Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fav Albums

Just for fun and frivolity, I thought I'd mention some of my favorite recordings of all time. To name "all" the music that I enjoy would take me weeks. However, there are twelve to fifteen recordings that I enjoy to this day. So, here we go, with volume one. Maybe I'll list a volume two later. These listings are in no particular order.

Rod McKuen-At Carnegie Hall

Rod was one of the best known poets of his generation. He has written so many books it would be hard to list them all. Plus, his Carnegie Hall concert from 1969, to me, is a classic.

Peter Cetera-World Falling Down

Peter used a different producer on this CD. It's a bit more aggressive than some of his other ballad oriented offerings. There's not a bad song on this release. Still one of my favorites to this day.

Glenn Frey-Strange Weather

Glenn obviously is one of the lead singers of the Eagles. His solo performances are great as well. My fav from this CD has to be "Part Of Me, Part Of You." Good memories.

Elton John-Blue Moves

Elton said this is one of his best ever. I think so too. It's more artsy and not as commercial sounding. Plus, with the great composer James Newton Howard on it, you can't go wrong.

Jude Cole-Start The Car

Not many people know of Jude Cole. I first heard of him while driving too fast on a summer day (I mean, driving safely) down Mulford Road in Rockford Illinois when I first heard this great artist. This was and still is an all time favorite.

The Eagles-Greatest Hits

One of the best selling albums of all time. My favorite of all time has to be "Lyin' Eyes." Kind of lived through some of that song in a way. Brings back a lot of memories.

Well, that's it for today. Hopefully I'll get to volume two later. Be well.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Resurrection

"We are not preaching the Gospel of a dead Christ, but of a living Christ who sits exalted at the Father's right hand, and is living to save all who put their trust in Him...we are not pointing men to a dead Christ; we are preaching a living Christ. He lives exalted at God's right hand, and He 'saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.'"--H. A. Ironside

In other religions, their founders never rose from the dead. That's what makes Christianity so unique in itself. Jesus rose from the dead and is seated at the father's right hand. Also, what other belief system offers salvation without works, a salvation that is free to us but cost Jesus everything? Christianity is the one true belief system in the world. I'm glad that I know the truth and "that" truth sets men free! Since Jesus has been resurrected, those of us that believe in him, will be resurrected in the future to forever be with our Lord.

We don't serve dead idols, those made of stone or wood. We serve a "living" savior that can redeem mankind from their sins and give them eternal life. I'm glad that I've put my trust in the one true God (I John 5:20). He is worthy of our praise.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Tale Of Two Sons

My all time favorite passage of scripture comes from Luke 15. Of course we know it as the parable of the "prodigal son." Through the years I've always been amazed with what the prodigal son did. Also what he said he would do. He said he would return to his father and say "I have sinned against heaven and before you and I'm no longer worthy to be called your son." When the prodigal met up with the father, he said exactly that. The prodigal was serious about coming home to the father. There have been times that I have been so choked up by reading these words. For, I, too, at times, have been a prodigal. I'm so glad that the father was looking for me.

I'm reminded of the Benny Hester song, "When God Ran." It's probably the only time in scripture where is shows the father running to greet us. What a picture in itself. That God the father loves us so much that he would run to us!

Conversely, I think of the elder son. Bitter, cold, aloof and distant as the prodigal comes home. I always thought that the brother would have been happy that his sibling came home. Nada, no, zilch. He was self-righteous. I just cannot believe that the eldest would stand there and act that way.

I'm happy that this new book by John MacArthur has come into print. Sure, we could say, "Oh another book on the prodigal son." However, this book has a twist to it. One that I didn't see coming at all. John really hits home in this new release. It has different angles to it. One from the father's viewpoint, the other of the prodigal and that of the oldest son. It's a great read.

I know I've hammered home a lot about books lately. I'm trying not to turn this blog into a book review club! Ha. I guarantee you I'm not. It just happens that there have been good books I've read recently and wanted to share my experiences.

If you get a chance, pick up this book by MacArthur. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Haven't we all been prodigals at times? I know I have anyway. Be well all and have a great week!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Resurrection Freedom

Quote from the "Rabbi's Heartbeat": Apart from the risen Christ we live in a world without meaning, a world of shifting phenomena, a world of death, danger and darkness. A world of inexplicable futility. Nothing in interconnected. Nothing is worth doing for nothing endures. It is all sound and fury with no ultimate significance. (The Heart Of The World by Don Aelred Watkin.)

One of my favorite books is Brennan Manning's above titled release. I especially like it too as it was a gift from my friend Steve. The above quote is kind of sad, isn't it? I remember hearing an older preacher years ago saying that this world didn't make a lot of sense. He said the only way he could reconcile the way things are and the way they should be was in one statement. I remember it well. He said that he knew that someday God would right all the wrongs, and make all things right. That's the only way this world at times could make any sense to him. I couldn't agree with him more.

For anyone that knows anything of Brennan Manning, you'll know he speaks very much of the great love of God. I first heard about Brennan through one of my favorite Christian artists, Rich Mullins. My first book that I read was Brennan's "The Ragamuffin Gospel." An incredible book indeed.

Where would any of us be without the love of Christ? Now, there's a question with a lot of weight. All I know in this life is that I'm glad he loves me so. The paradox is apparent on the other hand. How does anyone get through life without knowing the love of Christ? What do they have to hope in? I've said this so many times and will continue to say it: I'm glad that I accepted God's wonderful grace so many years ago. Life can be difficult. However, since those of us that know him as Lord and Saviour we have that promise of someday being with him. True resurrection freedom.

I know I can get on a kick about certain books and music. I kind of get in a small rut at times. However, I don't recommend too many books as there are so many. I do recommend this one though. You can read it in one setting. Brennan Manning has a way of "clearing out the cobwebs" so we can have a better glimpse of the love of God.
May the peace and love of Christ be with you all.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Time Revisited

I was reading a couple of fellow blogger's posts about being younger and also of coming to Jesus from a Chris Rice song. Days when things seemed to be of innocence. Do you ever long for those days? I do. It got me to thinking about a previous post I did about a new Michael English song called "Time" from his new project. So, today I thought I would post it again. The lines of this song really get to me. God has given us life. I'm thankful through all my years that I accepted his wonderful grace at an early age. No, things in life aren't always easy. But, I know this much: I would rather go through the valleys with him than without him. So, today, enjoy a previous post and I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!


And all my days are numbered
All my steps are ordered
Every breath of every moment
I have now belongs to you
I belong to you

It all goes by so quickly. It seems like yesterday that I got my first bicycle. I even remember my first ballglove and my love of baseball. I remember the first time sitting behind the microphone of a radio station. The day I got married. The years of playing baseball, running, taking vacations and so much more. Plus some of the sorrows as well. My mother’s passing, relatives passing away, and now some of the problems I deal with.

The line of this song by Michael English called “Time” from his new CD coming out Tuesday hits home, “My steps are ordered.” This I do know: Jesus has been there through every step of the way. Even during my times of so-called self sufficiency, pride and self-reliance, it was still the Lord that provided any good gift that I experienced.

I’m no longer the kid running wildly through the fields of the old farm I lived on. But, inside, I know someday I’ll run, jump and dance in the presence of my Lord. Yes, all my days are numbered and all my steps are ordered. But that’s okay. Now, that I’m a bit older I lean on him more. He truly is all I can really trust and believe in for eternity. It says to remember the creator in the days of our youth. Now that I am older, I’m certainty glad that I did.

So listen to a clip of this new song "Time" that’s on Michael’s new release "The Prodigal Comes Home." All in all, Jesus is my everything. I wouldn’t have made it this far without him. I owe him everything. May the peace of Christ be with you all!

"Time" clip by Michael English

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Art Of Throwing Spears

One of my favorite books is "A Tale Of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards. It contrasts three lives. Saul, the first king who had the anointing and lost it; Absalom, David's son, who never had the anointing; and King David who was the anointed of God.

For those who remember the story well, Saul immediately took to David, at least in the beginning. David played music for Saul and he was comforted. But, as David grew in the Lord and people starting singing David's praises, Saul become envious and jealous. Saul, perceived David as a threat to his kingdom. So, he throws a spear at David.

David had choices. He could throw a spear back or dodge it and leave. He did the latter. Now, for a lesson a little closer home. Have you ever had someone throw a spear at you when all you were trying to do was the right thing? I'm sure you have been there. So have I. At those times, my human side wants to pick up the spear and throw it back. I believe we've all been thought that.

David had opportunities a couple of times to take Saul's life later on. He chose not to. What do we do in those times when we are attacked verbally and we know we are innocent? Do we attack in the same fashion? Sure, we can. But, I've found out it's better to refrain. It's not that we are weak. I think it's a sign of Godliness that we don't do it.

Sure, I've had my times in the past where I became a pretty good spear thrower. I was upset, felt justified in my retribution and thought God had let me down. However, through some hard lessons, it was better that I laid down my spear. God, my Lord, is the best one to compensate for actions that are done to me.

Here recently I had someone attack my intentions. Their manipulation didn't bode well with me. I had two choices. I could "get even" and attack them back verbally or I could give it to the Lord and allow him to handle it. Thankfully, I did just that. I prayed for that person. It was one of the hardest things to do. I asked God to forgive the individual for the mistreatment I had suffered at their hands. But, there was a peace that followed afterwards. Now, I hasten to add that I don't always have a hundred percent track record in this, but with the Lord's help, I endeavor to do his will.

I had mentioned to someone the other day that forgiving is, sometimes, one of the hardest things to do. Especially if you are attacked for no reason! However, it is a choice we make. It may be difficult to do it, but it brings about great rewards. I used the scriptures to pray for those that would "despitefully use me." Oh, I didn't want to pray for them at first. But, as a choice and obeying the Word, I did it. Did it automatically change that other person? No, it didn't. However that's not the reason we do it. It brings freedom to us and releases us from a prison we can put ourselves in. Also, it puts the other person in God's hands. The best place to put anything. We also are told in the book of Matthew to bless that other person.

David went on to become the King. Even though he had the chance to become an expert marksman and take out King Saul, he didn't. He could have been a master in the art of throwing spears. He chose not to. So, with us, we have the same choice. Sure, our carnal nature can kick in and we want to retaliate. But, the Lord is better equipped at taking care of those that have maligned us. We should never seek retribution. I don't want to have the art of throwing spears. It can have a boomerang effect, which I don't think any of us want. Also, when we pray, hopefully the other person will be affected by the grace of God.

Like love, forgivness is a choice. There are times we really have to pray that "our" will becomes aligned with "God's" will. It may be hard to do at times, but in the long run, it's the best place to be. That way, we can keep our accounts clear with God and walk in peace. If you haven't read Gene Edwards' book, I recommend it. Be well all.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Technology Overload

Ever since I was a kid I've been fond of electronics and gadgets. From my very first reel-to-reel-player, then my cassette recorder and then my red transistor radio. I've always loved technology. I remember the days of 8 track tapes, then cassette tapes and now CD is the norm. But, recently, I've become a bit weary of it all. No, I'd rather not go back to 33 1/3 rpm records and cassette tapes, I do love digital, but I wonder how much do we really need?

I was thumbing through my new edition of PC World magazine. It had articles on all the new plug ins, add ons, freeware, shareware, etc. There were articles on HDTV and the new items on the horizon. But, really, as I said, how much do we need?

Now this is coming from a guy that couldn't get enough of gadgets and electronics growing up. But, it seems that everything now is being amped up at an exponential rate. I'm no prophet, but I envisioned flash technology fifteen years ago. It's just now becoming the norm. Some laptops are starting to use flash technology for their hard drives. Which only makes sense since there's no moveable parts as in standard hard drives. But, I digress.

It's not uncommon to find digital cameras with more megapixels and firewire and USB which took over serial ports. By February 2009, TV will be all digital. Blu Ray technology makes movies clearer and sharper than ever before. But, again, where does it all end? I guess it doesn't.

I find myself, today, as a bewildered gadget guy. Maybe it's that I'm getting a bit older and I like to keep things simple. I'm happy if my digital camera produces a decent picture, if my mp3 cd will not skip in the car in-dash player, and if my DVD recorder will record "Lost" with out any digital problems. And, I'm thankful if my cell phone doesn't drop my calls!

Sure, high-def video at 1080 sure beats regular dvd. But, I'm not ready to scrap my old collection of videos. With my computer, I'm just happy if it boots up with no problems, if my applications don't freeze and I can get my email.

My friend Joel sometime back wrote an interesting post about over-tweaking. He was mentioning his online banking. It was simple before. But, the webmasters had to tweak this, then tweak that. Then he had to go through extra steps that he didn't have to before.

I'm not against technology. Yes, I'm still in favor of it as long as it's not to an extreme. Take automobiles for example. You have someone chatting on their cell phone, playing with their GPS system, tuning in their XM radio set and drinking coffee from their heated cup holder. They are protected by six air bags now, their car will parallel park on its own, Are they even watching the road at all?

Now for the spiritual lesson. With all this technology, I can see how it will be easy for the antichrist to take control during the tribulation. Big brother is watching and the enemy will use it for his advantage.

No, I'm not against my use of the computer, my cell phone, etc. But, all things in moderation I guess. Even with my computer use, I keep it "lean and mean." My little saying that says: I don't put useless games, programs and the like on it that just gums up the works. I believe in the old KISS method. Keep it simple Sherlock.

My final note is coming. Has all this technology made us better? We have Facebook, MySpace, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, ad infinitum. And...people are more lonelier than ever before. Here's an interesting fact, ninety-nine percent of blogs don't even get read! So, I just wrote to myself! Again, all things in moderation. I guess I have a love/hate relationship with it all anymore. However, I don't want to do without it, but I just want to keep it in perspective is all. Yes, technology can be good, but just keep it simple. Be well all.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Brett Favre Retires

I've been a Green Bay Packer fan ever since the Vince Lombardi days. Well, today is a sad day. I've enjoyed Brett's quarterbacking for years. So with mixed emotions I say goodbye to a great player. I enjoyed the years of his playing with my favorite team. Best wishes to a great quarterback! Thanks for the memories.