Thursday, June 26, 2014

In Christ Alone

This is a recording from the audience, of our band the Loyal Strangers. I got the opportunity to lead this song.
Written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
What song do you love to worship Jesus with?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dear 13 year-old Courtney,

We need to talk. I know you really don't like reading but I wanted to share some wisdom with you. Mind you, I'm you only a couple years further down the line, so that should scare you enough to keep reading...

First off, DO NOT TRY TO PIERCE YOUR TONGUE BY YOURSELF AT YOUR FRIEND'S HOUSE! That's stupid! Just because a couple of rebellious thirteen year olds in a movie did it, does not mean you should try. It's going to hurt and you're going to pass out. Yeah, you pass right out when you look in the mirror and see that SEWING needle in your tongue! Need I mention it doesn't even work in the end. Please. Just don't.

Secondly, love your family. Yes, I called them your family. Despite everything that has happened, no amount of distance and ignoring them makes them any less your family. Take advantage of your placement with them now because you never know when they will choose to cut off all communication with you or worse, leave this earth forever. Cherish them.

Hey, slow down. Enjoy the ride. The point of all of this isn't to get to the end of the road. It's the journey. There's alot to look at, tons of memories, laughter, cakes, storms, flat-tires, emergency room visits, and alot of the people. Soak it all in. Let that Texas-Tornado, survival-mode mind of yours slow down and smell the flowers, because you're missing them! It's a beautiful world that the Lord has created for us to enjoy and develop. Yeah, it can be pretty painful and at times dreadfully heart-breaking, but all of that draws you closer to Him, in whom we find peace, comfort, and restoration.

Speaking of Him, I want to tell you something. 

(Oh, I know you think you know who I am talking about. You've heard His name and have heard stuff folks around you have said about him, but that doesn't mean you know him. I want to remind you of all the times you were misrepresented by things that people said about you and they based their entire opinion of you solely on hear-say. Pretty frustrating, right?! You really don't know a person until they have revealed themselves to you and actually spend some time allowing you to really get to know them. So, hear me out.) 

You're angry. I get it and it's okay to be angry. He's going to help you in that area, and one of the first things He is going to give you is forgiveness. Then He is going to tell you to give it to others, even the undeserving ones. I know that that is the last thing you want to give because it makes you feel weak and vulnerable, and truthfully you want everyone to pay for what they've done to you. Let Jesus, the creator of everything, be your vindicator and the judge.

Soon, sweet girl, you are going to realize that Jesus has given you forgiveness for everything. Yes, I said, forgiveness for everything. No, you did nothing to deserve it, actually you didn't deserve it at all. This forgiveness was driven, given, and initiated by Love. I want you to look up 1 John 4:8. Now, reread that last sentence.

God loves you.

This love is not like anything you have ever experienced. He cares for you. He was with you and wept with you as you went through what you did. You are His and He is yours. This makes no sense right now and that's okay, but soon after experiencing this for yourself, He is going to enable you to forgive the people you never thought you could. 

Courtney, you have been forgiven. You are loved. You are chosen. I know you may not think you need it right now because you're "a pretty good person," but you will soon see that you are in desperate need of a Savior and you need forgiveness. He is the source of all things and he gives it to you not based on your performance, but freely. Live for His glory. There is so much joy there. That is where your identity is found, in Jesus.

(You in 12 years.)