Beginning this month I will integrate my musical background into my entries. Most of these posts will also be featured on other worship and/or music related websites. Enjoy.
“In one ear and…..in the other!” Part 1
I’ve been at my current church since 2013 and during this time we have facilitated multiple upgrades such as new digital boards, projectors, mics, etc…. However, we recently embarked upon the addition/implementation of a total in-ear monitoring for all musicians and worship leaders which is a first for all 10 team members. To give the best and most complete picture of the magnitude of this undertaking I first need to give the scope of the environment and what we have and are learning through this.
Background: The church constructed a new multimillion-dollar sanctuary in the late 90’s after undergoing quick, significant growth. This growth was in part, due to the dynamic nature of the music program which was noted for it’s choir and the special programs (Christmas, Easter, etc…) which had an obvious connection to the construction and design. By that I mean the sanctuary was primarily designed for a Choir, Piano and Organ. “Canned” or “Tracked” music was the primary source of additional choir music so the speaker configuration was also designed to have a minor “fan” dispersion since the source of the music was very centralized. High, theatrical ceilings, wood floors, bare walls (for vocal acoustics) and an inclined seating floor all scream “Church!”.
As life in Southern Baptist church’s go, the worship leader who was there during that time eventually moved on and others would follow; each with their own musical persona and quirks. Some, very choir oriented and others a little more slanted toward a “band” feel. However, with all of the different personalities through the years, the overall aesthetics of the auditorium remained the same with wedges and little-to-no sound suppression enforcement. I should add that after the original worship pastor left, one of his successors hired a professional pianist who was over-qualified for the position and would eventually serve to be the central-point for the musical program. Her level of talent has attracted other, like-minded individuals which has brought us to this point.
Now, fast-forward to January 2017 when I meet with our very talented (and loud) band to say “I’m about to pull all wedges off stage and we will begin the implementation of a total in-ear monitoring system. This decision was not made with no thought nor research but even so, we have, and continue to experience challenges. Technical, financial, personnel, atmosphere; you name it, we have and are still pushing through this process. So allow me to share this journey and by doing so, maybe assist my fellow-musicians with the aversion of some of the not-so-great challenges of this implementation which I believe will be a great addition to this ministry.
In part two I will address one of the most crucial portions of any A/V upgrade: Funding.
Just Bobbing Around
Since we sold our larger sailboat, my primary transportion for the water is my Boston Whaler. Since I docked my boat downtown Knoxville at Volunteer Landing, I've had several opportunities to explore the upper end of the Tennessee River. My most memorable moment this year has been motoring up the the head of the Tennessee. This is where the Holston and French Broad Rivers collide to form the Mighty Tennessee River. It was so cool to just let my motor idle as I observed and took some qucik video. Enjoy this 10 seconds or so of my first encounter with the beginning of the TN River. As you can tell from my titles, it's a spiritual moment for me to encounter the beauty here in East TN.
It's Christmas....sort of.
In the world of church music, my seasons are usually six months ahead of most everyone else. I begin listening to Christmas music around the first of May and typically have the selections on order by the end of July/first of August. I'm a little behind this year as I've had a difficult time making a decision. It's similar to a low level of bondage as I drudge through the multiple options and build my three piles of Yes, No, Maybe. To add to my angst, this year the publishers have sent a substantial amount of GOOD music to choose from. I emphasize "good" because my experience has been most years are simply reiterations of the previous two or three year's offerings.
So, here I am with lots of great choices and time is running out. That's when I decided to break the chain of indecision and move towards the finality of deciding. To do so, I needed a boost that could only come from..........my boat!
Eventually, the owner of the Morgan 30 waved me over and gave me a tour of his boat. We spent about an hour getting to know each other and I learned of his dreams to sail away but his wife's health would prevent that from ever occurring. Afterwards, as I headed back out to my homeport I realized I'm spending an immense amount of time worrying about something that really won't be that impactful. What's more important is that I just go and "do" what it is I know I should which is pick from the best that I have now and enjoy the season; well, until Easter music begins to show up.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I can't express how fortunate I feel to live in an aquatic-rich community. Our home has a gorgeous view of Watts Bar Lake; Our church is within walking distance of Fort Loudon Lake; The lakes close to my parent's home are very clean for fishing and other associated sports. The marinas are plentiful and well equipped to handle most vessel types and sizes. No, we're not on the Atlantic but we can easily get there via air, road, and yes, boat.
Because of our affinity for the water, when asked where I would like to eat (special occasions) it's very rare for me to not pick a marina or restaurant on the water and this was no exception during the Memorial Day weekend. Just a 30 minute or so drive from our house is a marina that for years was "the place" on Watts Bar. Unfortunately, for some reason, the finances went awry and the once majestic and beautiful Euchee's Marina almost fell into ruin. However, now under new ownership, the marina is back open from my perspective, really kicking.
We recently visited their new restaurant which had a great meal choice and a view that was 2nd to none. I sat for at least an hour just staring at the lake and mountains. After dinner, we unloaded the bikes and rode around the campground and shoreline and then made our way to the snack shop/fuel dock to enjoy some ice-cream and cold water while a local band set up for the evening.
I do love to travel and visit new areas of the world but I would be remiss if I lived my life without enjoying and being thankful for what we have here at home.
No Fish Tail
So here's my disclaimer: I don't spin fish tales. The truth is much more fun and stranger!
I endeavor to fish 3-4 times per week. The great majority is from a bridge cat-walk, a boat slip or the embankment in front of our house. Most of the time I don't care what I catch.....as long as I catch something. Exception: Turtles, I hate trying to pan-fish when the turtles are around! Another interest for me is finding and capturing live bait to fish with. I have plenty of artificial lures but being able to cast-net a school of shad and then use the same to catch something else just reinforces my belief that our Heavenly Father truly does provide a complete ecosystem for us to survive in.
On this particular Wednesday evening, I walked to the boat launch and since most others were still at work, I was able to set up for a couple of hours of fun and maybe even dinner. As is my protocol, I walked the pier and the shoreline looking for shad and eventually snagged a couple to get started on my dual-hook rig. I aptly placed two bait fish on the rig cast out about 20 yards and allowed the line to drop to probably 20 feet. After standing there for 5 minutes or so, I decided to secure my rod and reel to the horn cleat so I could capture some more bait fish. I walked toward the shore and threw the net and as I was retrieving I noticed my rod was shuttering. I quickly ran to the reel, untied the line and just as I picked it up, the last of my line (clutch engaged) spun off.
Of course in the digital, narcissistic, social medial, driven age we now live, I immediately took a picture and "shared". From my perspective something as fun as this is too good to keep to myself and it also helps me remember even a simple trip to catch a fish or two can turn into a brisk walk back home to refill my reel with stronger and more line!
Money can't buy this.
For spring break this year, we took the family to one of our personal favorite spots, Isle of Palms. Admittedly, it's not my favorite beach and the costs associated with visiting the Charleston area are a little excessive for our budget but we got a pretty good deal on a condo on the beach with a roof-top patio so the sunrises were inspiring. Additionally, I fished twice a day and did well enough to feed five of us with some filets leftover for snacks, later. The fish were mainly Atlantic Croakies and not all that big but were fun to catch and after some creative sautéing, the taste was good.
The girls spent a good portion of their time in Charleston on carriage rides, shopping, sight-seeing, etc.... The entire family made a day of it on Thursday at the Aquarium, Hymans, Charleston Marina and Emmanuel AME Church (to pay our respects). However, with all of it's grandeur and history, my favorite portion of the entire trip was spent on a day when my son and I walked 7-8 miles together on the beach and eventually to Morgan Creek Grille (pictured above). Granted, we were tired by the end of the trip and my little boy's feet were aching from his shoes which had rubbed a blister on them but his expression of enjoyment due to getting to hang out with his Dad, alone was worth the pain my left knee later inflicted on me. At one point when we were shimming though the high-tide at a barrier, unprompted he said "Dad, I really love you and walking with you has been the best part of my trip."
My Dad (deceased 5 years) used to tell me how important it was for me to spend time with my son. "Don't replace time with things" he would say. I witnessed this in 2013 when I went through an unexpected job change. Even though the money went away, my time with him (my son) increased dramatically and that alone drove my decision to accept a position at a much lower pay-scale but a much higher family-time scale.
If you're reading this and are a parent, don't discount the time you spend with your child/children. Doing homework with them, piddling in the yard/garage with them, watching their favorite show or playing a video game with them; all are critically important moments they will never forget.
I close with a favorite memory of mine with my Dad. My Dad was very hard worker (i.e. most of his life was involved in factory work). Even when he wasn't at the factory, he was cutting wood, fixing cars, etc.... Like a lot of sons and Dads, we had our less than stellar moments but he invested in me and worked hard to provide. One night when he was away playing for a band, I accidentally allowed his spare tire from his truck to roll down hill and into a thicket which would be pretty tough to retrieve. My mom assured me Dad would kill me when he returned so I should say whatever prayers I could muster and go to bed. Life would soon be ending. However, Dad not only did not kill me, he sort of laughed it off and assured me he could retrieve the tire with little to no harm. Typically, Dad would have doled out some level of punishment but not this time. I never took the opportunity to ask him why so I'll just believe it was because he loved me.
1st Snow for 2016
Thankfully we didn’t receive the snow amounts our friends in the north encountered but even the small amounts of snow and ice did cause several days of no school. When coupled with the MLK holiday on Monday, 2.5 days of hanging out at home is what the kids got. My work schedule was affected but primarily because my appointments cancelled. However, I was able to get some things accomplished. One of the “niceties” of working from home is the ability and availability of a snowy walk by the river. I coupled this with a conversation with a friend in Brazil who repeatedly reminded me of the summer weather in Sao Paulo. Admittedly I would rather have 80 degrees instead of 25 but it could’ve been worse. #countmyblessings
We have lots of favorite places to visit but one of our heartfelt favorites is a little-known place called Dataw. Dataw Island is sandwiched in between Beaufort, SC and Hunting Island. This year’s visit was another wonderful memory created as we enjoyed a Low-Country meal, walked the docks and sat on the porch and relished the beautiful sky during sundown. The journey of life can offer some incredible detours. Dataw Island is definitely on our “keep” list.
So, I finally finished the Mueller autobiography which evolved into a nightly discussion/study with my son. This was very beneficial for him to hear of a man who lived the bulk of his life by faith. We had a brief stint of total reliance upon our Heavenly Father but nothing to the extent of George Mueller. Well worth the read.
Now we're into 2016 and of course with a new year comes new ambitions, changes, heartaches, etc... I stopped the resolution practice many years ago which makes the new year much less stressful. However, I still consider change. I'm learning as I grow older "change" is more constant than I probably realize but instead of fighting it, I'm working to embrace the good and avoid the bad. A great example of the good change is seen in the picture below.
I was winterizing my boat and for some reason looked upwards to see this huge bird gliding over our property. I had my binoculars in the forward lazaret and was amazed/overjoyed to confirm it was indeed a Bald Eagle. I have seen them on the lake a few miles down and up stream but never have I seen one directly over our house. I snapped the picture and tried to zoom in but the intermittant rays of sunshine prevented me from accuratley getting a better shot.
Bald Eagles, once again freely flying across our nation is definitely good change.
There is so much more.
I've taken a hiatus (again) from writing in lieu of starting a new book, "The Autobiography of George Muller". For those unaware of Muller, he was a preacher in the mid 1800's who established orphanages and Bible schools and funded them only by praying; never asking for money from men. The book is actually his journal entries and are at the very least, remarkable. Makes me ashamed of the few minutes a day (if that) that I pray. A common theme that seems to reoccur to me as I read is there's so much more to our relationship with Christ and this life but we probably only experience a very minimal fraction of such. Sort of like this picture I took while we were dining at Sweet Grass Restaurant on Dataw Island.
The sun was setting and no one was stirring much on the docks. I peered eastward toward Morgan island and the cut to the Atlantic which then leads to thousands of other places. However, for now, I'm here as are the boats in this picture and as long as I'm "here" the scenery won't change very much. Now bringing this thought toward prayer and truly seeking to live a life of prayer, as long as my prayer life is as shallow and non-engaging, the scenery for me will not change much. Psalm 66:18 is a good place for us to start.
I love to travel and we do so as often as our budget will allow. Even though we live on a major waterway, I almost always choose destinations centered around water (lakes, rivers, oceans). Not sure the allure other than my personal affinity and history of being around the liquid gold. My dad and grandfathers were all "water-centric" so I guess it's hereditary.
This year, our first non-local trip was to Charleston, SC. Certainly the news of Walter Scott and the AME Church shooting have resurrected my memory of the areas we visited and my personal love for the area. I hate that a historic and beautiful city such as Charleston has endured so much tragedy this year but I still say the city and those surrounding are very beautiful and worth visiting. Over the next few weeks, I hope to share some of my pictures, videos and thoughts, beginning with this one.
We took a tour of Fort Sumter and I noticed this Cross on the sandbar. I asked the captain if he knew the history and he did not so I'm appealing to my readers for more info. However in light of the aforementioned events, I do have a thought about the "Markers" in our lives. Charleston has a long and rich history of such as do most cities and people and as I've asked about this one, we probably need to acknowledge our own markers. Why do they exist? What significance do they have, if any? Did we learn and if so, then what? Will we repeat the same events which caused the marker to be placed there in the first place? If the marker had been there, would we have experienced the event and/or did we preserve someone else from that experience?
Obviously more questions than answers.
I'll close with this verse from the writings from Job. 28:28 "And to man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding."
Birds of a feather...
Sharing the Sun
I snapped this picture one evening in August as I was wrapping up a fishing trip on the lake in front of our house. I didn't think much of it at the time other than I liked the effect of the sun disappearing off the horizon. However, while we were in Charleston, I was admiring the sunset over the Ashley river area and this reminded me of the universality of our resources: Sun, Air, Water, etc.... I thought about the times I've been on the water and watched a plastic bottle or bag float by which has found its way into the "drink". I've heard of plastic universes which exist in the most remote parts of our oceans. It's a burr for me when I walk shorelines and find obvious, intentional pollution from whatever source; private or public. In fact, this week my wife sat on a bench in a park and watched me retrieve a complete tire and rim floating in the Clinch River. (It was a bit much for me to take home so I placed it on the grass hoping the local city workers will get it.) I hear the stories of the immense pollution in Rio where the 2016 Olympics are to be held and the issues many nations are raising regarding their concern for their competitive sailors.
With all of this I really contemplate the role I need to play in stewardship of the beautiful earth our Heavenly Father has placed in our care. Whether it's recycling, reusing, and in many cases refusing (use the same cup instead of constantly getting a new one for every cup of coffee/tea/etc...). With that in mind, here are a couple of ideas we have incorporated into our personal lives to minimize wastefulness.
1. Sailors Showers: Ever wonder how much water you waste during a shower? Try this: A. Turn on the water and wet your entire body. B. Turn off the water and then lather up. C. Turn on the water and rinse.
2. Use the same towel for drying. Think about it; you're drying your clean body with a towel so why not hang it up to dry for your next use.
3. Buy gallon jugs of Spring water and refill a portable water bottle instead of purchasing multiple, throwaway bottled waters.
4. I burn discarded papers in our fire pit (along with any dead wood I have) and by doing so, I eliminate the amount of garbage we discard to our local land-field. Be careful on the types of paper you burn as some contain plastic which is not good for the atmosphere nor your lungs.
I know there are many more ways to conserve and preserve so feel free to comment. I'm always looking for neat, new ways to do so.
Isle of Palms
We had a great trip to Isle of Palms this year. It's been several years since our last visit to the Charleston Area/Barrier Islands (10 or so) and it was pretty eye-opening to see the beach erosion. I know it's hard to see in this picture but if you can see where the wave appear to break farther out, this is a sandbar which is accessible during low-tide. I took a few picture of Dump Trucks driving out on the bar and being loaded by an earth (sand) mover and then driving a mile or so north on the beach and dumping the sand. I do recall on our last trip during one of my morning walks noticing the tide getting very close to the golf course but whether it's global warming, climate change, man-made erosion, there's definitely an issue on the island. Makes me wonder about St. Simons, Wadamalaw, Tybee, etc.... Regardless, I still enjoyed our brief time there and hope to return sooner than a decade later.
Getting this off my chest
"The Champion is your best friend." This is one of the many lines I'm hearing as I sit in a coffee shop and eavesdrop on some poor schmuck being bombarded by a couple of "20-Somethings" about their business and if he joins their team, "the sky's the limit", "unlimited potential", "lots of resources will be at your disposal". The banter reminds me the "rope-a-dope" Muhammad Ali used to dole out whereas he would just keep on pounding until his opponent either fell or quit. "Be sure to name-drop". (Sorry, as I'm hearing this fecal spew, I want to add it as a fun portion to my entry.) Although I can't purely say I've always had a disdain for self-promotion and a life of decadence, what I'm hearing now is almost the things Seinfeld would parody and it is worth me sitting here, freezing from the AC blowing on me and borderline starving....but I'm afraid to move as this is HILARIOUS. I almost want to go over and encourage the guy their talking at (certainly not talking to or with him) to run and don't look back. "We don't discount our services. We're worth our price." Atta girl.....go for the kill!
Okay, so let me pull back for a moment and rectify a couple of things. 1. I'm fine with capitalistic enthusiasm. I've done more than my share so to eschew other's efforts to better themselves would be the height of hypocrisy. 2. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 5:18 tells us it is good to enjoy the fruits of his labor which G-d gives us. Liking and being passionate about what you do to earn a living is fine, maybe even great. 3. Our days are numbered and we need to be aware of such so we don't waste what Our Heavenly Father has given us. This is a big one for me personally, as I'm most likely closer to my death than my birth. Got to make it count; More importantly, I must make "it" count for Him! Some will do so through ministry, others through plumbing, AMWAY, Krogers, etc.... 4. Finally, As I stare out the window and see the white clouds move eastward as the trees seem to wave goodbye to them, I sort of see my own life just slowly moving toward a setting sun which will harbor rest, peace and finality. Sounds morbid but as a Christian I'm really just getting closer to home. Until then I'll purpose my life for His Glory.....not mine.
This journey for us has been a good one in many respects. One of the most enjoyable portions of my time of transition has been the people Our Heavenly Father has placed in my path. One such person is a guy who left a significant income stream to dedicate himself to international missions. The difference in his story to me is he didn't leave the US to do so.....He and his family are reaching the international community in East Tennessee. He sold his home and scaled-down their lifestyle to self-fund the ministry. He sends a monthly newsletter with updates and financial transparency unlike any other missionary I've ever met.
I had the opportunity to speak with him via a teleconference and must say, his courage and confidence in the sustaining power of Jehovah Jireh far exceeds what I though I had. In essence, he and his family are taking the Bible literally and focusing only on the mission of spreading the gospel of Christ. His "cushy" income and corporate benefits are all a thing of the past. They rely on a part-time job he holds down while also ministering to those he believes needs to hear the Good News we have to share. Much like a lone sailboat with no engine, only sails, he and his family are waiting for the wind to blow and then utilizing what they have to make their way. That total reliance is very scary but I'll assure you when you're humbly seeking G-d's will, your reliance will become a passion you will not easily compromise.
If you would like to know more about him and his ministry, send me a message and I'll email his info to you.
Two for One
If you look closely at the picture there are two fish (largemouth bass) on one fishing lure. I've been fishing for over 40 years and I have caught two fish at once when I've had a rigging such as a two flies about 12 inches apart on the line but never 2 fish on the same lure at the same time. Of course I had to snap a picture and brag to some of my fishing liars.....uh I mean buddies. I released both and went back to casting to see if a much larger fish was interested in what these two were. No luck. Really didn't matter though as I had done something in my lifetime that very few (as far as I know) have ever done. There's a ton of similar circumstances in life were we have the chance to do something different than the majority but it doesn't seem like many people work to accomplish something worth remembering/sharing. Might be something we all need to considers.
Our family has been on a bit of roller-coaster with the job search, traveling to interviews, preparing the choir for Christmas, etc.... I've adjusted to not having a stable, daily clock to punch but I'v worked even harder to provide for my family and meet our financial obligations. Even though we've had to scale WAY back on our discretionary spending, Our Heavenly Father has supplied and sustained us in ways that can only be explained as divine. In a way, we've received a "Two-for-One" that we didn't expect, much like the two fish I caught. Since my job was eliminated I've been blessed to be with my son and wife much more than ever before; I've been able to relax and work at my passions and pace; I've had multiple days and nights to reflect on whether I really want to get back into the fray of this world's agenda or devote myself to His Kingdom in every area of my life...... Don't misunderstand: I'm still committed to earning a living for my family as that is a Biblical premise but we, as a family are reevaluating what our lifestyle needs to look like. Your prayers are appreciated and solicited.
Mark 6:47-52. Over the last few weeks I've spent a considerable amount of time on the subject of fear. I think it's easy to to be overcome by fear as I know plenty of stable, rational people who have expressed their concerns regarding ISIS, income, family, etc.... I'm no stranger to fear as a sailor, dad, husband, and so forth and I, like many of my Christian counterparts tend to migrate to the words from the prophet Isaiah (chapter 41) "fear not for I am with you..." but a statement or directive to not do something seems to become passé once we've heard it so often. A couple of things occurred last week that caused me to look more deeply into the issue of fear and what we can do to combat.
First, the situation:
A friend of mine called me wanting some sailing lessons for a 14 foot Barnett as well as assist him with rigging the vessel. I gladly accepted and jumped into the project with little regard to my friend's knowledge of boating, sailing, safety, my skills and so forth. So within a few minutes, I had the mast up, the outhaul, downhaul and running rigging all in place along with the other items needed. We hooked the trailer to his truck and drove less and 2/10ths of a mile to the launch. We got the boat in the water and I noticed some water in the cockpit, identified the source, bailed the water and tied off to the dock so we could prepare to hoist the main. During all of this, my friend was asking multiple questions regarding the rigging, the water in the cockpit, the possibility of a storm, how would we get to shore once we picked up the mooring and other questions which should have clued me into the fact that he wasn't knowledgeable and/or tenured on the water and therefore was somewhat apprehensive. As I began to realize what seemed to be happening, I then started to be more explicit with my explanations of what we were doing, how we would execute a gybe or tack and what the expected result should be. I spoke more about the good qualities of his purchase and how much fun this would be for him and his children. We made it to the ball, waded ashore (5ft depth) and then checked the boat the next morning and found all was well.
Now the lesson and Christ's example:
If you take the time to read the passage of scripture I listed to begin this entry (Mark 6:47-52), you'll notice a couple of similarities: boating and fear. Although these are central to the theme of this message, one thing really stood out to me which served as a massive reminder of how we can overcome fear. In verse 49 when the disciples saw Him, they "cried out", not because the knew it was Christ but because they thought He was a ghost and they were fearful. When they cried out, in verse 50, Christ acknowledged them and we know what happened thereafter. What's really interesting about this scripture is that in verse 48, the Bible says Christ saw them struggling and was coming toward them with the intention of passing them but when they saw him, they cried out and then he assisted. Does this mean Christ sees us in our turmoil? Yes. Does this mean He's waiting for us to cry out? Probably. Did Christ want them to feel the shock of seeing a ghost and then calm them? Maybe. Why would I answer these questions with a little ambiguity? Well, the last verse of this passage clues me to the intent. V52: "for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their hearts were hardened." The disciples had just witnessed a massive feeding of thousands from very little food and in verse 51 of this passage they were utterly astonished at the power of Christ. The lesson I've derived from this and multiple other passages in the Bible is we are not very adept at learning and practicing the truths in His word. Even when we say "I'll believe it when I see it" we really don't. The disciples are proof of this. However, I realize some who read this blog don't "buy" what Christianity is selling so I'm okay with saying I'm also in the camp of the disciples.....I've seen myself cry out in fear and experienced G-d's gracious supply to my need. I've been the person struggling in the middle of life's sea and when Christ's provision came, I didn't recognize it/him. I will admit, I'm a slow learner and need to record the times when I needed money for a bill or assistance to complete a task or wisdom on how to proceed with a situation and somehow the blessing came without me knowing how it was gonna get done.
For those who are Christ followers, here are some (not comprehensive) basic points we must grasp and practice. 1. Prayer is a conversation, not a petition of wants. We need to listen as much or more than we speak. 2. Scripture is critical to understanding who He is. 3. Nothing, and I mean Nothing, should ever leave our mouth, hands, heart without bathing it in prayer and sometimes fasting. 4. If He sends you out into the middle of the sea and you encounter turmoil, don't forget His past faithfulness. You may have to dig for it but I've definitely experienced it and can vouch for such. 5. Trust Him....You can! 6. Don't forget to cry out and don't ever be ashamed to do so.
So we arrived back home after our trip and have settled back into a reasonable routine. I expected the meetings I have this week and partially some of the other items that occurred but are not really worth mentioning. I knew I would be preparing for Christmas Music, two concerts on Saturday, Church on Sunday Morning, Labor Day Weekend, College Football (YES!!!!), sailing lessons for a friend and so forth. Then I received my standard, daily update from The Baptist Press that David Platt had been appointed to the International Mission Board as President. If you're not familiar with David, check out this link www.RadicaltheBook.com.
I watched some of the chatter online and the next day dug out my copy of his book which my wife and I purchased in 2011. I reviewed some of the things he wrote and then thought.....is Platt's ideology that "Radical" if we're true believers? The quick answer is "yes" if we're comparing his philosophy to the American Christianity Model but wasn't Christ a Jew? Hmmm.
Work and Priorities
Great question. My previous blog was owned by a company which unfortunately closed down due to lack of response and probably a strong competitive push from the bigger blog companies. Anyhow, I'm working on recovering the data.
So now I have the new website in the works and hopefully a better level of consistency.
Old Boats, Old Lives
As mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve been on the hunt for another boat. We had a 28.5 Irwin which we thoroughly enjoyed for several years until the recession forced me into some difficult choices. So, after countless hours of cleaning, repairing, refitting, etc…. I priced the boat and the first person to view put half down with the remainder to be tendered upon my delivery to his home. As bittersweet as that time was, I have sort of enjoyed being back in the market and have tromped around every marina from Key West to Charleston (not really but sure feels that way).
A couple of months ago I attended a boat show whereas Sailboats were totally absent but the owner of several area marinas was in attendance and happened to know of a potential freebie I might acquire. So with a handshake and a promise that I would follow-up, we parted ways and I began my online research about the Hunter 25.5. Approximately four weeks later I visited the marina and took a tour of the vessel. You can see by the pictures I’ve posted, it’s going to be a sizeable project to just get her sailable. The unexplainable listing to starboard; the leaning mast; the mold. When I went below, well let me say it this way: If I could turn the entire hull inside-out; totally submerge it into a sea of bleach, then maybe, just maybe it might be salvageable.
So I walked back up the slip and slowly made my way to the Harbormaster’s office. Truthfully, I was dreading the conversation as that boat was beyond rough. However, I will say I’ve seen worse and those who really dedicate themselves can make a diamond out of coal. To my surprise, the Harbormaster had left without saying goodbye which meant I would be able to “think” about this situation with greater discernment. I carefully placed my business card inside the screen door with a note that I would await his call to discuss.
There are multiple scripture passages I could use to make a spiritual point but I don’t think that’s the route I should go. Instead, I think it’s important to remind myself that when G-d saw me, he probably saw (and still sees) the imperfections in my life. My sins grieve Him so much He sent His Son to redeem me, if I’m willing to accept. It’s similar to when I’m sailing and the wind begins, I have choices: 1. Do nothing. 2. Hoist the Sails but try to sail against the wind. 3. Deny the wind exists even though I see the results. 4. Acknowledge the wind and its result but never really engage or know the wind. 5. Hoist and adjust the sails to move me in a way that no other resource can or does.
What I’m trying to say is even though we as humans seem to only look at the “bad” or “insurmountable” or the aggravation associated with cleaning someone else’s mess, G-d not only has the ability to look past what we are and see what we can be, He also has a Love we can’t understand. Why? Well, I’m still not clear on why He would love us so much but He does and in my simple faith I choose to accept that along with other things I don’t necessarily understand or can explain but do see the results of such. (Sort of like the wind, again: I can’t see the wind; only the results).
So I close with this scripture: Romans 5:8 “But G-d demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Easter week is, for those of us who believe in the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ, a very solemn yet joyous time. I enjoy the entirety of the week as so much occurs which totally changed the World's History. However, I will admit on Maundy Thursday I tend to sense an aurora of loneliness which seems parallel to what I've experienced when on our boat for an extend period of time, alone. I specifically remember this picture I took after a couple of days out by myself just "powering down". I was anchored in a cove just off the main channel and although there was a little traffic during the height of the day, I found myself sort of wishing one or two of them would come by and hang out for cup of coffee or otherwise just to break the silence of the previous day. Sort of odd that I felt that way given I took the solo trip (not really a voyage) to "get away from life's clutter". So, this morning when I came across this picture I went back and read Luke 22: 39-46. I landed on verse 43 which speaks of an Angel from Heaven appearing and strengthening Him. How awesome to think/realize the One who made all things and for whom all things were made, received an angelic encouragement during a very lonely and dreadful time. Why was it "lonely" for Jesus? Because He was the only one that could successfully carry out the Supreme Sacrifice required to atone for mine and your sins.
If you get the time, I would encourage listening to the the song: Via Dolorosa (http://youtu.be/7asEdmZsSPo). It's a great reminder of what had to be done to give us the option to live eternally with Him.
Peace Be Upon You and Your Family This Easter Season.
Periodic updates from our family.