullest.  Listen to others.  Make others feel safe in your company.  Make others feel wanted and special.  Love on people.  Watch what happens.  See people  blossom right in front of your eyes.

 

God Bless

That’s The Way Love Goes

English: Lindsey Buckingham With Fleetwood Mac...

English: Lindsey Buckingham With Fleetwood Mac on March 3, 2009 in St. Paul, MN at the Xcel Energy Center. Photo by Matt Becker, melodicrockconcerts@gmail.com Use without citation is prohibited by law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who have an appreciation of 70’s music will remember Fleetwood Mac.  One of the members, Lindsey Buckingham is still making music today.  I was listening to this little gem on Spotify while doing some writing yesterday and wanted to share it with you.

Enjoy and God Bless


“That’s The Way Love Goes”

By Lindsey Buckingham

I’d like to take your pain away
Away, away, away
I’d like to take your shame away
Away, away, away

I lie alone and watch you sleep
I’d reach for you but I might weep
If you should tell me I must keep
Away, away, away

In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
Took a look and then saw your secret
Oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes.
In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
I took a look and then I saw your secret
Oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes.

I’d like to take your pain away
Away, away, away
Behind your shade the color’s fade
Away, away, away

The diamond falls, the hand is dealt
Upon the shrine where we once knelt
Oh how I wish this veil could melt
Away away away

In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
Took a look and then I saw your secret
Oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes,
In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
I took a look and then I saw your secret
Well, oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes it goes

In the dungeon couldn’t believe it no
I took a look and then I saw your secret
Well, oh, oh, oh
That’s the way that love goes
It goes, it goes.

It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes
It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes
It goes, it goes, it goes, it goes
It goes, it goes, it goes

I’d like to take your pain away
Away, away, away
I’d like to take your shame away
Away, away, away

Guest Post From Ray Carroll

I’m excited to feature a very special article today from my friend, Ray Carroll.  You can find his blog here at: Fallen Pastor. Ray knows first hand what it feels like to fail, be forgiven and restored again to health.  He is passionate about helping others.  His articles and story are compelling and encouraging.  Failure has made him a different man.  He has written a book about his experiences, available at Amazon.com entitled: Fallen Pastor.  If you know of anyone that needs a little help or someone to talk to – Ray is an excellent person.

Below is his response to the recent news events that touch the Christian community.  You will find his statements powerful and provocative, but right on.  I hope you will read it and enjoy it as much as I have.

Enjoy and God Bless!

Gay Marriage, the Church, and the Jesus Response

I was so thankful yesterday to get a Facebook inbox message from a friend who was concerned about the current argument in America over gay marriage. Like many Christians, she was concerned about the moral failure of the country. She had been watching Facebook and so have I. I too, have seen many comments like, “Why don’t people see what Scripture says?”

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch television news. For a good reason. It’s only purpose seems to be to rile people up over things that are insignificant. You get stressed out. I mentioned in an online magazine recently how watching TV news in a constant flow caused my mother anxiety.

She said she read my blog occasionally and never saw me write anything about the issue. I don’t. My blog is about fallen

Pic courtesy of PBS

Pic courtesy of PBS

pastors, mostly. Then, I write about issues secondary to that. Then, after that, I write about what tickles my fancy. I don’t avoid the big issues. I’ve written about big issues before, but they’re just not on the radar of what I do.

My response to her was probably not what she expected, but I hope it was biblical. (She did thank me for the sermon :) ) I want to post it here then add some comments after. Here it is, verbatim:

Here is what I would say. And I pray it’s the biblical thing, because any response of my own would be wrong.

I’d take it back to the apostle Paul who wrote to a church that was probably going through more moral decay than we are, if you can imagine. In his time, it wasn’t just the culture, it was members of the church who were declining in morality. Members of the church were going up to the pagan temple and sleeping with temple prostitutes.

Paul was surrounded by a pagan Roman culture that was filled with violence, sex, child molestation, and hedonism – and all of it was legal. But Paul didn’t write against the evil around him in the world. He wrote about the sin within the church. He says something interesting in 1 Corinthians 5:

Please take time to read more important stuff after the jump:

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.

seekPaul tells the church that the church should be watching out for immorality within it, not outside of it. There’s plenty of immorality within to watch out for. He was right. Today, there is sexual immorality, pornography, adultery, gluttony, and all kinds of sin within our own four walls – I should know. We have our own problems to attend to. God will take care of the problems outside.

And on that issue – does that mean we aren’t to care about the world we live in? Of course not. In John 16:33, Jesus said:

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

If the world will change, it will be because of Christ and the Gospel. It won’t be because Christians get on Facebook and complain. It will be because we care about people in this world, show the love and compassion of Christ to those in this world who are not like us, those who are outright sinners, rejected and thrown away by 99% of most churches.

Does that mean we accept all types of sin? Nope. But we love them and let God work on them.

Does it hurt to call a Congressman or Senator when a bill comes up that we don’t like or want to support? No, we should. We should be good citizens. But we should be even better citizens of heaven. Loving the rejected.

Remember that Christ didn’t minister to those who were religious. He went first to the outcast, the ill, the worst sinners in the bunch. Who would religious people see those people as today? I think it’s something to think about.

One more thing that I think is important. I think it’s easy to get worked up on one issue today. I don’t think gay marriage or any one other issue is going to ruin our country. Sin has been around since the fall of man. There is good news – that’s what Resurrection Sunday is about. We aren’t fighting a losing battle, we are in a winning one. Because of Christ, all is won for those who believe. There is always victory and he has given it to us.

Be confident in the future of the world that God has created. Be joyous in this life and know that Christ was victorious at the cross and continues to be victorious today.

That’s it. But I want to add a couple of things.

outcastsIt’s been a while since I pastored. If I was still the same man I was before I committed adultery, I think I’d probably be in the pulpit speaking a different message. And I think I would have been wrong. Have I gone into a grey area? No, I don’t think so.

Here is what has changed. I’ve seen what Christ did when he came to us. He didn’t waste his time with the religious people of the day. He went straight for the outcasts. Those who knew they needed something to happen in their lives. And he made it happen. They were broken people and they were ready to listen. Go check it out. Any story where Christ saved someone. Any story in Acts where people were saved after Christ ascended. Those people were broken. Their sins weren’t called out one by one, they just wanted to know God and they were called upon to repent.

What I see today is a church that is the religious right of Jesus’ day. Christ corrected those people. He interacted with the religious people, but he mostly told them that their hearts weren’t right. He told them that they needed internal cleansing. Then, he spent no more time with them and turned his attention to the people the religious crowd wanted nothing to do with.

Ask yourself – who are the people most mainline denominations want nothing to do with? That’s an easy answer. Who isn’t visiting your church? Bikers, ex-cons, homosexuals, thieves, adulterers, drug addicts, single parents with bratty children, fallen pastors, people with tattoos all over their bodies, alcoholics, people who have been married three or more times, suicidal people, those who have severe depression, those with severe financial difficulty, and if you’re in a white church – African-Americans, Latinos, or any other ethnic group.

I am afraid that our churches have become safe-havens for the self-righteous.

Our immediate response is, “Well, those people need to repent before they come to Christ.” Friends, our job isn’t the same job as God. God’s job is the work of salvation. Ours is to love and speak truth and show compassion. Salvation is entirely the work of God.

If we really, really believe that God can change a person who is not like us, then we will welcome them into our community of faith and treat them like Christ treated them. With love and compassion. When we rail against any people group with hatred, we’ve lost them. I’m not saying there isn’t sin in this world. There is. But God is judge of what is right. And He is the one who changes hearts.

Our job? Love. Embrace those in this world. Give them space, shelter, love, empathy and maybe for the first time a friendsteps who knows Jesus Christ.

Listen. Go ahead and do your Good Friday reconstruction of Jesus on the cross. Have some forty year old guy stand on some wooden platform for six hours this week. People will drive by on their way home from work, after 40 hours of torture, look up and say, “What in the heck are those people doing?” There’s no message for them there. They are looking for authenticity. They want people who just love them for who they are.

That’s what Christ did. He loved people for who they were. That’s what we are supposed to do. Let God sort it out after that. Our job isn’t to say, “Well, I don’t think that person will fit in here. They don’t dress well, they have personal issues, they sure are strange.” Nope.

You know what happened when Christ loved people? They responded with repentance. He didn’t excuse sin. But he showed them love beyond borders. He showed them something the religious establishment of the day wasn’t giving them. I say that’s what’s going on in the majority of churches today. I pray it isn’t so. But I believe it is.

We are to love. Plain and simple. Get over ourselves. Start loving like Christ did and then turn anyone who comes over to Him and see the miracle He can do.

This is what makes me want to start a church in my own county where anyone who walks through the door is accepted, loved and will be treated kindly. Anyone can come in, know they don’t have to give money, know they will hear the good news, and know that there is hope. May the compassionate Christ resonate during this Resurrection week.

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