Friday, June 27, 2008

My Favorite Rap Song

I'm not a big fan of rap and hip-hop. I can handle it from time to time, but I don't like a steady diet of it. My 5 year old on the other hand, really digs it. Actually, from a very early age he would groove to the sounds of hip-hop when he would accompany my wife and I to youth events when we served as youth pastors. I'm telling you he could really groove. I would make comments about not knowing where he got his moves because mommy and daddy sure couldn't move like that.

Anyway, we bought him a Toby Mac CD for Christmas and he listens to it a lot. Then this week his cousin let him borrow his Toby Mac DVD. Needless to say the the better part of this week, he's been "boomin' out the stereo system, cause we rock in stereo." At least that's what I think the words are as best I can make out.

Of course, whatever he's listening to, his little brother joins in. Usually we find them in their bedroom complete with a rap singer hoodies on their heads, and some type of microphone thingy in their hand. Pretty much anything can pass for a microphone as long as they can hold it in their hands. After listening to that music for a while, our house becomes a stage for this up and coming hip-hop duo.

The other night while I was in the living room I was entertained by the hip-hop sounds of my two little ones. Somewhere in all their music mix I could make out "Come on, Come on, Come on," "Honor and Power and Praise," "Your Grace Is Enough," "Singing, Rain Down,""I Was Meant To Love You." How they put that together in one rap tune I don't know, but I have to admit it has to be my favorite rap song. And believe it or not, I think I could handle a steady diet of that.

But, then again isn't that the way it goes? Even though I'm not all that much into that style of music, I'm definitely into my boys. Believe it or not, I've even been known to join them, with fake mic in hand and hoodie on my head. It's just one of those things where I think I would do anything just to hang out with my boys and bond with them.

Hmm, I wonder if that's the way God is with us? I kinda think so. I think that whatever song we sing, just so happens to be his favorite song. And I think that he'll do whatever it takes to spend time with us and bond with us.

By the way, just like they knew what I was writing, my two boys have just come into the room and cranked up Toby Mac. So, I've got to wrap it up cuz I got to join my boyz and "Turn on, turn on, the ig-ni-tion!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lessons From The Buried Treasure Of The One-Eyed Pirate

I can't recall the pirate's name I used, but I do remember he was a one-eyed pirate and that's all that really matters. A few weeks ago, my sons and I embarked on a treasure hunt. I was sitting at home one day trying to think of a fun adventurous thing to do, when I remembered an idea my niece and nephew gave me about something their dad used to do when they were younger. A treasure hunt. So, I got up and got busy writing riddles, drawing maps, and hiding them throughout the house, garage, attic, and cars. Of course I had to get a treasure together and bury it in the back yard to make the adventure complete.

I don't want to brag, but I have to admit it was one of my better father/son adventure ideas I've had. I sat down with my two boys and began telling them about the pirate One-Eyed (Billy, Willie, Wally) or some made up name like that. Most people don't know it but he actually use to visit Conroe way back in the time period when pirates were sailing the ocean and raiding ships. Ok, so Conroe's a good 90 miles or so from the coast, but the story works good with boys 5 and 2. Now my 2 year old had no real idea what we were doing, but he sure had a blast running through the house with us and digging with his plastic shovel.

We ran all over the place and found clues that only the One-Eyed pirate himself could have left behind. Until finally, we had found 2 pieces of a map that had been torn in two. When we pieced the map together we discovered that the One-Eyed pirate seemed to have buried a treasure in our back yard. We got out the shovels, hunted for the X and started digging. There it was just like the map had indicated.

Of course, we had to run in and tell mommy about the treasure we had found and after that get something cold to drink because it was something like 120 degrees outside. Ok, it was more like 90 but hey, I'm in story mode here. After the excitement of the hunt was over, things got back to normal and the rest of the day was just like any other. Oh, but the hunt was a blast. Even for me and I knew where everything was.

It reminded me of times when I was a kid. Times when me along with others would head out in discovery mode and head off into the great unknown. There was that time when I went into the attic when I couldn't have been more than 6 or 7. I went up with a friend looking for bats that someone had told me lived in attics. I didn't find bats but I did discover that drywall doesn't do too well at holding up a young adventurous boy walking around in the attic. Fortunately, nothing broke when I fell through and hit the ground.

I loved that kind of stuff! No, I didn't enjoy the pain of the fall, but the adrenaline rush of stepping into a dark attic where bats might be, was awesome. I'm sure had I found bats, I would have fallen out of the attic trying to run from them. Here's my point. I think we were wired that way on purpose. Not just to run around looking for make believe treasures or bats that aren't really there. God wired us to get a thrill out of the process of discovering him. He longs for us to enjoy this journey of discovery that we are on concerning him. Of course, that journey is a bit dangerous at times. Times when we go through things that are beyond our control so that through it we can discover that part about Him that holds everything together. Then, there are those times when our trust in Him is stretched to the limit and find ourselves running out of time only to find that part of Him that is never late. How about those times when everything around you makes no sense at all and in the middle of it you discover that part of Him that doesn't think the way you think.

Our journey of discovery is not always fun, but you can never say it's not exciting. Back in the days of Moses, there was an event that took place that left the children of Israel a bit scared of God. God's talking and the children of Israel see lighting bolts, and smoke, and they hear loud noises like thunder. They freak out a bit and tell Moses that they have no desire to communicate with God one-on-one. They tell him that they are completely ok with the idea of God talking to him and then Moses can just relay the message the them. Why? Because, it seemed a bit dangerous. Our continuous discovery of God can seem a bit dangerous at times, but it will always be rewarding. As we grow to know him more and more, he'll stretch us and challenge us. He'll address things in us that need addressing even though we don't want to go there. He'll cause us to step out of our comfort zone and step into areas we've never been.

As a kid, I loved that kind of stuff, but as I grow older I get more comfortable with where I am. The truth is, God will let us stay right where we are, but where is the adventure in that? I think its time for some of us to rediscover the joy of discovering the unknown things of God. I know I'm ready to go on a treasure hunt.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

God Is Here

I caught the movie, "Prince Caspian" last week. It was a pretty good flick for the most part. One thing that stuck with me, or actually I should say bugged me, was the absence of Aslan. Aslan of course in the writings of C.S. Lewis is a reflection of Christ. In this movie, I was a bit bothered by the fact that Aslan was nowhere to be found. Sure, he makes an entrance in the end, but throughout the movie, one is left wondering where he is and why isn't he there. You sit there thinking, "Doesn't he care?""Why has he left these Narnians on their own?"

I'm not a movie critic and I don't intend to discuss how this movie did a poor job of transferring Lewis's writings to the big screen. The point I want to make is that unlike the movie, we have a creator who hasn't left us. Although, there are times when we can't feel him, perceive him, or see evidence of him, he is here. He is always here. Whether we feel him or not, he's here. Those who live life driven by their senses, struggle when their senses don't sense him. Scripture tells us though that we are to live by faith, not by sight. It takes faith to pray when you "feel" your prayers are reaching no higher than your ceiling. It takes faith to love others when your "feelings" have been hurt. It takes faith to trust God when you "feel" like he's not there. It takes faith to continue on the path God put you on when you "feel" like quitting.

God is here regardless of what we think or feel. Believe it or not, when a tsunami hits or a hurricane hits, or tornadoes hit, or an earthquake hits, he is here. I'm not saying he causes calamity in our life, just that when calamity hits, he's there. Bad things happen, its true, but God has not left us on our own to go at this life alone. He is here with us, walking through life with us. Of course, like the movie, he'll show up at the end. But, until the end, He is here!!!