Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!  I was hoping to share a new song with you today, but unfortunately I am having technical difficulties in working with Youtube on my computer.  It's possible that in a very frustrating way, God is telling me to take a week off!  Please accept my apologies and I hope that you are all having a wonderful Christmas.  May God fill your life with blessings now and in the coming year. 


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Star of Wonder

During this time leading up to Christmas, I thought it might be nice to share a new Christmas song by JJ's a remake of the song "We Three Kings of Orient Are," though with many new lyrics, it stands out as a new song as well.  We'll listen to it as a live performance this'll get to know JJ and her husband a bit.

There were kings of the orient
Bringing gifts to the child
Through the fields and deserts they came
Messiah was worth every mile

Star of wonder, star of light
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light

Gold and frankincense, myrrh the perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom
Sorrow, sighing, bleeding and dying
Sealed in the stone cold tomb

Star of wonder, star of light
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and sacrifice
Allelujah, Allelu
Sounds through the earth and the skies

Since this song is about the 3 Wise men, I thought it might be nice to revisit their story.  Their adventure is described in the book of Matthew.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
   for out of you will come a ruler
   who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2: 1-12

As I began to research these wise men, I soon discovered that many of the details that we envision of them aren't actually mentioned in the Bible.  The Bible doesn't say how many of them there are, how they traveled, and it doesn't say that they found Mary and Jesus in the stable...they were found in a house, perhaps after some time had passed.  The story has evolved over the centuries as people have given the men names, assumed that they rode on camels and that there were 3 of them because of the 3 gifts, speculated that they may have been Kings, etc. 

Regardless, it's a wonderful story of faithful believers that followed God's signs to meet the child who would eventually change the world.  Their giving of precious gifts to the child helps to remind us why we give gifts at this time of year.  Their faith in God's guidance and protection is powerful and a great example for us all.  May you look for God's signs in your life journey to point you to Jesus, "the Messiah who is worth every mile." 

Merry Christmas, and may God bless you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Light Up the Sky

This week's song, "Light Up the Sky," by The Afters, has been one of my favorites for a while now.  This song is fun and a reminder to us that God lights up the sky each morning to show us He loves us.  Yes, some days are brighter than others...but isn't it true though, how on the brightest, most sunny days, we are more aware of the beauty and wonder of God's creation and His love for us?

I go through times when I'm curious about the end of days, especially when I hear about another earthquake.  During one of those inquisitive times, I was wondering what Jesus said about when he will return.  In Luke, Chapter 17, Jesus describes his return.

For the son of Man in his day will be like the lightening, and flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.  Luke 17:24

Now, I can't say that this song is about the second coming of Christ, but it is another reminder of how Jesus is the Light of the world.  When we're "feeling all alone" and "can't see beyond our doubts," Jesus is with us and can show us the path to peace. 

May Jesus "light up your sky" today, either literally or figuratively...either way it's all good. Have a great week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big Enough

This week's song will likely be pretty new to all of you.  It's a song that was released on an album called Past the Edges by Chris Rice in 1998.  Unfortunately, because of the song's age I can't find a Youtube video for it by Chris Rice, though I've found a video of someone else singing it.

I have to tell you about how I came across this song.  First, let me say that over the last few weeks, as I've been taking this Christianity Explored class, I've been struggling with a few beliefs that have been voiced during the discussions.  I'm rediscovering that there are still some things in the Bible that I don't know how to interpret.  While I know that I'm not the only person wrestling with these kinds of things, it's still difficult to be around people that think they know the answers, and that only one interpretation is possible.  So while in the midst of this mental struggle earlier this week, my Ipod (or God?) decided to randomly choose a song for me called "Big Enough."  I obtained the song on an old WOW Hits compilation, and don't recall even knowing that I had it.  This song is about how it's OK to have questions, and to not have all the answers.  It's OK to ask God our questions.  Some might think it shows God disrespect to question the meaning of words in the Bible, but I disagree. I do believe that God is "big enough" to handle all of our questions, though we might not receive all the answers when we want them.

So, I apologize that I don't have the original song for you to listen to, I'm sure you can find it on Itunes or Amazon if you search for it.  I did find a performance of the song by a woman named Aubri Colescott, and she did a lovely job.  So have a listen...

None of us knows and this makes it a mystery
If life is a comedy, then why all the tragedy?
Three and a half pounds of brain try to figure out
What this world is all about
And is there an eternity, Is there an eternity?

God if You're there I wish You'd show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don't mind me asking the questions
But I figure You're big enough
I figure You're big enough

Lying on pillows we're haunted and half-awake
Does anyone hear us pray "If I die before I wake?"
Then the morning comes and the mirror's another place
Where we wrestle face-to-face
With the image of deity, the image of deity

God if You're there I wish You'd show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don't mind me asking the questions
But I figure You're big enough
I figure You're big enough

When I imagine the size of the Universe
And I wonder what's out past the edges
Then I discover inside me a space as big
And believe that I'm meant to be filled up
With more than just questions

God if You're there I wish You'd show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don't mind me asking the questions
But I figure You're big enough
I figure You're big enough 

Cause I am not big enough.

So what makes me think that it's OK to question God?  I'm reminded of a story in Genesis 18, when Abraham is being warned by God that he plans to destroy the city of Sodom. Abraham is really bold...he basically negotiates with God to not destroy the city if there are righteous people living there.  When Abraham challenges God, over and over, God doesn't show any offense, but seems to encourage the discussion.

The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the Lord.  Then Abraham approached him and said: "Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?" What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing - to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and wicked alike.  Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"  

The Lord said, "If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake."

The Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?"

"If I find forty-five there," He said, "I will not destroy it."
Genesis 18:22-28

And Abraham continues to challenge the Lord, repeatedly talking him down to 40, then 30, then 20, then 10, with God apparently never showing aggravation or frustration with Abraham.  Wow! Abraham sure did show a lot of courage right in the face of God!

So if you're one of those people out there that love God but still don't have it all figured out, I hope this song is encouraging to you, so you know that it's OK to have questions, and you're not alone.  These questions will help you to research more and maybe you'll come up with an answer, or maybe you'll be forced to accept the mystery. I pray that you are not discouraged by anyone for having such questions, and never feel that you are less of a Christian for having them. 

God Bless You!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Someone Worth Dying For

I've been attending a course called Christianity Explored over the last few weeks, and we're learning about Christianity through the Gospel of Mark.  Last week we began discussing Jesus' death and why He died. During that discussion, I was reminded of the sacrifice that He made for us....but then I was drawn to make this sacrifice more personal....He died to save ME.  To make me able to be with God forever, in this life and beyond.

So this week I thought I'd share a song called "Someone Worth Dying For," by Mikeschair
Jesus' time on earth and his death for us is confirmation that God loves us.  He shows us, like the photographer in this video, that we are special, we are important, we are beautiful. 

You're worth it, you can't earn it
Yeah the Cross has proven
That you're sacred and blameless
Your life has purpose

You are more than flesh and bone
Can't you see you're something beautiful
Yeah you gotta believe, you gotta believe
He wants you to see, He wants you to see
That you're not just some wandering soul
That can't be seen and can't be known
Yeah you gotta believe, you gotta believe that you
Are someone worth dying for

I hope this song is encouraging to you this week.  May you remember that Jesus' sacrifice was given for YOU, thereby proving that you are loved more than you can comprehend.

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John:9-10

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where I Belong

Alright, I'm still on a Switchfoot one more song by Switchfoot this week called, "Where I Belong." This was a new song to me at the Concert, it's the last song on their new album Vice Verses.  They played this song for one of the encores that night.  Jon Foreman introduced it by saying that though he hopes this doesn't happen for a really long time, he wants this to be the last song that the band plays in their final performance. 
Several thoughts come to mind when I hear this song.  First, I realized that I don't know much about Babylon.

Until I die I'll sing these songs, on the shores of Babylon....

What do they mean by that?  Babylon has a very long and complex history, and is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible, initially in the Genesis 11 story where the people of earth were building a tower to heaven and God decided to confound the language and scatter people throughout the earth.   Babylon became the greatest city in the ancient world back in the time period around 600 years before Christ.  If I were to attempt to summarize it's history in one sentence...Babylon was the greatest city in the world and eventually fell to abandoned ruins.

So you could interpret this line in the song, singing from the shores of Babylon, as a comparison between Babylon and the modern world....what greatness we have achieved, but over time that greatness is slipping away.

What drew my attention to this song initially are the words:
I wanna see the earth start shaking
I wanna see a generation
Finally waking up inside

I just think that these words speak to the mission that Switchfoot is on.  Kids are drawn to their songs for the great music, but then when they learn the words, they may eventually wake up to the meaning and start thinking about their existence, their Creator, what happens after this life, etc..

Overall, I think this is a song that reminds us of the temporary nature of this life, and that we have yet to find our real "home."  And when that day eventually comes, I pray that we will be able to see God face-to-face and know that we are finally home, where we belong.

And on the final day I die
I want to hold my head up high
I want to tell You that I tried
To live it like a song

And when I reach the other side
I want to look You in the eye
And know that I've arrived
In a world where I belong

May you have a week filled with blessings and a mindset bringing you closer to God, bringing Him glory.  God Bless!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


As promised this week's song is by Switchfoot.  Did you ever notice how after you go to a concert, the people you went to see become your new favorite band because you feel like you know them better?  That has made this week's song choice the hardest ever.  Should I choose an older song or a less popular song from their new album so that you'll here something less current? Or should I go for an obvious choice, one of their current hits?  After days and days of debating in my brain, I finally settled for the obvious choice, Restless...perhaps their most frequently played song in recent weeks.  I just can't get over how poetic this song is...and again there is a UK connection. 

Not only did I get to see them perform this song in the UK last week, this song was written in the UK, last year I've heard.  When the band visited the UK, they of course experienced the rain that frequents this island.  Jon Foreman, the lead singer, looked at the rain and thought about the tenacity that each drop must have to find its way to the ground,  to the stream, to the river and ultimately to the ocean.  That got him thinking about things that he longs for in this life, things that he is "restless" for.

The interesting thing that I find about Switchfoot is that they never mention God or Jesus in any of their songs.  But He is definitely implied in almost every single one.  Their songs really make you think, you can relate to the words and there is always a positive message. 

What are you restless about?  For me, this song is about the restlessness to know God, to meet God, to see God in the world around us. I am restless for knowledge, wishing for answers to so many questions that still exist about God, heaven, life.  Restless to hear God's voice clearly, to feel His presence, His guidance...

There are lots of really interesting lyrics in this song...I like it when he relates this restlessness to a thirst:

I am the dried up doubting eyes, looking for the well that won't run dry

This makes me think of the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, whom Jesus tells

whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
John 4:14

And then later in the song, when he meets God,
Where tide and tear and pain subside, and laughter drinks them dry

Isn't that a wonderful image for Heaven, all the pain and sadness are gone and replaced with laughter?

But I think my favorite words in the whole song are at the end when he sings:
I'll be waiting, Anticipating
All that I aim for, What I was made for
So we can be restless for our Lord, waiting for him anxiously....but in that pursuit we can find our purpose that God intended for us.  And for many people, including myself, that purpose still remains a mystery.  What was I made for, God?  Am I on the right path?  I believe that this restlessness, though uncomfortable, will lead us to do great things for God, for people, and the world, and therefore help us find and fulfill our purpose. 
To give you a little bit of the "concert" feel, I've included Switchfoot's official music video below. You'll be able to see the emotion in Jon Foreman as he sings, and get glimpses of what their performances are like.

May you recognize what you are restless about and use that feeling to do something wonderful.  I pray that we will all enjoy an end to our restlessness as we discover God's presence in this world and eventually get to meet Him face-to-face on day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Switchfoot Band in the UK

I know there are a few readers on this blog from the UK so I thought I'd spread the word that there is a band called Switchfoot that is coming to the UK this week.  Switchfoot is a band that has been marketed in both the Christian and Mainstream markets, so you won't find much mention of Jesus in their songs, but they are definitely a Christian band if you listen to the words of their songs.  This band can sometimes be a little bit "heavier" than what I usually listen to, but still they have lots of songs that I know and love.  On Wednesday, the 9th of November, they will be in Birmingham, and I'm going! 

I believe you can still get tickets form Birmingham at the following website:

Some of their other shows in the UK have sold out, so you may want to hurry your decision.

If you are one of my friends here in Derby, and you need a ride, contact me and we'll fit you into our car.

For everyone's a good bet that next week's song will be by Switchfoot.  If you'd like to learn more about them, below is a link to a mix of their videos on YouTube.


This week's song is from a relatively new band called "The Museum".  I've heard that the inspiration for the song "Allelujah" came from a trip to the UK, specifically Wales.  Wales, the UK, and Europe in general are becoming increasingly known for dwindling numbers of Christians.  These lands have many beautiful churches, much Christian history, but fewer and fewer believers.  Apparently, the band experienced this in their tour of the UK and was reminded by one of the Pastors they met that this could happen in America as well.  So this song is about revival, returning to the Lord that we can depend on for hope in this troubled world, and how we can look forward to being with our brothers and sisters in the safety of God's Kingdom.

I thought it might be a treat to watch the band perform this one...they performed in the KLOVE studio a while back and thankfully KLOVE shared the footage on Youtube. Seeing the men actually perform the song helps you get to know them a little bit I think, and gives the song extra meaning.  Since there are no lyrics in the video, I've included them below.

Verse 1:
When hardship comes to prey on hopes
And troubles seem to linger on
When death rolls on taking ones we love
You are the hope that keeps us on

Allelujah, Thine the glory
Allelujah, Amen!
Allelujah, Thine the glory
Revive us again!

Verse 2:
When all else seems the battles lost
And such disease is spreading on
When life grows dark and our lips are parched
You are the hope that we sing of

Verse 3:
When death is past and sins are gone
Alas forgiveness here is won
All daughters and sons, we will stand as one
We're safe at last in the Father's love
We're safe at last in the Father's love

I guess I chose this song because I can relate to the band in what they experienced when visiting the UK. You do feel like a minority if you are a practicing Christian here. I felt like that a bit in the States, but at least there I had friends from church that I saw frequently in the community (at the kids' school, at the Y, etc). 

The idea of reviving the church is so special to me, though I don't have all the answers on how to make it happen.  I have close friends and family who aren't practicing Christians and I wish so much that I could share my faith with them and have spiritual fellowship with them.  There is a special relationship that can result in being a brother or sister in Christ, especially if you share your faith journey and struggles with each other.  And because of that I am very moved by the end of this song..."All daughters and sons, we will stand as one, We're safe at last in the Father's love."  Won't that be a wonderful day?  It's such a comforting image for me to be with my brothers and sisters in the presence of the Lord....though I must remind myself that I can have that here on this earth.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20

I hope you enjoyed this song and I pray that it gives you hope and inspiration to revive yourself or others around you.  May you be blessed with many brothers and sisters in Christ along your journey.
God bless you, and have a great week.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm With You

I've been enjoying this song for months now, sung by Amy Grant and Nichole Nordeman, and recently discovered that it's from a new album called "Music Inspired by the STORY."  It's a compilation of new songs written in the first person about the main characters in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  You really have to check this out at

So this week's song is called "I'm With You" and it's written from the perspective of Naomi and Ruth.  Do you know this story?  I hadn't read this story until earlier this's really short and sweet.  It's a great testament of loyalty, redemption, and love.  This story is found in the book of Ruth.  The story begins with a Jewish woman named Naomi and her family who are living in Moab, a non-Jewish land.  Her two sons marry Moabite women.  Unfortunately, Naomi's husband dies and later her two sons die.  Naomi becomes a very bitter woman and decides to return to her homeland of Bethlehem.  She tells her two daughters-in-law(Ruth and Orpah) to go back to their families.  Ruth refuses to leave Naomi and says:

Where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people
and your God my God.
Where you die I will die,
and there I will be buried.

Naomi and Ruth travel together back to Bethlehem.  Ruth is later rewarded for her loyalty and faithfulness by meeting Boaz who helps her find food for herself and Naomi.  Ultimately Boaz and Ruth are married and give birth to a son, who ends up being the grandfather of David. What a sweet happy ending!

Imagine the love that these two women must have had for each other as you listen to this song, "I'm with You."
One of my favorite lines in this song is:

We could shake our fists
In times like this
When we don't understand
Or we could just hold hands
Ooh...that's a good lesson there.  When things are going wrong instead of getting mad and frustrated, maybe even taking out our frustration on the people around us, we should cling to the ones that love us and accept their support.

My other favorite set of words comes towards the end:

In the way you've always loved me
I remember He does too

I really do believe that God puts people in our lives to show us or remind us of His love.  The love that we show each other can be a reflection of God's love.  This makes me wonder about whether I am showing God's love when I interact with my family, friends, strangers....

Go ahead and read the book of Ruth this week, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.  I hope you are inspired by the love and kindness that Ruth shows Naomi, and may it refresh your ability to show God's love to others. I pray that you have someone like Ruth in your life who will stick with you through thick and thin, and keep you from becoming bitter during the dark days of your life.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Devotionals from Mark Hall of Casting Crowns

I have to share a new set of 10 daily devotionals that Mark Hall from Casting Crowns has created through KLOVE radio.  It's a great series and it's now available for free on Youtube.  You can see the whole series at:


Sunday, October 23, 2011


This week's song is a love letter from God to you.  It's called "More" by Matthew West.  Listen to this song as if God is singing it to you.

In Psalm 147, we are told that
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Our God is ruler of the universe!  So sometimes it may be hard for us to see why we might be important to him.  I was once in a discussion group where a man said that he really does not think that God cares much about his life, that there are much more important things in the world for God to be concerned with.  This man had a feeling of being insignificant.  Do you ever feel that way?  One person in the estimated 6.97 Billion people on this planet. 

I think this all lies in our inability to understand the magnitude of God's abilities.  In 2010, the estimated number of stars in our Universe was 300 sextillion....that's 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars! And God knows the real number and calls them each by name!  So since God created mankind in His image, why isn't it possible that he could know each and every one of us?

In Matthew 10: 29-31, Jesus tells us:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father's care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Jesus is clearly telling us that God is more able than our minds can comprehend, to follow our lives, and love us.  You are not insignificant.  God loves you MORE.  And never forget, God loves you so much that he sent his Son to die an excrutiating death for you.  That is a love that we can't truly comprehend in human terms.

I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more

May you come to understand that God loves you more than you can imagine.  Now it's time to shine for Him.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Do Everything

This week's song initially grabbed my attention when I first visited my local Christian Bookstore in Derby last week.  It's by Steven Curtis Chapman, from his new album called "Re:Creation."  The title of the song is "Do Everything" and it's just so uplifting and encouraging for me.  I would guess that many Christians find themselves in the routines of life and wonder how what they are doing day-to-day is serving the Lord.  I am reminded by this song that everything we do in life, even doing the dishes, can give God glory.  It's all about our perspective isn't it?  By doing the dishes, I can be rejoicing in the fact that my family is blessed by God in having food every day.  By doing the dishes happily, I glorify God in my role as a parent taking care of the needs of my family. 

The song starts off with the mundane tasks that so many parents get sick of doing.  And then to the working Dad, the student, the missionary, the musician, etc.  There is something in this song that everyone can identify with.  But what if we did these things in a way that brought a smile to God's face?

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

I once met a 17-year old girl that really exemplified this message.  In my former life in the U.S., I was a volleyball coach for teenage girls.  One of the big events at the end of the year for the State Championship finals in New York State, is a banquet before the tournament.  At that banquet, there are about 20 teams from various parts of the state and each team selects a representative to get up in front of all 400+ people to talk about their team, their school, and their home town.

To give you an understanding of the setting, there wer 19 Public School teams represented there, and 1 Christian School...Loudonville Christian School, a very small school, and this was their first time making it to the State Finals.  When it came to be time for Loudonville to talk in front of the group, the team captain stepped up to the microphone.  She is this bubbly girl, that appeared to be so comfortable speaking in front of the group.  She talked about her teammates and her school, and then I was so amazed and proud when she talked about God.  She spoke of how her team believes that by playing Volleyball, they are giving glory to God.  She compared it to how parents watch their young children playing with toys and feel joy to see their children having fun.  She explained how God looks down on her team playing a sport they love, playing to the best of their ability, having fun, and He smiles.  Watching us play volleyball makes God smile. 

Watching us be kind to someone in the supermarket, makes God smile.  Watching us help a coworker, makes God smile.  Watching us greet our children at the bus stop, makes God smile.  And the list goes on forever.  What will you do today to make God smile?

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

May you find ways to take what might now seem to be mundane, and turn it into something that glorifies the Lord and makes Him smile.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I mentioned last week that I would soon be sharing another song from Casting Crowns....well, you don't have to wait any longer!  This is another powerful song, calling us to action.  Some background here...this song was written for the recently released movie, "Courageous" which I am so excited to see.  It's playing now in the US, and hopefully it will make it to the UK by November.  This movie is about 4 police officers that learn to be courageous in their home lives, by growing closer to God and raising their children in a way that honors God.  It is an action packed movie with a strong message for men as fathers and leaders in their families. 
While this song and movie are definitely targeting men and their roles as fathers, I think mothers and all Christians can be motivated by this song.  When I listen to this song, I am reminded of how hard it is sometimes to be a Christian in this world.  Of course, my life as a Christian is no where near as difficult as those courageous missionaries around the world proclaiming the Gospel in lands where religious freedoms do not exist.  But I am witnessing how being a Christian in the U.S., and even moreso in the U.K. qualifies me as a minority.  My pastor mentioned today that in the UK, only 6% of the population attends church on a Sunday.  This fact was made known to me when my daughter was invited to a birthday party that was scheduled for today, a Sunday, at 10:30am.  Sunday mornings are not Holy here for most people. 

And whether I'm in the US or the UK, I've always struggled with how to share the love of Jesus with my friends and aquaintances outside the church family.  Gosh, it's so hard.  Even today, when we had friends over for dinner, I felt myself wondering should we pray, should we not?  Why am I so nervous about the reaction of others, so afraid that by me mentioning Jesus I will offend or hurt a good relationship.  Why am I so afraid of the rejection of my beliefs, the rejection of my God.  Why is it so awkward? 

I so enjoy the fellowship, learning, sharing and support that comes from a church family, from Bible studies, and other church activities.  Sometimes I just long to be able to share those wonderful experiences with my friends.  So I will invite them to "Guest Sunday" or to our next Bible study, but then I am saddened when they don't come.  Making it harder for me to invite someone again.  Unfortunately, I take the rejection personally...but it's not about ME! It's about my friends and their relationship with their Creator, their life here on earth, their life after this earth. 

This is where the courage comes in.  To share Jesus Christ in a world that worships other Gods like money, career, power, and self.  To keep Jesus at the center of your life with all these distractions tempting us.

We were made to be courageous
We were made to lead the way
We could be the generation
That finally breaks the chains
We were made to be courageous
We were made to be courageous

We were warriors on the front lines
Standing, unafraid
But now we're watchers on the sidelines
While our families slip away

Where are you, men of courage?
You were made for so much more
Let the pounding of our hearts cry
We will serve the Lord

So may you be courageous to create a life for your family that honors God.  May you be a blessing to those around you and overcome that fear of rejection that holds you back from spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  I pray this for you and also myself, let's get back to the front lines.

For more information on the "Courageous" Movie, visit

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Glorious Day

This week's song takes us back to the story of the Gospel.  I don't know about you, but I've been finding myself focused on God's love for me, His compassion, His plans, etc., but not reflecting as much on Jesus, the gift he gave us all, and the fact that without him, I wouldn't really know my God.  So this week's song is the story of Jesus...who he was, how he was, what he did, and what was done to him.  It's a song called "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns.  This band is very likely my favorite Christian Band.  I just love the harmonies that they create in their songs, but also there are some serious messages in their music.  I'm really quite shocked that this is my first Casting Crowns song on the blog.   There are definitely more to come....likely soon.

Sometimes as Christians we may forget how blessed we are to have full access to God, we can talk directly to Him...and this is only because of the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we are able to do so.  This is the Good News!  By believing in Him we are promised life with God forever....without deserving it at all.  Our sins are forgiven, no matter how bad they are. Therefore, there is nothing that stands between us and our Lord, the debt has been paid.

So for all of us who have truly accepted Jesus Christ in our hearts, we can look forward to reuiniting with him our death from this life on earth, when Jesus returns to Earth, or perhaps some combination of the two.  I don't know when or how that will be, but I have faith that someday it will be, and until then we can work to enable God's "kingdom" to come, His "will to be done," here on "earth as it is in heaven." 

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
Buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified, freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

So may you remember how Jesus changed the world and changed your life.  Remember His life, what He taught us, and His purpose.  Be filled with joy in this knowledge and let that joy pour out of you into this world, his creation.  I hope to see you on that "Glorious Day."

God Bless!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I'm excited about this week's song!  After several weeks of very serious songs, dramatic and moving, this one is just a lot of fun.  This week was emotionally a tough week for me...still dealing with homesickness.  One morning, this song came on the radio and got me ready for a new day.  This is a fantastic "wake up in the morning" song, it will get you excited for a new day despite your ongoing challenges. And to top it off, the video includes an appearance by one of my favorite British actor/comedians....Mr. Bean!  The song is called "Move" by MercyMe.
So my main reason for choosing this song is that I just want to put you in a great mood today.  This song is a great reminder to not get "bogged down" by our situation, to not dwell on unfortunate circumstance...."there's gonna be brighter days."  That is a promise our Lord has given us.  There are seasons in life that may feel like we are in darkness, and we need the Lord to light the way, to bring us out of our darkness.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

I'm not about to give up, because I heard you say
There's gonna be brighter days, there's gonna be brighter days
I won't stop, I'll keep my head up, no I'm not here to stay
There's gonna be brighter days, there's gonna be brighter days

I just might bend but I won't break, as long as I can see your face
When life won't play along, and right keeps going wrong
And I can't seem to find my way, I know where I am found
So I won't let it drag me down, I'll keep dancing anyway

So I hope this song lifts you up today, and if you are experiencing any darkness, I hope this song pulls you out of it and makes you dance.  Just remember, life's challenges may bend you, but they won't break you if you have God to light the way.

Have a joyous, Spirit filled week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Call on Jesus

This week's song choice is inspired by a recent bible study discussion on the Beatitudes.  We were discussing the first of eight:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3

For me, this is a tricky one to understand...what does "poor in spirit" mean? My study Bible says it is "in contrast to being spiritually proud or self sufficient."  So my current understanding is that to be "poor in spirit" is to acknowledge that you need God for everything.  Your sustinence, your achievements, your survival, your strength, your abilities, everything.  Someone who is "poor in spirit" has learned to give credit to God for everything and doesn't try to handle life's challenges on his/her own.

For people like me, who like to be in control, this is hard to do.  My first reaction is to try to figure things out on my own.  Quite often, I don't give my problems, my worries to God until I've struggled with them on my own for a while.

So back to the song...this week I've chosen another Nicole C. Mullen song called "Call on Jesus".  The first words of the song, I think reflect what "poor in spirit" means.  Here we have this beautiful, phenomenally talented, woman singing "I'm so very ordinary, nothing special on my own."


This song reminds us that we need to turn to Jesus with our problems, challenges, choices, fears.  Though so often in my life I try to solve things without asking for help from God, those times that I did ultimately turn to the Lord...he did show me the way.  Some answers were immediate, some have taken time, and there are still other challenges that I'm awaiting guidance from Him on.  The more I choose to rely on Him, the easier it is to have patience for his plan to become visible to me.  I have more trust in Him, and I am much less anxious...and less anxiety can only be a good thing.

A while ago, when I was stressed about something, my mother pointed me to a passage that she uses to provide her comfort.  It's now one of my favorite verses that I turn to frequently for a reminder of this message:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4: 6-7

So whatever is troubling your heart today, may you give it all to God, right now.  Trust Him to guide you, give you strength and bring about solution according to his plan.  I hope you will find some peace in this.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lead Me

I got an email from a friend a few days ago with sad news that his marriage is in trouble.  He told me that the song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real has been a constant prayer for him during this difficult time.  Since this song has been very meaningful to me in my life and I've seen it have meaning in several other people's lives regardless of the strength of their marriage, it seems like a good time to share this with you. Perhaps you'll learn something from it like I have...

I've found myself on both sides of this song.  First, the wife who needs more from her husband, and second the parent that is so caught up in her own life that she disappoints her family while pursuing her own interests.  The second side is the one that I can control, but it can be so hard to change.  It's a really tough balance isn't it?  As adults we are driven to succeed in whatever we do, but sometimes our view of success can come with a cost to our family life.  Knowing what cost your family can afford can be very challenging.  Or maybe we're so consumed by our own desires that our priorities shift away from family commitments we've made.  There are plenty of opportunities in this world to be led astray and lose focus on what's important.  Unfortunately, we don't always realize that we're on the wrong path until after someone gets hurt by the choices we make.

My favorite part of this song is when the lead singer Matt asks God to lead him.  As parents and spouses we have this responsibility to lead our children, lead our spouses, during times of struggle, but also in everyday life. How often do we think to ask God to lead us in that effort? 

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh Father, show me the way
To lead them

Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me 'cause I can't do this alone

This is one of those songs that was written from personal experience, and the lead singer of Sanctus Real made a video with this wife about why he wrote this song.  They are both so open and honest about their failures and challenges, they make it so easy to relate to them.

May you find guidance in this song, perhaps learn lessons for yourself, and know that if you let Him, God will lead you and your loved ones down the path that he intends for you all. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You

In remembrance of September 11th, I'm writing an extra post this week.  I feel compelled to share a wonderful song written by Alan Jackson.  You may have already heard it, but perhaps its been a while.  This song is called "Where Were You", but I remember it as "Faith, Hope, and Love." 

To be honest, I haven't thought much about the anniversary of that horrible day much.  It was just a couple of days ago that I began to really remember the emotion of that time in America's history.  I was having coffee with my neighbor from accross the street, a wonderful English woman in her 60s who visited New York City and Ground Zero last spring.  She spoke of how her hotel was right next to a fire station, and she got the chance to speak to some of the fire fighters and see the wall of their station that memorializes their brothers who died that day.  She got choked up when she talked about all the children that lost their fathers.  And then it all came back to me.

I won't go into the details of where I was that day, but one of the things I remember most was waking up on September 12th and feeling like the the world was a different place, I didn't understand this world.  In this song, Alan shares a variety of the reactions that many of us had during those days.  But in the end, for so many of us Christians, we had to turn to God with all of our fears. He reminds us of God's gifts...Faith, Hope and Love. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

So amidst the shock, sadness, and anger, we are reminded to have faith that the Lord is with us, have hope for a better future in God's plan, that our God loves us more than we can imagine, and he wants us to love Him and love the people of this world.  This is a comforting reminder to us now, 10 years later, as we remember and relive those emotions, again with terrorist threats not letting us forget that the world is still a scary place.  We still need this reminder. 

I pray that you all have a peaceful day on Sunday.  Even though I'm not home in America, I will be remembering with you.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm Letting Go

This week's song is from another one of my favorite artists...Francesca Battistelli. The song I've chosen is one that I've considered to be my "theme song" for the last few months.  It's called "I'm Letting Go," and it's from her album "My Paper Heart."

OK, so why is this my theme song?  As a stay-at-home Mom who recently left home to live in England for 2 years, I feel like I'm living the words in this song.  As I look back, I've "felt like I'm falling" on many occasions. One time that I can remember is when I made the decision to stay home after working 9 successful years as an Engineer.  I was so proud of myself, being a strong female engineer, making lots of money...but there was something that just wasn't quite right for me.  And it took several signs from God, including my pregancy with my 3rd baby to make me change my course.  I "let go" of my dreams of being a leader in the company that I worked for, I "let go"of my identity that my career had provided for me.  I had to start over, and build my new identity. 

Those were really tough times for me mentally.  The hard part of "letting go" is not knowing what God's plan is.  I believed there is a plan, but I wanted to figure out what it was.  I loved being a mom, but losing the career portion of my identity did leave a hole that needed to be filled.  I needed to discover a new dream.  So I had several dreams come and go as I tried to figure out God's plan.  Lots of brilliant ideas that would fade with time.  But over the last couple of years, I've found myself building my identity in the Church, even considering a new dream of being a youth leader.  This was a wonderful plan that I was formulating...I had the passion and love for Christ, I just needed experience and education to be able to succeed in a new mission.  I almost had it all figured out, when I found out that my husband had been offered a temporary assignment in England. I was "letting go of my dreams" once again.

I'm letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
I'm losing control
Of my destiny
It feels like I'm falling but that's what it's like to believe.

I do feel like I'm falling sometimes.  I keep telling myself that there must be a purpose for this change of course.  I believe that God has a plan, and I need to watch it unfold.  Pray that I will be patient and allow him to guide me along the way.

Today in church, we said goodbye to some missionaries in our church who had returned home for 2 months and are now going back to their mission in Tajikistan.  This family of 4 is very similar to ours, similar age parents, slightly younger children, and they are doing Christian Mission work in a country that is 98 percent Muslim.  Before we prayed for them, the Pastor interviewed them in front of the congregation and they shared their feelings, hopes, and needs for prayer about their journey and mission work.  I couldn't help but identify with the Wife and how she felt leaving her home and church again.  But I was also truly humbled by the sacrifice that she and her family were making...the "giant leap of faith" that is so much greater than that of my family. What a wonderful gift to the world this family is.  They are a shining example of faith in God's plan, service, and discipleship.

Well, as I "give in to God's gravity", I hope you will be able to do the same when the time comes.  These times come for us all at some point.  May you find peace in knowing that God is holding you in the palm of his hand no matter where life takes you.

Monday, August 29, 2011


This week I'm going back in time a little bit to one of my favorite songs from a few years ago. At a Women of Faith Conference in Rochester, New York, I had the joy of meeting Nicole C. Mullen, an artist whose music I had heard before but I had never known her name. This woman is an amazing performer and I still would love to have the opportunity to see her perform again. At that conference, after seeing her perform I bought all of her albums and fell in love with a song called "Convinced" from the 2007 Album Sharecropper's Seed.

For me, this song is about how much God loves you and nothing can separate us from that love.  There is nothing we can do to make him love us less. That is such a powerful statement...there's no other love like that, and for many it's hard to believe.  How can he love me with all the things that I've done wrong, all my failures, all my sins?  This song is a reminder to all of us, an affirmation that we will always be loved by Him, no matter what. 

Listen to the link below...

It wasn't until just a few weeks ago that I realized where in the Bible some of the words in this song come from.  In a Bible Study with friends from church, we were reading Romans Chapter 8, which I've noticed seems to have lots of inspiring words for songwriters.  Romans Chapter 8, Verse 38 says:

For I am convinced that neither death
nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in al creation,
will be able to separate us from the love
of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nicole takes this passage a step further in her song by sharing her love for God in the same way.  Not only can nothing separate her from His Love, she sings that nothing can separate Him from her love.  That's quite a commitment.  She will always love Him, even during those times when she is in pain....she will love him.  When she is disappointed and frustrated with the course of life...she will still love him.  I pray that my faith and love for Him will be strong during the struggles of life as well. 

The wind will blow on everybody
And rain will fall on us all
And if the, weather of my life
Is not like I want it, still
I'll survive through the storm

'Cuz I'm convinced, I'm persuaded
I will not be separated
From the love
I have in You

Neither death or life coud sever
Neither height or depth could measure
The love You have
And my love for You.

I hope this song and these words are encouraging to you this week.  No matter how disappointed you are in yourself, no matter what challenges you face this week, be comforted in knowing that God loves you and he always will.  And may your love for the Lord be strong and constant throughout your journey in this life.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Strong Enough

Some of you may know that I recently moved to England from America.  During the stressful weeks leading up to the move, the song Strong Enough by Matthew West was speaking to me. While moving to another country is nothing compared to some of the challenges that many people in this world face, it was and still is a strain on me as a person, largely because I haven't had a whole lot of change in my life.  Around that same time, I watched a close friend deal with the severe illness of her father and his death.  I would think of her when listening to this song as well, and wonder when I will be in a similar situation and what toll that will take on me.

So here's the YouTube video, take a look, listen and read the words....

For me this song is about that old adage, "God won't give you something you can't handle."  I like to add "with his help."  Sometimes you just know that you can't handle the trials of this life on your own.  We all try to be in control, but some of the trials are just too hard....illness, loss, the things in life that could cause us to question Him, or reach out for help from Him because there is no one else. 

Maybe that's the point
to reach the point of giving up

When I'm finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out

Maybe we do have the strength handle it, but we are overwhelmed by it and trusting in God can help us cope and not suffer through the situation.  Or perhaps the situation is so new and different for us that God needs to make us stronger to be able to endure. 

It is these times when the pain is too much to bear, the addiction too hard to overcome, the fear so great that it hinders us, that our own efforts as humans just aren't enough.  We need extra strength, extra courage from the only one that can give it.  It's too bad that sometimes we wait until we are at rock bottom to seek His help. 

My favorite part of this song is actually scripture: Phillipians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength


I can do everything through him who gives me strength (NIV)

It's such a simple scripture to memorize and have in your back-pocket for those challenging situations.  It's even easier for me to remember it when I sing it in my head now, thanks to this song. 

This song comes from Matthew West's "Story of Your Life Album" for which he asked listeners to send him letters for him to write songs about.  So as part of this album he has created videos with the back-story about who inspired this song and their story.  This one was inspired by a girl named Haley.

May you be able to trust in the Lord and give your problems to Him.  He will guide you through the trials of this life and give you strength and comfort.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Giving Wings to Prayers

One of my choir directors used to tell us that music gives wings to our prayers.  Those words always stuck with me.  Through my journey as a listener and singer of christian music, I am often reminded of how powerful music can be.  In capturing the emotion of our prayers, the joy in our praise, the pain in our struggles.  The more I come to know a song, the more I feel it and find understanding in the words and melody that connects me to God. When singing in a Praise Band in my home church, each week I would learn a new song and that song would speak to me.  I would discover parts of the Bible I hadn't read before in the song.  I would find comfort in the words as they relate to my personal journey and the journeys of others.  I always feel compelled to share both the music and the meaning I've learned. 

This has been a dream of mine for a very long time now.  To write and share what I learn from Contemporary Christian songs.  I'm not much of a writer or much of a musician for that matter, but I do love this music and how it connects me with my Lord.  I pray that others will find this same joy in listening and learning from these truly inspired musicians.  I don't have a perfect vision of what I want this blog to be, but I do know that it is now time for me to see if I can make this dream happen, with the guidance of the Lord of course.