Friday, September 30

Music Videos–Daniel Martin Moore, Gungor, and Count Basie


For your weekend enjoyment, here is an assortment of music videos that I enjoy. I hope you do, too.


Austin Brown shared this video with me after hearing Daniel Martin Moore sing this song on Parenthood this week. I wound up buying his album, “In the Cool of the Day”, and really enjoy it.




One of my favorite bands, Gungor, recently released a new album. In honor of that (and because I’ve not found enough video from the new album), here is one of my favorites of their last one.




I first fell in love with jazz by hearing a 1973 Count Basie album called “Basie Jam”. There aren’t any videos from that album, but here is a video from a couple of years later that has the same feel as the first album.


Monday, September 19

A Response to Pat Robertson

I realize that for some, this is old news. Others, however, might not be aware of the small uproar created last Tuesday by television evangelist Pat Robertson. I would typically ignore what he said and encourage you to do so. However, there are a couple of things about last week’s comments that deserve some comment.

In case you missed it, Robertson was responding to a question about a man whose wife has Alzheimer’s. The man was bemoaning the unfairness of having to care for a wife who no longer knew him and he had began to see another woman. The writer wanted to know what she should say to the man.

Robertson said he wouldn't blame those who decide to divorce a spouse suffering from Alzheimer's, that divorce would be OK in a situation that involves something as terrible as Alzheimer's.
"I know it sounds cruel but if he's going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again," he said, "[and] make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."
Robertson continued: "I hate Alzheimer's. It is one of the most awful things because here's the loved one, this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years and suddenly that person is gone. They're gone. They are gone!" 
Co-host Terry Meeuwsen noted that when couples marry they vow "for better, for worse."
Robertson replied, "You said 'till death do us part;' this (suffering from Alzheimer's) is a kind of death. I certainly wouldn't put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship; you're lonely. I can't fault them for wanting some kind of companionship. If he says in a sense she is gone, he is right. It is like a walking death."
I just want to make a few quick points:
* To those who judge Jesus and the Christians around you by what Pat Robertson (or any television evangelist) says, please stop. Pat Robertson doesn’t speak for me. He never has, through his long history of saying things without thought or Scriptural backing. Don’t assume that because he wears the name of Christian that he speaks for all of us, or even many of us. And please don’t assume that he speaks for Jesus. The same thing is true of anyone you see preaching on television. They don’t speak for me. If you want to know what I think, ask me. It gets frustrating when all of those who follow Jesus are lumped in with those with the loudest voices or who can afford television time.
* What Robertson is espousing is what he and too many others have been teaching for years – a “prosperity” gospel that teaches, at its core, that following Jesus is the way to make sure your life is always full and happy – that your happiness is the greatest good and greatest goal. Whether it is through having all of your material wants or a marriage that is always satisfying.
But the Scriptures don’t teach that. God’s highest will for you isn’t your happiness. It is your character, that you mature into the fullness of Christ. God knows that it is in being like Jesus that you will find peace and joy. And it will be the way that God is most glorified.
Yes, there is blessing and fullness of life that comes from a relationship with Christ. But it is a blessing and fullness that often comes in the midst of struggle and sorrow and disappointment. Jesus said that we would face difficulties. What we find as those who walk with Christ is that we can experience fullness and peace in the midst of conflict and difficulty and pain as we become more and more like Jesus.
* The New Testament describes marriage as an image of Christ’s relationship with his Bride – the Church. The relationship between a Christian husband and wife is to be a picture of what our relationship with Christ is like. The Apostle Paul tells us that Christ
“… loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Ephesians 5:25-28)
The truth is that Christ’s love for us isn’t dependent on how beautiful or useful we are. He loves us because that is his nature. And his love is one that always seeks to give. Too often, we have chased a “love” that is more concerned with what we can gain than what we can give, with what’s in it for us rather than what we can do for another.
* There is no more beautiful image of a life well-lived than that of a husband or wife faithfully, lovingly, and sacrificially caring for the one they have committed to love – even if it isn’t recognized or appreciated. Years ago, I read a letter from Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia Bible College, whose wife, Muriel, suffered from advanced stages of Alzheimer's. In announcing his resignation, he said:
“The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel ‘in sickness and in health...till death us do part.’ So, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more; I love Muriel…. I do not have to care for her, I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person.”
Gina and I both have family members who have modeled the same kind of deep, sacrificial, beautiful love as they have cared for their wives and husbands through the struggles of dementia. My admiration and respect for them goes far beyond what I could ever give some television evangelist, sports hero, or entertainment star. They have been people of character and integrity who have modeled the love and faithfulness of Christ in very real and tangible ways.
Russell Moore put it this way:
“Jesus tells us he is present in the weak, the vulnerable, the useless. He is there in the least of these (Matt. 25:31-46). Somewhere out there right now, a man is wiping the drool from an 85 year-old woman who flinches because she think he’s a stranger. No television cameras are around. No politicians are seeking a meeting with them. But the gospel is there. Jesus is there.”

Monday, September 12

Items of Interest from Around the World


Cleaning out some odds and ends that I had found interesting. Hopefully you will enjoy at least one of them!


* A very cool video from Tahiti. It brings to mind this quote from Phil Edwards, champion surfer:


“There is a need in all of us for controlled danger. That is, there is a need for activity that puts us on the edge of life. There are uncounted millions of people right now who are going through life without any sort of real, vibrant kick. I call them ‘the legions of the unjazzed.’”


* One of the joys of working the World Masters’ Meet this summer was getting to visit with Olga Kotelko, a 92-year-old athlete from Canada. You will enjoy reading about her in this piece from the New York Times Magazine.


* Some other track related news …


I have known Jesse Williams since he was a freshman at North Carolina State. He went on to be a four-time NCAA high jump champion at USC and he is now the World Champion. You can watch him win that championship here.


Here is a nice piece regarding Alan Bell, a friend of mine from England who just happened to be the starter when Usain Bolt false-started at the World Championships.


Track athletes – make sure your hair is cut, or at least put up. Long hair may have cost this woman a medal and a lot of money.


* Finally, a couple of general interest items …


A man sues White Castle because their booths aren’t big enough for him.


This man posted a video of him counting to 100,000 – very slowly. It took 77 hours! No, I haven’t watched it all. I’m just taking their word for it. But you can watch it if you want!

Tuesday, September 6

The Transforming Power of Grace


I have long believed that grace is maybe the most misunderstood and under-appreciated truth of Christianity.  It is what sets Christianity apart from every religious system, every way that men and women try to make themselves right with God and win His approval.


In a post entitled “The Most Transformational Word”, Paul Tripp talks about grace far more eloquently that I could, so I wanted to share part of that with you. Thank you, Paul, for this great reminder of the truth that transforms us.


“Grace is the most transformational word in Scripture. The entire Bible is a narrative of God’s grace, a story of undeserved redemption. By the transformational power of his grace, God unilaterally reaches into the muck of this fallen world, through the presence of his Son, and radically transforms his children from what we are (sinners) into what we are becoming by his power (Christ-like). The famous John Newton hymn uses the best word possible for that grace: amazing.


So grace is a story, and grace is a gift. It is God’s character, and it is your hope. Grace is a transforming tool and a state of relationship. Grace is a theology and an invitation. Grace is an experience and a calling. Grace will turn your life upside down while giving you a rest you have never known. Grace will convince you of your unworthiness without ever making you feel unloved.


Grace will make you acknowledge that you cannot earn God’s favor, and it will remove your fear of not measuring up to his standards. Grace will confront you with the fact that you are much less than you thought you were, even as it assures you that you can be far more than you had ever imagined. Grace will put you in your place without ever putting you down….


Grace enters your life in a moment and will occupy you for eternity. You simply cannot live a productive life or have a productive ministry in this broken-down world unless you have a practical grasp of the grace you have been given.”