I Looked in the Pages

Lyrics to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman come to mind.

“These are the places I was sure I’d find Him I looked in the pages and I looked down on my knees.” Sometimes He comes in the Clouds – Steven Curtis Chapman

I was preparing music for Sunday worship. The readings were about prayer and being attentive in prayer. I recently heard wise words about recognizing “heavenly interruptions” and read about the need to take time, not only to pray but also to listen.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

Song selection took some heavenly nudges to pluck my heartstrings, but it finally came into focus. Then came the question of a special selection. Something that would fit the sermon or just something that God needed to be said. Then, news that a family friend earned her angel wings, so the planning for her life celebration service began (I prefer not to call them funerals). More songs to prepare, but still not settled on the song for Sunday.

I looked through the pages and I looked down on my knees. I pulled out one of my songs from 2008 called “Million Promises” and the lyrics hit me as they did 10+ years ago.

“You said that we should approach the throne in confidence
but my eyes so full of tears I just can’t see”

Life has been coming at me hard lately, so that rang true.

“All I know to do is put my trust in You   Open up my heart and just believe.”


“I’d trade a million promises,  for one that I can keep
‘cause when it comes to sacrifice, my will is much too weak
When what I was has come and gone, and I’m left with what I am
Just a heart, a soul, one spirit Lord, is entrusted in Your hands.”

Ten years ago, all I knew to do was trust. Ten years later, it is still all I know. In that span, I am still weak; I have gained a few more worry lines, a few pounds and a gray hair or two (or more). I hope that I have gained a bit more wisdom, a bit more patience, and a lot more grace.

I am still trusting, still looking through the pages and still looking down on my knees.
And always Blessed in Great Measure

If you are at our church this Sunday, you probably will hear “Million Promises” (unless the Spirit moves me elsewhere).

If not, you can listen to it or some of my other musical offerings here: Million Promises

Listen to “Sometimes He Comes in the Clouds” by Steven Curtis Chapman here:


Keep the Change

coins-in-the-waterRecently our office staff went through a change. It happens. Change may seem inevitable, but not all change. As we age, our human eyes grow weak and hopefully our spiritual eyes grow stronger in faith and wisdom. For some of us, our hair changes. It either turns grey or turns loose. Our hearts change as seasons of emptiness and fulfillment run their courses. But what about our soul?

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matthew 3:1-3

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11

To repent is to show remorse or regret for something you have done, or have not done. Saying “My Bad” is just not good enough. To truly repent is to feel enough regret to change directions, never to go back again. A lofty goal which we will never fully achieve until we sit at Jesus’ feet.

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song called “The Change”. It talks about letters on a bracelet, bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets. “But if God really lives inside of me, I’m gonna live life differently.”
“What about a life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change.”

Not fully changed, but a work in progress. John baptized with water for repentance and forgiveness. The baptized rose out of the Jordan River refreshed and clean, but truly changed? Or just changed for now.

I had a friend who was excited about being baptized in his church, and rightfully so.  The day was coming up as soon as the church could schedule it. At lunch that day, I flicked water at him and said “Why wait?” He was pretty disgusted with me for making light of it. I did not intend to cheapen this event, but I believe that if you are ready to be washed clean and baptized inside, don’t wait for someone to work you into their schedule. Make the change now. The church ceremony is a simply a celebration of the change in you that has already happened. But it’s not just taking a dunk in the baptismal tank, (or just a sprinkle on the head), it’s about really changing and “keeping the change”.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19

And while it seems that everything will change, there is One who never changes.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Our heavenly Father loves us.
That does not change.

What should change is our hearts, to love others as He loves us.

And when that change happens,
“Keep the Change”

And be Blessed in Great Measure


Listen to Steven Curtis Chapman’s “music here.“The Change” or “The Change Live”

Quo Vadis – Where Are You Going?

A Latin phrase meaning “Where are you going?” Its modern usage is attributed to a passage from early Christian writings called “The Acts of Peter.” Upon the urging of his friends, Peter leaves Rome to avoid being captured and killed. As he was leaving, he saw a risen Jesus returning to Rome. Peter said, “Domine Quo Vadis” or “Where are you going, Lord?” Jesus replied that He was returning to Rome to be crucified again. When Peter realized that his life was being asked of him, he returned to Rome instead, joyous that he had been deemed worthy to be martyred.

In searching for the definition of this Latin phrase, one of the links asked. “What made you search for this?” Allow me to start at the caboose and work my way to the steam engine of this train of thought.

There is an episode of M*A*S*H, called “Quo Vadis Captain Chandler”, where a bombardier came to the hospital and believed he was Jesus Christ. The psychiatrist explained that something in this soldier had changed. He realized he was not a killer, he was Christ. The soldier said he didn’t know this Captain Chandler, but he hoped they could find him and help him. So much truth in that.

What brought this to mind, was a discussion that Dr. Freedman had with “Jesus”. The psychiatrist asked if God answers all prayers. Captain Chandler as “Jesus” said, with tears in his eyes, “Yes, but sometimes the answer is no”.

I was pondering why certain prayers seem to go unanswered in this age of instant gratification, fast food and movies on demand. I once heard that there are two answers to prayer: “Yes” and “No, but wait, I have a better idea.” Yet this morning, as I held an electronic wealth of information in the palm of my hand, a quote came through social media that changed my perspective.

“When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘No answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.” C.S. Lewis.

It’s not just “No and be patient”, it’s more like a loving look saying, “Be at peace, my child. You don’t understand what I am doing in your life right now.” A comforting thought when I am a bit disappointed that things have not happened on my terms.

As I considered the whispers floating around in my brain, another reinforcing hint came to mind. Many times, God has spoken to me through the talents of Steven Curtis Chapman and today was no different. His song “Higher Ways” is a sobering reminder that the ways of God are not like our own. It is based on a passage from Isaiah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

So I don’t always understand, and that’s okay . . . for now.

This train seems to be all over the track, so when does it finally pull into the station? Just as God is the Alpha and Omega, this journey ends where it began. “Quo Vadis”. Where am I going? Steven Curtis Chapman probably said it best:

“But until I’m with You I’ll be here with a heart that is true
And a soul that’s resting on      Your higher ways”

 Restless, but still resting on His higher ways.
And Blessed in Great Measure.