Generation: Lonely

We used to have only two facets of life, our public life and private life.

Yet today our focus lies in the poor imitation we accept as a third, digital life.

Texting, skyping, emailing, facebooking, tweeting, tumbling further down!

Do you even know how to frown, or can you only type it out?!

I love you so much digitally that I wouldn’t even say hello to your face,

I hate you so much digitally that I love making my home at your place.

Is this really what we’ve reduced our “relationships” to?

A doubled existence, consistently walking on lies, & a life based on digitally delivered pleasantries?

You may know my status updates & what photos I like,

But would rather text me till your thumbs bleed instead of joining me to ride bikes?

You commented on my photo that I was the definition of beauty and grace,

But would you say that to or even recognize my face?

I’m your friend according to twenty websites and counting,

And yet after our argument on twitter last night we wouldn’t even know what to if we saw each other or desire to start shouting?

But wait, wasn’t the point of all this communication to improve connection?

Has our connectedness really produced only more loneliness?

In a society where we have five thousands Facebook friends, and even more followers on Twitter.

Why is it I can’t find one friend to sit and have lunch with or just talk with for a moment or two?

I may know currents events & all the latest gossip,

But my social life is like a lost person in the desert without water.

Not even a sip.

Do you want to know who I am or only read “about me”?

Do we even talk anymore or is it just to nice have another face in your digital catalog of souls?

Yes behind those profile pics are real people, somewhere under the mess we’ve made.

Can we change or do we really want to see all personality & existence fade to nothing?

Mr. Orbison may have been right at the time when he wrote Only the Lonely,

But if there aren’t friends to be found, the question is who isn’t lonely?

Welcome to generation lonely,

Where relationship and face to face interaction is an abomination and communication is reserved for digital life only.

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While God is with us and will always be a friend to us, are we doing our part in caring about relationships? When you look through your phone contacts or email list, do you even know much about the people on there? Do you know their age, anything of any personal value to them about them? Do you even care to? Consider this, and aim for relationships to become a reality & not just a lost desire. If you don’t know how to do that, be opened to learning. It’s as simple as this; would you rather admit you need help in having a good relationships or be full of pride and lonely? The choice is yours.

“WE ARE FEARLESS”

Trying to figure out relationships can be much like riding a bike,

If you rely too much on training wheels you don’t get anywhere.

Stepping out no matter how awkward or nervous you feel,

Can be the difference between living in fear & making freedom real!

Yes, one of the lies or “secrets” the devil tries to keep away from us has been revealed.

A root of are bondages lies directly in our fears.

That shortness of breath we feel, or heart skipping a beat

Is the devil tugging at your feet & keeping you in chains.

Well sons and daughters of God, I ask you;

Are you going to remain in chains or rise like a hero of our faith David and declare “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”?

Thankfully we are God’s flock of sheep, He is our shepherd.

So often when we’re reminded of this we’re told of the lack of smarts that sheep possess.

But honestly pastors, whether sheep are the intellectual prime of the animal kingdom or not may we digress?

It’s pretty obvious we’re sheep for a reason,

if we were compared to any other animal we’d probably possess too much intelligence.

While we can supposedly figure out life on our own,

We were never intended or never needed to do it this way.

If our ear plugs were removed of ignorance were removed,

Maybe we’d hear the reminder that Jesus isn’t only the truth & the life, but THE WAY!

We aren’t God or Jesus, & we’ll never be for good reason.

But if we aren’t being the best created version of ourselves we can be

Then who are we?

Is our identity really God’s problem, or is it our problem that we haven’t listened to Him & acknowledged his design?

I’m not trying to accuse or blame, I’m not searching for fault.

In our lives we choose God’s design or our own,

But we often fail to see is the fact some of the responsibility is our own.

We run around saying how God failed us, caused wars, let relatives die, etcetera etcetera

And yet we don’t look at how we acted in the situation when things really could have been different.

No maybe the outcome wouldn’t change, but why should the interim be compromised by our laziness?

The soulful voice of Nina Simone once sang “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free”,

But at the core of this wish it was really something so simple and easy.

When we look at God, we certainly should fear.

But when we look at our lives no matter how good or bad, we don’t even need a tear

unless it’s from laughter.

For just as the Earth and storms of life are created & directed, we were made by the hands of God.

In this fact we can both rest & arise in power, we have NOTHING to fear.

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Today I realized how crippling fear is along with how amazing it is spit in it’s face. I for the first time in my life willingly began learning how to ride a bike, after negative experiences and failed attempts during my childhood. I think fear involved in it all never occurred to me fully until I sat on the bike, it was like being punched in the stomach. But by the fourth time of riding around the parking lot, I realized this about the freedom that comes in conquering a fear. A fear conquered isn’t a breathtaking moment. A fear conquered is when you look into the face of fear and can breathe easy. Don’t let fears of your past, be the demise of both your present & future. And in all things look to God and his true word.

Psalm 23 NASB”The Lord is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside  quiet waters.

He restores my soul;

He guides me in the  paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You have anointed my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

 “For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 NLT

JESUS IS ALIVE!

As an artist, as a man, in general as a human I will speak and express a lot throughout this life I’m living on Earth. But no amount of intellect, study, or artistic expression is worth more than my declaring this fact to those who don’t know or don’t believe it. Jesus Christ is ALIVE! You don’t believe it, you want proof? If you don’t want to just look at your own life, look at me! I’m no better or more perfect than the next person, I’ve gotten angry with God, I’ve cursed at God, I’ve threatened to take the life God has blessed me with, I’ve hurt others as well as myself, and somehow in His love He refuses to abandon me! I can’t NOT be forever grateful, I do not belong to a distant God! I don’t know when it will happen or how, but God has awoken the dreams of my heart that I once denied and cowered away from. Well look out now satan and anyone who dares to say that God isn’t real or is dead, because the power of God that conquered death is pushing me forward in His holy name! Watch this video as my brother in Christ, Mattie Montgomery declares that our Father God is alive and well forever! Don’t let this world ever tell you because you’re imperfect, hurt, have been broken, or a dream didn’t work out the way you planned that you have nothing. God sees you as you are, but not in the way that the world does so judgmental and belittling. He sees you for who He created you to be and the full life He’s blessed you to have, He knows you’re hearts desire and wants to see it happen in your lifetime! Can we earn it? NOPE! Is He that good of a God that it will happen when we do our part in the plan He made for our good? That’s only a glimpse of His goodness.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 Look to the author of life and His word, there is more to life than meets the eye.

Blood & Water: Broken & Contrite

In church we sing for you to break our hearts over what breaks yours,

But it’s always easier to sing these words than to pray them & mean them more than just a brief release of air.

The more my heart breaks, the more life I find.

The less control I have, the more peace I gain & tightness begins to unwind.

 

Like a leaf changing color or a plant that thrives, the season in my life has changed.

Seasons will continue to change, but this time has been marked.

Marked by life found in what some may call foolishness, but what I call faith.

Faith abounding in me and anchoring my soul, that I may see my heart become whole & overcome the world!

 

Brother and sisters, I type this but is received or believed?

For by blood I’m an only child, but what I’ve come to find is this.

Family isn’t a matter of blood, & those you care about shouldn’t be determined by genetics.

“I will wait for you” YOU? Who?

I could sing,chant, & repeat this declaration of supposed patience and waiting but for what?

Unless I’m waiting for you, the Father who never left me in the first place, who would I be waiting to see?

 

The interest a woman has in me as a husband or my desire for a wife is irrelevant,

For this waiting test of patience shouldn’t be limited to someone’s next of kin.

In fact, if I’m truly to find joy at the end of this wait

How could this waiting process truly be for a person?

Yes, maybe a person’s presence can bring temporal happiness

But joy is what I’m after, & I’m confident it’s not what any human can deliver.

 

In you my joy & hope is found, not because you saved me or kept me from being swallowed whole

But because you are the one who gave me a soul, and will never leave me hollow.

For you a life that is broken & contrite is worth living to the fullest extent.

These times of discipline and learning have not been allowed on me with malicious intent.

For out of this storm, I will not be found shipwrecked.

I will overcome the tides and in your strength find life.

 

Thank you for creating in me an identity that is pure,

While I would be born a sinner, you became sin on the tree of offering.

In this truth I not only have life eternally, but I’m clean.

No longer to I need to “try” finding identity in things of this world and fleshly existence,

Identifying only in others & the things I can do;

With this mindset I have made amends.

 

Break me oh God, in as many pieces as it takes.

For this once life sentenced prisoner has broken free and has assured victory over sin.

Not because of human effort or affirmation, not because of a relationship just started and ready to end.

But simply because you have kept to your promise, you’ve seen my heart & made your home within.

For I was once a lifeless host of skin, but in the shadow of your wings I will arise

To life renewed. No longer compromised or defeated, victorious in every sense.

 

 

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“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” Psalm 34:17-19 NLT

 

“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17 NASB

 

Iron Man: Strength VS. Weakness

The fall from the top of the world really isn’t a matter of distance.

The fall, it’s effectiveness & consequence, is determined by when we take off our masks.

 

On the outside our frame is strong, face chiseled to form.

Emotion is not an option nor a consideration, if it is anything it’s a lie.

Inside beneath the depths of “lies”, lies held in suppressed & ignored.

Inside is the “art” of what once could’ve been a beating heart.

This disfigured & abused life “source” is now a tattered, acid-burned, & forgotten symbol of no remorse.

 

In tragedy, we often only care for the presumed victim. While we grind our teeth & tongue lash the attacker.

But in this time of supposed revenge, don’t you see the attacker is now the victim?

In the world’s most infamous betrayal, once the evil deed was in sight, it wasn’t the betrayed who shed first blood.

It was the betrayer.

 

So as we live this life, constantly redefining strength & weakness.

I ask for you to look at the attacker in the situation when you’re the victim.

Because in your not speaking or asking for help, the only attacker was… Yourself.

If you’re to be angry and accuse, look no further than the face in your mirror.

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“Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor. When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.” Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, “They took the thirty pieces of silver—  the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel, and purchased the potter’s field, as the Lord directed.” Matthew 27:1-10

It’s not about you believing in me, It’s about how you live and who lives in YOU.

SPEAK UP! SPEAK OUT!

Are you just looking for the latest trend or are you truly devout?

Last week you were fine twirling your prayer wheels covered in text you don’t even know,

You don’t even know what it means!

Today you walk around like the holiest of priests,

With the stupidest grin on your face!

You have the gold pages in your bible and red ink on the words of Christ,

Yep you meet all the check marks and requirements to be “liked”!

Your ready to be the topic trending on Twitter,

As you get told your identity is the healer.

What wait who are you?

7 days ago you were in the pew, now you’re the Christ?

Nope, wrong! FALSE PROPHECY!!!

As you vomit out your lying epistles and gospel of lies,

Your mouth becomes more bloody and dirty than the kiss of Judas.

As we bow down to to the neon knights of society, James Hetfield and Paul Masvidal.

You listened to one record or read a philosophy book, you’ve seen it all.

This path, so wide and easy, even though I’m too lazy to advance along it leads to life right?

I mean everybody is doing it, so why wouldn’t it be good or the right way?

So if everybody was going to pick one news story and all reenact it, you’d pick the latest massacre shooting?

Stretch out, stay loose, all roads may or may not lead to “heaven” but only one leads to Christ.

Your yogi may lead you to enlightenment, but even Yogi Bear could figure out that Buddha isn’t Jesus Christ!

When Judas realized the fool he was, not that I recommend this action in fact I ask that it not even be a consideration, but in this moment of realization he chose the nearest tree to link his neck to a noose.

Yet as we try make all roads lead to God, when we see we’ve been lied to why do we take so long and continue to refuse?

We refuse the truth, even when the truth is explicitly said to be what makes us free.

Because it’s not popular, or maybe it’s not convenient.

Maybe it can’t be texted to your phone, or it doesn’t always feel that great because being like somebody else makes you feel less alone!

Well too bad, if you didn’t want to know the author of truth and expect no cost to have to be paid you should have actually listened to what He said.

In the book of His life and story He says “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”

But when the number of people you can Facebook and places you’ve been are the only things that satisfy,

It’s when only the surface and sophisticated spirituality, that make you seem so affluent and cultured, that you really know what it means to live the worst.

So as you gossip on your way out the door on the day you gave $100 dollars to your church and spit in a homeless man’s FACE!

I ask you… to THINK.

Between you and the man on the corner of 3rd and main, who’s life is good and who’s life is impoverished being walked in vain?

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“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” Matthew 5:13

In our life with Christ, are we really living out our role as His salt? Are you a “Christian”? Have you even let Christ enter your heart? Or are you just another stat on the census, leading the church to see faith as a lost art?

My Confession

Hello family, friends, and readers all around. As you may or may not know I’ve been attending a Children at Risk seminar for the past six weeks. I came here expecting to have a fire lit under me and a way to respond to what I’ve heard in the past six weeks. Well the fire has been lit under me and there is a response, but it’s unexpected. You see, I thought coming to a Children at Risk seminar I thought I’d have a dream of working with kids come alive. I had a dream, actually two. One dream has been revived and one has been laid to rest in the way I interpreted it.

Part of our class time involved taking a looking the spheres of influence in the world.  While I’m still learning full understanding of this concept, one sphere of influence in the world is the arts. Art is a significant life giving activity for me, as it is with many people. It’s impact in the world is very clear and huge, and as I’ve been able to find I have a few different artistic talents I want to use my talents for the better of the world. Art forms would include music & creative writing primarily, but I also enjoy photography and would like to explore other art mediums as well. When I was 18, I attended music school for a very short time. In a five week period, I probably experienced my highest of stress yet and my clearest feeling of hate for something. While God has given me the ability to love and play music, in this school it had became my “desk job” so to speak. The art form that I loved discovering new aspects of, had becoming nothing more than a task master environment of stress and work. There was absolutely no expression, no joy, and nothing fulfilling about being there. I had lost any sense of an identity that I had, my expression and personality as a musician was stripped from me.

In the midst of this stressful time though, I really had a desire to know God and do things right. So after dropping out, I really wanted to know what was next. Enter the past year or less time period when I attended the YWAM Madison Children at Risk Discipleship Training School in Wisconsin. In this time where I had been trying to recover to my already skewed identity in music, I began to discover deep roots of trust issues and self-hatred among other things I needed to give up to God. I really began to understand my own humanity, and the fact that I can’t do it all out of my strength. It took me a long time to come to this point, and it’s still a daily reminder that I have to choose to do and to be honest don’t always do. Surrendering your will is painful, but deeply needed and humbling. In Matthew 5:5 it says, “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole Earth.” It may be hard to humble yourself unto God, but not only will there be no regret to be found, in doing it you become apart of a never ending inheritance in this Earth. God blesses you both in visible and invisible ways, but not if we won’t allow Him to. Because while He ultimately is in control, He also has a discipline along with the fact He gave us the choice of receiving His blessings.

So as I sat in class today, we were shown two videos. One was of an inspiring author named Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian author who was talking about her life experiences and how she realized while stereotypes do damage it’s not because their untrue but they’re incomplete. I ask that you please seek information about her, but especially try and watch the video of her speaking in england at a TED talks event from 2009. The other video was of Paul Potts, an aspiring opera singer who was the manager of a cell phone company. In one video we learned a bit more about stereotypes and that while their damaging, it’s only because they come with a skewed view. In the other video, we saw a stereotype crushed by a beautiful God-given talent revealed in front of a national audience. Both inspiring and challenging.

A question that’s been on my mind this week is why do I want work with kids? Why do I want do what I am doing with my life? It wasn’t until today that I realized in my attending this seminar, it wasn’t to reveal why I wanted to work with kids. It was to reveal all the areas where I need to get to know myself fully and love who I am because God created me this way with a purpose. While my art talents are utilized every now and then, I abandoned them being my focus and passion because I thought that they had to identify me. Why should I have to identify with a product of work or attribute, when I have a God born identity as the man He’s made me to become?

To get to know His intentions all the more along with His love and vision for my life, I’m very excited to start the Bible School for the Nations this September. My writing gift can and will be utilized throughout the process, music also can and probably will be utilized, along with even a new area of art God has been pushing me to do; Spoken word. While it’s great writing, it’s also good to let these reflections be heard verbally with tone and passion.

So what am I getting at? To be honest, I’m still trying to fully figure that out. I’m God’s son, He created me with his two hands and sent Jesus to die so that I could have life. This life I live is a gift I never deserved, it was ransomed and given to me, and I plan on living how God intended me to. Does this mean I’ll work with children at risk in the future? Right now it’s not clearly looking that way, but art is significant to kids so I don’t think that it’s impossible. Do I feel disappointed, shocked, or scared? Scared maybe, but not of the change. I’m scared that I wasted so much time NOT getting to know who I’m really supposed to be, that my time was wasted. But God can redeem all things, and as the author and originator of time I know and trust He will make the time I now have more than worthwhile.

If I could encourage anyone from reading this, I hope that this piece of my heart in writing this would be crystal clear. Don’t give up on dreams that can turn into purpose, just because of criticism or lies that have been spoken over you. As well as don’t be afraid of letting God change your plans and life, because it’s so much better than trying to figure things out on our own. Do I have everything figured out? NO! I never will, but I am at peace with that because I don’t need to figure everything out.

Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” and not to forget my life verse,  Isaiah 6:8  “Then I heard the Lord asking, Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.”