I Am Groot-Transition, New Beginnings, and Isaiah 6


 

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A few weeks ago at our orientation for GGBTS, Dr. Durst shared a devotional on Isaiah 6. He started from the beginning of the chapter-Isaiah’s vision of the Lord on the throne and Isaiah’s call to go and speak to the people of Israel on God’s behalf. The chapter is a familiar one to me and yet God still spoke a distinctly new thing to me through it. (side note: isn’t it amazing and wonderful to hear new things continually through the Word? I love it!)

I’d never really focused on the last verse of the chapter before. After volunteering to accept God’s call, Isaiah asks in verse 11 how long this mission to speak for the Lord is to last (which is a good question, although the timing brings to mind Merry and Pippen’s stunt in the movie version of The Fellowship of the Ring where they insist on accompanying Frodo with the Ring and only after being accepted say, “Great. Where are we going?”).

God’s answer is that Isaiah is to speak until judgement comes upon the people (v-11-12). This is probably not what Isaiah wanted to hear (although I have no way of knowing and this is just informed conjecture). I know if I were in Isaiah’s shoes (sandals?), what I’d want to hear from God would be more along the lines of “Until the whole nation repents and you are a national hero!” or “Until I call you to a different task” or even “Until you’ve faithfully obeyed me even though not many have repented.” But to hear the Lord effectively say “Obey my call until the nation is destroyed in judgement for its sins and taken into captivity and the land is mostly forsaken”? Wow…I don’t know how I’d react to that, honestly.

But, hard as the answer is, that’s not where God leaves things. He’s told Isaiah that it won’t be an easy ministry by any means and that there’s an incredibly hard transition coming, but his last words to Isaiah here leave him with hope:

And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump. -Isaiah 6:13

A remnant will remain. Even in his judgement on the people who have forsaken him, God will spare and preserve some. And from this stump will come new life! (Hence the Guardians of the Galaxy reference-sorry if that’s spoilers for any of you, but c’mon! It’s been out for quite a while now.) It’s hard not to think of God’s messianic promise in the midst of cursing the snake in Genesis 3:15 that Eve’s offspring (literally seed in Hebrew) will crush the serpent’s offspring under his heel. From this remnant comes a Messiah.

God’s promises have not failed, his purposes have not been thwarted. He remains faithful. post-tbird

What a joy and comfort to know that God is a God who-even in the midst of judgement and punishment- is in the business of fresh starts, new life, restoration, and reconciliation for his chosen people. New life from the ashes of the stump.

Monday Morning Music- “The Times They Are A Changin'”


Things are about to get a bit crazier around these parts. We’re moving this week and classes for me start next monday! It’s important to me that this blog stays a priority but it’s almost unavoidable that I’ll have less time to give to it (at least for a while). I’m finally getting excited about all this change but also know that it has the potential to not be easy. But when everything else is changing, I’m thankful that God stays the same and that we can count on him. He is our Rock, in whom there is “no variation or shadow cast by turning” (James 1:17, HCSB). Thank God (literally) for that!

 

ReBlog: Why You Settle For Less via Storyline


*Photo Credit: bark, Creative Commons
*Photo Credit: bark, Creative Commons

About a month ago in a post titled “Why You Settle For Less When You Know There’s Better” on the Storyline Blog, Cadence Turpin shared a simple story about a man and a maple tree. It’s stuck with me since then because it deals with a topic and some questions that I’ve been asking during our transition from the past season of our life into the next one: dealing with necessary change.

How many times have I been afraid to let go of a relationship, job or opportunity because it felt hard and I wasn’t sure if God was going to really provide something better?

The answer (for me at least) is many, many times. Change isn’t always fun. Or easy. Or exciting. But there are lessons to be learned in the midst of it. One I’ve been reminded of and learning in a deeper way is the truth in Isaiah 26:3-4:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

God is faithful. HE won’t change. He’s our sure foundation in the middle of all else. And that’s the first step: trust him. The rest will follow.

You can (and should!) read the original post here: Storyline Blog.

For those that read the article and/or have put some thought into dealing with change: what are your thoughts? Any insights or lessons learned?

All Wars, Even Civil Wars, Must End


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Well today seems to not be a great day for bands I loved in 2012. First there’s the news (not a surprise, since they’ve been on hiatus for a few years at this point) that Joy Williams and John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars, have officially parted ways. From the statement on their website:

Joy Williams comments, “I am saddened and disappointed by the ending of this duo, to say the very least. JP is a tremendous musician, and I will always be grateful for the music we were able to create together… I’m so thankful and my heart is full. Looking ahead, I’m excited to share the music that I am writing and recording in the midst of this difficult transition. I’ve loved being back in the studio, and have missed performing live. I look forward to seeing you soon.” John Paul adds, “I would like to express sincere thanks to all who were a part of the arc of The Civil Wars—from the beginning, to the end, and all points in between. My deep appreciation goes out to all who supported, disseminated, and enjoyed the music. Whatever shape or form the next chapter takes, thanks for being a large part of this one.”

The only thing that makes this bittersweet (as opposed to just bitter) is that they have a version of “You Are My Sunshine” available for download that was previously unreleased for download in the US.

As if that weren’t enough, it seems that Gungor has been making some waves of their own for their shifting theology. World magazine reported on it a few days ago, but the gist of it is that Michael Gungor no longer believes in certain portions of Scripture, among them a literal Adam and Noah (which he compares to Santa Claus) and God being our Father and not our mother. Rather than commenting too much on it myself, I’ll just link to two articles that treat the issue more fully: the first one here and the second one here.

Both of these stories leave me wishing the outcomes had been different, albeit for different reasons. And who knows? Maybe this isn’t the final word for one or both of the bands. But it seems to be just another reminder that nothing here is permanent and of the importance of enjoying where God has us for now while expecting change in the future.

Endings and Beginnings


For a few months now I’ve been toying with the idea of reactivating my previous blog. It’s been nine or so months since my last update there, which was itself an attempt to reactivate that blog after five months of dormancy. But thinking about it and thinking about it some more has only led to inaction rather than in action. I couldn’t nail down all the reasons that I’m conflicted-desiring to write and create/curate but not actually doing anything about it. But last night, I think I finally made some progress.

The reason I haven’t reactivated my old blog boils down to this: I currently find myself at the end of one particular season of life and at the beginning of another. The particulars are still in flux and I’ll share them at a later point. But my previous blog is a specific product of the previous season of life that I was in. It’s always been more worship/music focused and while that is still a part of who I am today…it isn’t wholly representative. And that’s my desire: a blog that is more holistic and that folds aspects of those previous seasons of life together with aspects of this upcoming one.

That’s where this new blog comes in: a new blog for a new season. I’m not sure exactly how committed I am to the idea in general and this blog in particular, which is why I’ve gone with an option where I don’t have to get my own domain BUT have the option to in the future. Goodbye Blogger. Hello WordPress.

So stay tuned. I’ll still share thoughts on worship and new songs that I’m currently digging. However, current events, personal updates, theological musings, and more will join those thoughts. I’m excited for the journey and to share it in some small way too.