Friday, July 10, 2009

I preached!

Last Sunday I had the wonderful opportunity to preach my second sermon ever. The pastor of my church here in Mexico City invited me to fill in for him while he was on vacation. It was my first sermon in an actual church and also my first sermon in English. I preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Here is an excerpt I thought I'd share:

"The wonderfully good news of the parable is that the Good Samaritan is Christ himself! This is the very heart of the gospel and it is what gives us any hope at all and all the hope in the world. If we are going to understand the hope and comfort that Christianity offers at all, we must understand that the gospel is a person. I work at the UNAM with a Christian ministry, and I talk with students all the time who are self-proclaimed “spiritual” people, but who are absolutely against the idea of Jesus as Savior. Maybe that’s where some of you are at this morning. I always try to explain to these students that, according to the Bible, and according to Jesus himself, there is no spirituality without the person of Christ. In other words, spirituality is a person. Religion is a person. And until we know the person of Jesus, we do not know God."

This is surely hard to believe

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

-William Cowper, 1774

O, that we would believe this!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Spurgeon on the "Black Words" of the Bible

I found this quite eloquent and enlightening.

"So the Lord doth add threatenings to commands; for sometimes a black word will drive a soul to Christ where a bright word would not draw it. Fears of hell sometimes make men flee to Jesus. The weary wing made the poor dove fly to the ark: and the thunderbolts of God's justice are only meant to make thee fly to Christ the Lord."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out Hollywood

Lately I've been reading almost exclusively a mix of books on marriage. It has been a great blessing to mine these books for gold and to think through the joys and the hardships of marriage. This morning I read the chapter on Submission in Mike Mason's The Mystery of Marriage and was blessed by this profound thought on love and marriage:

"To love is not just to view someone as the most wonderful person in the world or as some kind of saint. It is also to see all the weakness, the falseness and shoddiness, all the very worst in the loved one exposed--and then to be enabled, by the pure grace of God, not only to accept this person, but to accept in a deeper, more perfect way than was possible before. Love works for two people, in other words, the way faith works for one. For faith always begins with a frank recognition of one's own sinfulness (called repentance), which paradoxically opens up the way for greater self-acceptance through forgiveness. Similarly, before love can really begin to be love, it must face and forgive the very worst in the person loved.

In marriage, a wife's imperfections are not something a husband can afford to hold against her, but neither can he afford simply to overlook them. Rather he must bear them with her as part of his cross, just as she bears with him. To live with her in love is to experience at close quarters the way she herself struggles with her own humanness. Is such intimate and costly knowledge to be repaid with criticism? No, it can be answered only with tenderness and compassion and borne with a profound sadness that in turn makes room for more and more love. In this way, love not only falls from heaven but rises from the earth. Lo love is to be caught in the vortex of another's humanity, to spiral down and down into the murky, tragic tangles of the sinful flesh, where only pure love can go without being defiled. If hatred often consists in being repelled by mere impressions, by surface characteristics in other people who happen to rub us the wrong way, then love consists in seeing into the very center of the twistedness and sin and self-love that are in the heart of another person and yet not being repelled: holding on to the grace by which we ourselves are loved and finding in it the strength to descend with another into their darkest place. If we love other people for their saintliness, then we do not love at all. Love is wasted on saints. It is meant for the sinner."

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Pet Peeve

When a band/artist makes a music video using an acoustic guitar when the song is clearly dominated by electric guitar. (i.e. the new Kevin Devine video for "I Could Be With Anyone"). Highly disappointing, Kevin. Actually, this is a repeat for you. You did the same thing (only reversed) in "Me & My Friends". That's just shameful.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh John, You Had Me At Hello

This fascinates me. While I always knew that John Mayer was one of the most talented pop/rock artists on the main-stream scene(probably the most talented in my opinion), I don't think I ever realized the extent of his genius. I went to his site randomly today to see if a new record was in the works, and, I must say, I'm addicted to this organic, focused, creative project he has going on. If only more musicians were as concerned with being smart and genuine, I think music would be in a far different place.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Choose Your Poison

Found this killer site where you can hear recordings of any microphone you can imagine. The best part about it--you choose the instrument or even a male or female voice that you'd like to hear recorded. This is great for people like me who have limited resources as far as actually listening to the sounds these microphones capture in a studio environment. Looks like my search for an affordable microphone that is good for acoustic guitar and vocals isn't as limited as I thought. Check out this site!