Thursday, May 22, 2008

Worship From Prison

It happened in the Bible with Paul. It continues even today. God is given the glory from behind prison bars. Some of these guys are Grace College alma mater. You go boys!

Monday, May 19, 2008

God Is In The Rebuilding Business

The business is called Varco Motors. They restore vehicles, sell used vehicles, and deal in auto parts. Every time I visit their shop and lot, I'm amazed at how they can turn totaled vehicles into pristine condition. It's not a chop shop - they do great work. It the great work of my wife's family up in Holton, KS.

It's similar to the lives God works on. Our lives can be a total wreck - in other words - like a totaled vehicle from an accident. Most people would think beyond repair. It might be a life that isn't drivable...just sitting on a lot or thrown into a junk heap. Maybe we totaled out life because of consequences to choices we've made - or maybe circumstance simply landed us there. Regardless, our life can be totaled at anytime...just like a freak accident on a sunny day on an open road.

Just like Varco Motors, God doesn't "write off" a life. Every life is salvagable. Most vehicles that find their way to Varco ends up being restored. The frame is pulled on some, others have two vehicles that are put together to restore one, and yet another vehicle the engine is overhauled. It's not that the vehicle was too far gone - it just needed to be 'loved' by some smart guys who know how to put them back together again.

God is the One who decides how our lives will be used in the process. And some vehicles are used for certain purposes - some for a complete rebuild and some for parts. Our lives are used for different purposes by God. Sometimes we aren't happy how God chooses to use our lives in the grand scheme of His kingdom business. It's important to remember, not every life gets rebuilt. It's up to the real "owner" to decide. Even though every life could be salvageable, sometimes God chooses not to fully restore the life. Why do some lives make it back from the brink and others do not? Sometimes it's the choices we make. You see, I think sometimes I actually "own" my life. Really, I don't. The only "owner" is God - I'm simply the manager. Being restored has a lot to do with which owner is making the decision. If the REAL owner left the decision up to the public as to how the vehicles get restored - the business would fail. It's up to the owner with the experience and understanding of the vehicle/life to decide. Who do you view as owning your life?

When it comes to putting the pieces back together again - God is the ultimate life mechanic. Why? Because He's the one who built the life to begin with. He knows what's under the hood. He knows what functions the vehicle is supposed to carry out. Who better to restore the vehicle than the One who designed it.

Why would God take the time to restore a life that's been restored? It can still serve a purpose. Many of Varco's vehicles have gotten more miles than brand new stuff does. Could it be that they in the process of rebuilding that the vehicles are improved (factory recalls taken car of, etc.)? Don't write off a life that seems like it's destroyed. If someone is willing to give their life to God - He has the ability to turn a totaled life into a brand new vehicle.

God, thank You so much for designing my life - and then caring enough to restore me, if I choose to let You do so. While I never seek out to destroy my life - I'm human and live in a world that offers no hope of having a perfect life. I depend on You, my Creator and Restorer, until my life ends on this earth.

Varco Motors (re-build shop)
Varco Mostors West & Parts Division (used cars & parts)

Monday, May 12, 2008

U-Pick the Music: Top 5 Revealed

The votes are in for the U-Pick the Music Sunday at Topeka Bible Church. The voting was only open to the "worship arts family" - musicians, techs, and support volunteers. Each person was allowed 3 votes. A total of 159 songs came in and were tallied. If you snoozed, you lost out on voting. Sorry no late entries. The worship arts family has spoken and the top five songs are revealed below!

Next time, the whole church will vote! The comparison between the worship arts family and the worshipers will be interesting to see.

8 Days of Elijah
5 Shout to the Lord
4 Above All
4 Agnus Dei
4 Ancient Of Days
3 Amazing Grace (also with "My Chains Are Gone")
3 As the Deer (regular and downtown versions)
3 Awesome God
3 Be Thou My Vision
3 Draw Me Close
3 Here I Am To Worship
3 How Great Is Our God
3 In Christ Alone
3 It Is Well With My Soul
3 Mighty to Save
3 Your Grace Still Amazes Me
2 A Mighty Fortress is Our God
2 Amazing Love
2 Better is One Day
2 Come, Now is the Time to Worship
2 Cry Holy
2 I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
2 I Saw the Light
2 I'll Fly Away
2 Indescribable
2 Shine Jesus Shine
2 When the Roll is Called up Yonder
1 All Hail King Jesus
1 All Hail the Power of Jesus Name (Standard Version)
1 All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises
1 All things Are Possible
1 Ancient words
1 Arise
1 Awesome God
1 Be Exalted, O God
1 Be Still My Soul
1 Be Thou My Vision
1 Celebrate Jesus, Celebrate
1 Change My Heart, O God
1 Cry of My Heart
1 Friend of God
1 Give Thanks
1 Go Light your world
1 God of Wonders
1 He is Able
1 Holy is the Lord
1 Holy, Holy, Holy
1 I Am Crucified With Christ
1 I Bow Down
1 I Come to the Garden
1 I Give You My Heart
1 I Love You Lord
1 I Stand in Awe
1 I Surrender All
1 In the Secret of His Presence
1 Jesus, I come
1 Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken
1 Knowing You (All I once hold dear)
1 Let It Rise
1 Lord, I lift your name on high
1 Majesty
1 O Worship the King
1 Oh for a thousand tongues to sing
1 Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord
1 Our God Reigns
1 People Need the Lord
1 Praise Adonai
1 Precious Lord, Take my Hand
1 Protector of my soul
1 Seek Ye First
1 Shine on Us
1 Shout to the North
1 Soon and Very Soon
1 Speak O Lord
1 Take My Life
1 The Church's One Foundation
1 The Lord Reigns
1 The Potter's Hand
1 The Wonder of it All
1 There is Power in the Blood
1 Three Wooden Crosses
1 Trading My Sorrows
1 Trust and Obey
1 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
1 Untitled Hymn
1 Victory In Jesus
1 White as Snow
1 You are Holy (Prince of Peace)
1 You Are My King (Amazing Love)
1 You Have Been Good
1 You Shine
1 Your Grace is Enough
1 You're Good, Lord

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Vegetable Orchestra

Gotta give credit to John Bowes, a guitarist at Topeka Bible Church, for telling me about this first. I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. A real-deal vegetable orchestra. Not sure how much longer this will be around with the price of food going up.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ask Me Anything, Coming Soon

I had no idea the questions that would be asked, but WOW! You guys are nuts. Here are a few of the questions that have already come in from the worship arts ministry feedback. There's still time to ask a question. I'll be answering these in upcoming blog posts for you. There's a list of questions I will answer. And a list of questions I'll answer IF I GET TIME.

  • Do you enjoy or like to play classical music? This includes either instrumental or vocal music.
  • How do you feel about starting a (insert a new instrumental/vocal group) at TBC?
  • What has surprised you (good or bad) about your first year at TBC?
  • What ARE your hobbies or favorite free-time activities?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • Who was your favorite artist or band from the 50's 60's etc for each decade to date?
  • Why do you prefer 2-3 vocalists leading in a small group instead of a larger team of more?
  • Does the choir have a place in worship in the future?
  • Are your passions more on the instrumental or vocal side?
  • What "church experiences" that you had growing up have contributed to your style of worship as an adult?
  • What all instruments do you play?
  • What is your (current)favorite worship song?
  • What is your favorite worship song?
  • What surprising blessings and challenges have you experienced in your first year at TBC?
  • How is your worship experience here different from where you were before?
  • Will TBC ever use an acoustic drum set?
  • Why do you use synthesized strings with the orchestra?
  • Why doesn't the orchestra play with the Mass Vocal Group anymore?
  • What are the two types of guitars and what is the history behind them?
  • What is your favorite sport and team?
  • If God granted you one redo, what would you redo?
  • I've always been concerned about the watering down (in songs) of the name of God to words like you and him (especially when capitalized..You..Him), and most importantly in songs which could be sung to a person (other than God) because no other words in the song point directly to Jehovah. I just find it hard to accept You and Him as biblical/worshipful names for God. In the process of choosing worship songs, is this a concern for you?

  • Why was JFK shot? Who set the event in motion?
  • Word association...Wheat, Dust, Swing, Sign, Sing, Bill, Fun?
  • What is the next number...4,20,84,340,1364,5460,______?
  • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?