Skydiving Buddies

I am calling this my year of jumping out of airplanes. That’s my way of saying I’m finally tackling some opportunities I’ve avoided for a number of personal reasons.

One of these is a Christmas CD, which I finally decided to make this summer. The follow up to that was a concert to premiere it. That happened last Sunday evening, Dec 2. It was truly one of the musical and personal high points of my life!

As I look back on this year I realize that I’ve said “yes” to more things than “no”.

For example, I’ve taken on the role of worship leader for LifeWay Men. These will be nationwide events where I will not only lead worship but will also have the opportunity to share my story. The first of which will be in July at the Curb Center in Nashville. LifeWay has been very generous to me with their audience and even promoted my Christmas project on their LifeWayworship.com site for download as a way of introducing me.

I was also invited to post weekly worship service outlines built around a feature song of the week for Essentialworship.com. It is a great opportunity to share some of my worship perspectives while highlighting songs that the publisher wants to make their audience aware of.

I attribute a lot of this newfound initiative to having a skydiving buddy of sorts – a best friend with whom I bounce off my ideas and goals and with whom I dream aloud. He shares his with me as well and as we begin to push and pull one another along there is a synergy that develops.

The best thing about a skydiving buddy is that they are happier for your success than you are. They help you critically assess something while at the same time throwing you a parade for accomplishing it.

My best friend, Jonathan is my case in point. He brainstormed and helped me flesh out a concert that would highlight the material and weave a theme of anticipation throughout it. Jonathan did everything from wrapping huge gift boxes for props on stage to thinking through the entire look, writing a great poem for the night, singing, and sharing his entire family with me for the weekend as we pulled it together.

Jonathan decided that my CD project deserved to be celebrated as well so he and his wife Jenny pulled off the best retro-Christmas CD release party afterward complete with homemade cookies she and other volunteers made. She brought vintage Christmas decorations she found around town and it looked like I was back in my childhood. It represented literally hours and hours of thoughtful preparation and loving attention to details.

That is more than a skydiving buddy. That is the best friend that you only get one of in your life.

I tell everyone that they need to jump out of airplanes if they want to experience what God has placed in their hearts to accomplish. Just don’t do it alone. You need that person that you strap yourself to who tells you to remember to breathe and makes sure your parachute opens.

Thanks, Johnny Boy! Well done!

We Believe, We Believe Less

We believe. We believe less. We repent. We resist. We confess. We are blinded by our pride. We are sincere and then insincere. It is like every other circumstance in our lives where our emotions and our will battle it out on the furrowed ground of our hearts – but we are never less saved, less held, or less rescued in the conflict.

When something has been done on my behalf, even if I don’t believe it yet doesn’t mean that it still isn’t so. Even if I don’t know a particular truth yet doesn’t mean that it isn’t relevant. Once I finally begin to believe it, grasp it, or accept it is when the power of that truth comes alive for me personally. Truth was no less true before I embraced it. What changed my life was when I began believing it. It didn’t suddenly become true at that point. It became real to me, but truth was always true.

I have been thinking about the way we talk to people about the Good News. Rather than engaging in some exercise which tries to get people to say a certain prayer or sign on the dotted line to close the deal in some way I have begun to see this conversation more as leading with the answer.

I am more about telling people that they HAVE BEEN saved instead of trying to get them that way. What will change us is when we begin to believe it. I’m not asking someone to finally breakdown and admit that Christians are right. I’m not asking them to finally cry Uncle and give God the keys to their heart. I’m asking them to consider that something so outside of our influence happened on our behalf before we could have even known to ask for it.

What will change us is when we believe that. I have told people, “You have been saved. You just don’t know it yet. I’m not asking you to become something. I’m just saying that the peace that you’re hoping to find will begin to be realized when you begin to believe this, but you have been saved.”

Repentance comes when we begin to see the weight of what it all means. Sometimes that might be instantaneously. Other times it might be a gradual growing into repentance as all this becomes real to us. Either way, repentance isn’t a one-stop shop and I don’t know if anyone has ever been convinced into sincere repentance. Repentance is ongoing just as our believing is fluctuating.

We believe. We believe less. We repent. We resist. We confess.

This kind of coming to faith seems more organic to me than just watching people get their spiritual passports stamped. Putting the truth of who Jesus is and what he has done for us in this light keeps the truth the truth for me. Guiding others toward the way and person of Jesus is much different than trying to get them branded.

We believe. We believe less. We repent. We resist. We confess.