Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The DISC Test

So I've been a little bit sidelined lately w/ my car issues; first I replaced the fuel filter (well, my brother did) & my car took out on me, then I replaced the fuel pump (again, mainly my brother there) & will take the car for a test spin later today… but the last couple of weeks have given me the opportunity to pause, think & pray about my gifting(s) & my purpose.

Years ago I took the DISC test, you know that personality test that was all the rage back then; it's still pretty useful in narrowing down what type of person you are & where you fit in a group, fellowship, etc. Back then, I was a C Personality (actually I was CSI in that order, I'd joke about being forensic & working w/ dead things, etc); I retook it again recently & guess what I am now? A solid C Personality, which is characterized by the following:

  • accurate, precise, detail-oriented, conscientious 
  • think very analytically, systematically 
  • make decisions carefully w/ plenty of research & information to back it up
  • very high standards for both themselves & others 
  • because they focus on the details & see what many other styles do not, they tend to be good problem solvers & very creative people
  • brings perspective to groups & tend to be the "anchor of reality" in team thought
  • think through every detail of how it works & the process
  • will make realistic estimates & will voice the problems that they see with the plan or already existing system 
  • is conscientious & even tempered 
  • will avoid conflict rather than argue
  • will complete tasks they've committed to & will be very thorough 
  • take great pride in doing their work accurately
  • are excellent people to analyze, research, or test information
  • are very effective trouble shooters
  • desire independence & autonomy
  • are instinctive organizers, who can both create & maintain systems
  • have a tendency to focus on tasks more than people & to want to work alone
  • will need to push themselves to be decisive & take risks, even if all the research isn't there to support it

That's just a general description of what the C Personality is; I do fit most of that though at times I do like a good argument & sometimes I like to just shake things up.

I've been alone most (well, all) of my life so working alone doesn't bother me: I've written songs by myself, recorded entire projects alone, etc but lately I've been feeling the need/desire to collaborate as in songwriting, music projects, etc, perhaps that's just God stretching me out of my comfort zone. 

There's quite a bit of talent in my fellowship & I have a burden/desire to unlock that talent, maybe my personality type will help me find where I belong...

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Credenda Variance II

credenda: a doctrine that requires belief; article of faith (from credere = to believe, related to the word creed)

variance: the fact or quality of being different, divergent or inconsistent… a discrepancy between two statements or documents

So I had another interesting conversation w/ a fellow Christian about titles, he was fairly arrogant & adamant about what he believed so I thought I'd feel him out a little, press him on his beliefs & see how far he'd take it; here's the discourse as follows:

Me: So tell me again why you call your pastor “Pastor ___________”.
Them: I'm just showing him respect. You need to call him “Pastor” too, he deserves respect; calling him by his first name is disrespectful, he's a pastor, not your best friend.
Me: Hmmmm….  Well, I'll be honest, that's just about the dumbest thing I've heard in some time. There is disrespect present but it's on your part, not theirs.
Them (angry & incredulous): What did you just say?
Me: You heard me, you're the one being disrespectful.
Them: How is it disrespectful in honoring your pastor? 
Me: I didn't say you were disrespectful in honoring him, you're disrespecting Jesus.
Them (just about to explode): I do not disrespect Jesus!
Me: In this case you are.
Them: I love Jesus, I would never disrespect Him!!!
Me: Do you believe His words & follow them?
Them: Of course I do.
Me: Obviously not in this case.
Them: How so? 
Me: You completely disrespect Jesus when you call a pastor “Pastor _________”.
Them: I do not!!!
Me: May I ask you a couple of questions then?
Them: Sure.
Me: Who's the Son of God?
Them: Jesus.
Me: Was He God?
Them: Yes, fully God, fully man.
Me: So He's God.
Them: Yes, what does this have to do w/ what we're talking about?
Me: What's His name again?
Them: You know His name! JESUS! What does this have to do w/ anything?!
Me: Everything. So, you admit that Jesus is the Son of God, God Himself. Right?
Them: Yes, of course. Jesus is God. What are you getting at? 
Me: In Matthew 23, Jesus instructed His Disciples (& by extension all those who follow Him) to not call anyone Father, Master, Teacher, etc… He specifically said “it shall not be so among you”, in other words, to paraphrase this passage/teaching He's saying “drop the titles”. You have zero problem calling God by His first name but have major problems w/ anyone not calling a pastor, a mere human, by the title of “pastor” when God told you not to. Can you see the problem here? Can you see the inconsistency, the variance in your thinking?
Them (walking away): You're trying to confuse me & I'm ending this conversation right now. I'm going to continue honoring & respecting my pastor by addressing him as one, regardless of what you say & how you try to twist Scripture.
Me: I'm sorry you feel that way, but I'm not twisting anything, all I'm doing is telling you what Scripture says; what Jesus Himself said & asking you to re-examine your mindset on this, that's all...  

I've had this conversation so many times w/ different people, you'll hear them talk about Jesus & they never, ever use the term Pastor Jesus, Apostle Jesus, Prophet Jesus, etc it's always just one name: Jesus. Like this person I was talking to, they have no problem calling the Son of God by one name & one name only yet they insist on calling people by titles & berate those who don't.

Note: Sometimes I'll completely agree w/ someone on some theological point but I'll approach the conversation from an unbeliever's point of view, 'just to see if they truly "have an answer for the hope that is within them" or they're just spouting some doctrinal/denominational belief. It's probably not the nicest thing to do but I do like to see where people are at & how they handle opposition, differing views or a challenge to their beliefs.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Case of the Copious Lexicon

I've been taking a short hiatus from reading books by Christian authors & thought I'd delve into the first two Ellery Queen novels; little did I realize I'd need both a dictionary & a thesaurus to understand/enjoy them.

So, here are words I learned from  “The Roman Hat Mystery” & “The French Powder Mystery”:

aesopian: conveying meaning by hint, euphemism, innuendo, or the like
amanuensis: a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another; secretary
appurtenances: something subordinate to another, more important thing
avocation: something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, hobby; diversion or distraction
betokening: to give evidence of; indicate
blatherskite: a person given to voluble, empty talk; nonsense
brusqueness: abrupt in manner; blunt; rough
captious: proceeding from a faultfinding or caviling disposition, faultfinding
celerity: swiftness; speed
cicatrix: new tissue that forms over a wound and later contracts into a scar
cudgel: to try to comprehend or remember
evince: to show clearly; make evident or manifest; prove
habiliments: clothes as worn in a particular profession
ignominious: discreditable, humiliating, contemptible
imperious: domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing
imprecations: to invoke or call down (evil or curses), as upon a person
insectivorous: adapted to feeding on insects
intelligentsia: intellectuals considered as a group or class, especially as a cultural, social, or political elite
invective: vehement or violent denunciation, censure, or reproach
moue: a pouting grimace
myopic: lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded
nacreous:  lustrous; pearly
nascent: beginning to exist or develop
nebulous: hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused
nonce: the present, or immediate, occasion or purpose
penury: extreme poverty; destitution
peremptorily: leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal; imperative
peroration: a long speech characterized by lofty and often pompous language
piscine: of, relating to, or resembling a fish or fishes
profundity: a profoundly deep place; abyss
prosaic: commonplace or dull; matter-of-fact or unimaginative
punctilious: strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions
ratiocination: the process of logical reasoning
redolent: having a pleasant odor; fragrant
sententiously: given to or using pithy sayings or maxims
sepulchral: of, relating to, or serving as a tomb
sotto voce: (of singing or a spoken remark) in a quiet voice, as if not to be overheard
stolidity: not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive
surreptitious: obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine
toque: a brimless and close-fitting hat for women, in any of several shapes
tremulous: characterized by trembling, as from fear, nervousness, or weakness
vagary: a whimsical, wild, or unusual idea, desire, or action
virago: a loud-voiced, ill-tempered, scolding woman; shrew
viscid: having a glutinous consistency; sticky; adhesive; viscous
volubly: characterized by a ready and continuous flow of words; fluent; glib; talkative

That's quite a few new words, for me at least...

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Credenda Variance

I had an interesting “discussion”  w/ another single man in a Bible Study recently, I write “discussion” in quotes because it was anything but & it actually tied into a another “discussion” I had online w/ a worship leader recently.

The topic(s) were [separately] purity then reverence in worship but ultimately it was all about integrity & consistency. There were actually three interesting conversations I've had recently...

The First Topic: Purity

This Believer I was talking to said he wouldn't watch any movie that had nudity, sex scenes, adultery, etc, citing the verse “I will put nothing wicked before my eyes”.  Though I secretly agreed w/ him in principle, I thought I'd test him & see how far he was willing to defend his beliefs, so I responded, “you're a hypocrite”.

“What? I'm not a hypocrite!”
“Yes you are, you're a first class hypocrite”
“How I am a hypocrite?”
“You just admitted you were”
“I did not, how am I a hypocrite?”
“You just said you won't watch any movie or tv show that has this stuff (sex, adultery, etc) in it, does that apply to books to?”
“Of course”
“You hypocrite”

The conversation took a decidedly heated turn…

“I AM NOT A HYPOCRITE!!!”
“You read your Bible every day, right?”
“You bet I do”
“The Bible contains the following: nudity, sex, incest, rape, adultery, seduction, witchcraft, human sacrifices, demon worship, even cannibalism & you allow that in you; so you either apply your standards across the board, 24/7 to everything or your standards are fluid which makes you a hypocrite. So which one is it & which one are you?”
“THAT'S THE WORD OF GOD!”
“I'm not arguing that. The topic at hand is your standards; do your standards apply to everything you watch & read? Either they do or they don't”

So before fists & Bibles started flying I diffused the conversation by saying I agreed w/ him that we need to be careful what we allow in us but if I was an unbeliever or a new Believer, how would he respond to me & how would he come across?

The Second Topic: Self–Control

So I was talking to a married elder of a fellowship I know of in the area & the topic of self–control came up, I started it & it went something like this:

“So is the fruit of the Spirit temporary?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean is it only for certain people at certain times?”
“No, it's for all Believers all the time”
“Seriously?”
“Seriously”
“So you're saying that single Believers have to have self–control but married Believers don't?”
“Well...”
“So once you're married self–control goes out the window? You no longer have to practice it?”
“I would never deny my spouse… do you have a problem w/ self–control?”
“No, I tap into grace but why don't you?”
“I don't have to, I'm married”
“So you're saying self-control is temporary, it's conditional; it's based on your condition: single it's essential, married it's optional”
“Something like that...” 

The conversation got more & more uncomfortable but it got him thinking about some things: the freedom he has in marriage & the pressure/standards that single people have to live up to. Sometimes I think single Believers are so much more stronger than married Believers are, they have to be, they have no choice...

The Third Topic: Worship

Worship, whether individually or corporately, is a very touchy topic; everyone has their own ideas of what it is/isn't, what it should/shouldn't be. Visit a few online Christian forums & you'll the see spectrum of views, it's interesting…

People who wear suits or dresses on Sunday mornings look down on those who don't.

“You wouldn't dream of wearing jeans when you meet the President, would you? You would wear your best clothes to a wedding or funeral right? Why would you think it's okay to dress casual in the House of the Lord? Why would you come in late, sipping coffee?”

vs 

“Do you wear a suit or dress when you're having your home devotionals or personal worship time? Are you drinking coffee or tea during these times? If you're not doing something personally why are you doing it corporately?”

I've been waking up around 3:30 am lately & my favorite time of the day is 4:45 am; I sit in the semi-dark, sometimes just a candle as my only light, w/ a hot cup of coffee & just sit there in my bare feet & jammies... in the quiet, quietly meditating/worshiping… gently sipping my coffee…  do I do that in corporate worship? No, but I don't condemn those who do drink coffee while worshiping in a corporate gathering. I don't pass judgment either on those on the worship team who take their shoes off.

So this worship leader was having a fit over what he perceived was a lack of reverence in the modern worship setting.

People in other countries are literally losing their heads over their faith in Jesus & some people here in America are losing their minds over bare feet, jeans & coffee in corporate gatherings of Believers.

I highly doubt that any Believer is going to put on their best suit or best dress for their personal morning or evening devotionals.

Reverence is a matter of the heart & only God knows who reverences Him. So I asked this worship leader if he applies his standard to only Sunday mornings or if it applies 24/7. He was incensed at the question & went ballistic on me. 

I'm finding these mindsets in many Christians nowadays, their standards & beliefs appear to be inconsistent, rather fluid & when their beliefs are challenged, they become unnerved or unhinged; don't be fooled, people pick up on that, especially unbelievers & it comes across as hypocrisy.

Are your standards/beliefs/practices active 24/7 or are they fluid?
Are they conditional (based on your condition) or apply across the board?
Are you passing judgment on people who worship in a different manner than you?

Any thoughts on this?  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Personal Log: Inauguration Day

inauguration

  • the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period; 
  • the formal admission of someone to office. 
  • a ceremony to mark the beginning of something.

Well today is a new day. In the United States, it's Inauguration Day; some people are happy & some people are not, that's just the way it is... regardless of how you voted this is a day to come together & unite.

It's a new era, not only for America but for myself as well. 2017 has already been something different than what I expected it to be; a year ago I was in a completely different place, certain things were not even on my radar but I look where I am now & see a future & a hope in so many areas. The Lord has really done a work in me the last couple of months & changed my heart & attitude on a few things I've wrestled with but like He told me, "it's going to be okay".

I'm still finding my place & where I belong but in the meantime I have a couple of recording projects to keep me busy. 'Been writing/re-writing some worship songs & feel pretty good about them. I'm not actively playing on a worship team & that's okay, if I'm asked to help I will, if not I won't, but right now I'm very content where I am & am trusting God in all things, through all things & for all things.

Our Country is going to be okay.
My fellowship is going to be okay.
I'm going to be okay.
It's all going to be okay.

It's a new year & a new day, let's put the past behind & look forward, reach forward & move forward in every area of our lives with Jesus as our focus.

Matthew 19:26
"...with God, all things are possible"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Twelfth Night 2017



Well, the 12th Day of Christmas has arrived & it's always a little sad for me as I love the Christmas season but everything  has it's time & everything must end so a new season can begin…

Since Thanksgiving I've done quite a bit of study &  reflection (& of course entertainment) on the Advent & the passion of our God in becoming one of us so He could save us…. The 12 Tribes of Israel… the 12 Disciples… the 12 Days of Christmas… Twelfth Night… it all comes together & weaves a beautiful story of love from Love Himself. 



To kick off Christmas I go w/ Charlie Brown but I have a personal tradition on this day, the 12th Day of Christmas/Twelfth Night to end the season w/ “The Passion of the Christ”, a movie that really brings it all home & reminds me just why Jesus came. It's intense & when it's over I mop up my tears, I worship & then I need something lite so I sandwich the season by popping in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” & look forward to December once again.

I have always, always hated the western mindset of this big build up to December 25th then “bam!” it's over: the tree comes down, the lights are put away, everything is marked down & put on clearance. Since I've started observing the 12 Days of Christmas, Jesus Christ has become much more meaningful to me so I encourage all of you to consider stretching Christmas 2017 out just a little bit longer; who knows, you might find new meaning in it too...   

Monday, January 2, 2017

Personal Log: 1.3.2017

Here are some things you can do this year to enrich your relationship w/ Jesus:



Have a Dedicated Bible Reading Plan

There's nothing like reading the Bible but some people have always had a hard time w/ exactly how to do that:
  • Do you read it chronologically?
  • Do you study themes/topics?
  • Do read a chapter per day or chapter of OT, NT, Psalms, Proverbs per day?

However you read the Bible, try not to rush through it to meet your set quota. Here are some tips:
  • read it slowly
  • ask the Lord for revelation of what the passage means 
  • ask the Lord to see Jesus & the heart of God in each book or scenario
  • look at who the intended audience was
  • dig into the Hebrew & Greek words
  • read as many commentaries on a certain passage/theme as you can
  • read it in relation to the finished work of Jesus on the Cross

I tried something once that was really interesting & brought the Bible to life for me. I read the passage where it says, “God is love” so I went back to Genesis & re-read the Bible replacing the words God, Lord, Jesus, He, Him, My, etc w/ the word “Love” & it changed everything for me.

Examples:
  • “In the beginning God created the heavens & the earth...” became “In the beginning Love created the heavens & the earth...”
  • “Jesus fed the 5,000” became “Love fed the 5,000”
  • “the wrath of God” became “the wrath of Love”
  • “the great & terrible Day of the Lord” became “the great & terrible Day of Love”
  • “the revelation of Jesus Christ” became “the revelation of Love”

Can you see how things like this just transforms your daily Bible reading? 

There's so many different ways of reading/studying the Bible; find the one that's best for you right now & go w/ it, the method may grow & change as you do.  

Use the Audio Bible

There's also nothing like listening to the Bible being read.

I got into this last year & just loved it. In my lifetime, I've read the NT letters & epistles countless times but when someone is reading them as an actual letter to actual people, w/o chapter breaks or verses, it becomes so passionate & so clear. 

Let's face it: books like Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy & Revelation can be a hard (or scary) read for anyone, but listening to them can be a bit easier on you. 

I was laying in bed one night listening to the entire book of Leviticus & when it came to chapter 26 I caught such a revelation of grace & of God's desire for us & our company, it was amazing… I had read it several times before but hearing it just hit me in a new way.

The audio Bible can also be great for when you're going to/from work. In 20 minutes you can hear all of Philippians or Galatians & hear them again on the way home. 

Prayer

I pray in the Spirit & I also pray in English. Praying in the Spirit helps me: helps me focus, helps me when I just don't know how to pray for something or someone… it just helps.

If you don't believe in praying in tongues then try to have a dedicated prayer time, anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes per day, whatever works for you.

Lately, much of my personal prayer time consists of simply loving, thanking & praising God. I rarely ask for anything anymore; God has already supplied all my needs & what He hasn't supplied I must not need (at least right now). 

Yes, there are times when you ask God for something but most of my prayer time is thanking God for my health, for His love, mercy, protection, for His authority… thanking Him for taking care of me, for His provision, for handling things/people as I place them on the altar & into His care… just praising Him for who He is.  

Years ago I adopted the mantra “fasting from asking”, my prayers before that were mainly begging & pleading w/ God, in other words “seeking His hand not His face”. Now, I'm just enjoying Him & all His blessings in my life.

Once a week I try to sit in silence before God: no praying in the Spirit, no talking, no nothing. I just turn everything off & sit there in silence, enjoying His presence & waiting on Him.

I remember one time about 8 years ago when I took over corporate prayer on a Wednesday evening at my fellowship. I turned off all the lights except for the candles, closed all the sanctuary doors & posted on the outside of each door explaining that this night only we'll be sitting in silence for about 45 – 60 minutes, then we'll gather up front & share. I had people come & go but it was dead silence in there for that time & afterward the sharing was so powerful:
  • Some said they had never disciplined themselves like that before & they felt God's presence to the point of almost shaking
  • Others said it was like God wrapped His arms around them & they never felt such intense love & acceptance
  • Still others never realized just how much they dominated their personal prayer time
  • Others received such incredible clarity & direction for their lives all because they were silent…

I'll never forget that night, it was the night I realized the value of what the Psalmist sang, “in silence my soul waits for You”.

All these things may or may not help you, if you feel led then give them a try.