All posts filed under: Playlists

When Is The Right Time For Christmas Music?

Every year around this time the same thing happens.  Social media blows up with multiple rants. “It’s not right!” “It’s too early” “Why does it keep happening earlier and earlier every year!?” The age-old fight about Christmas music. Seriously, though, when are we supposed to start playing it?  Can we start when Christmas decorations hit the store shelves? Can we start when the weather cools down?  Do we have to wait until after Thanksgiving or even until the first day of December? My opinion? I don’t care. Seriously, it doesn’t matter one bit to me. I personally love Christmas music. I have a playlist on my Google music app (honestly, I have two different Christmas playlists) and I start playing them the hint Christmas comes around. Think back to the first Christmas… Jesus was born, our Savior came in the flesh to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins.  What was the “Christmas music” to herald His arrival? John the Baptist. And there were some arguments about the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth as well …

Silence Broken with a Message of Freedom for You

These words meant everything. Zachariah was shaken, overwhelmed with fear when he saw the angel. But Gabriel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zachariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son… He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” (Luke 1:13,17) Many of us know now what the Israelites did not know then. During this time, the Israelites were under the authority of the Roman Government. They were not a free nation. The goal of the Roman government was to suppress and destabilize the nation of Israel, sending it into obscurity. Rome had been responsible for the final destruction of the Temple and the burning down of Jerusalem.  The Israelites believed from the line of David, a Jewish Patriotic King would rise from the downfall of the Jews, lead a revolution to overthrow the …

Four Shrewd Money Principles For Peace

Growing up, my mom was a high school teacher and my dad was an AT&T accountant. Not only was my mom going to make sure my grades were stellar, but my dad was also going to make sure my finances and spending habits were on point. I believe what I learned from my parents is why I never worry about money. Never! I want to share a few of those lessons with you and hope they help your wallet and worry as we enter into this holiday season. Don’t spend what you don’t have. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked back and forth, pacing isles with items in my arms, debating whether I can buy it or not. I do this often at Robinson’s Overstock. If you walk in there on a Friday and see me, chances are I am going through this routine. I talk myself out of purchases all the time. I walk around the store with arms full and then as I head to the check-out, I start putting things …

Meditating on the Goodness of God

Over the past few years, I have been greatly influenced and impacted by corporate worship through song. Whether it be with my church body, other believers at a conference, in the car by myself, or in the living room with my wife, I have come to love singing songs to the Lord. Psalm 96:1-2 says, “Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.” This Sunday, November 5, we’re singing a new song! We’ll also be singing a song that has become one of my favorites— King of My Heart. Through this song, we meditate on the goodness of our God. We meditate on the fact that God is our provider and sustainer— we are utterly dependent upon Him. I particularly like the bridge of this song, which repeats, “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.” These are such sweet words to meditate on if we truly understand them. These words are like honey to our …

First Give To God What is His

The Bible is filled with practical wisdom for life; nuggets of wisdom that can be mined from the Scripture to help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, ESV). The book of Proverbs is a treasure house of “get smart” lessons about life. Jesus packed the Sermon on the Mount with such lessons: be careful about the foundation on which you build your life house—it makes the difference between prosperity and disaster (Matthew 7:24-27); you better be careful about your criticism of others—it’ll come back to bite you (7:1-2); settle your differences quickly—if it gets to court you’ll pay through the nose (5:25-26). Now that’s about as practical as you can get! And probably any kid in our 456 program can understand it. There’s another area of life about which God knows we need practical, elementary teaching: the way we deal with our treasures on this earth. So He gives us the principle of “first fruits.” In the Old Testament, God’s people offered the first fruits of the harvest as an acknowledgment that …

Revisiting What the Time of Remembrance Represents

The night before Jesus was to endure suffering and humiliation for all of mankind, He sat down with His disciples to share in the Passover (Pesach). This is one of three major holidays in Jewish customs. The Passover is to remember what God did for the children of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. Its purpose is to remind the Israelites of the final plague when the angel of death passed over their firstborn and cemented their release from captivity from the Pharaoh (see Exodus 12). During Passover, Jesus took a loaf of bread and gave thanks to God. When He broke the bread, Jesus said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Then He took a cup of wine and said “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people — an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:19-20). After they finished eating, they sang a hymn and then went out into the …

Taming the Destructive Fire of Your Tongue

-written by J.J. Cole A single wooden match weighs .15 grams. It is so light, that its weight cannot even be felt. It produces a small spark and flame, that can easily be pinched out with our fingers.  Nevertheless, when not respected, it can produce a monster that will destroy and even take human life. In 2016 a single spark resulted in 14 lives lost and 10,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains to be engulfed in flames, including significant portions of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  A place with several decades of investment and effort that so many of us have visited laid in waste.  But, thanks to resilience placed in the human heart by God, rebuilding is happening. James 3:6 tells us that “the tongue is a flame of fire.” It goes on to explain in descriptive detail that it can “set your whole life on fire.” Basically, James 3:3-10 sternly warns us to respect the tongue, for at its core it is a match. Today, James may have included our fingertips as we …

Question and Grow in the Face of Troubles

Three hurricanes. An earthquake. A collapsed elementary school where 20 children were lost. Hundreds killed, thousands left homeless. Why God? It seems the past several weeks have been filled with nothing but tragedy after tragedy. And, the one question I keep hearing asked and keep seeing posted in social media is, “If God exists then how could He allow these things to happen?” To the unbeliever, I think this is the most difficult question to answer. I often respond with that we cannot try to understand and explain the infinite with a mind that is finite. We cannot attempt to understand the ways of God because His ways are not like our ways. But for the believer, as Jesus and James remind us in their letters, to choose a life of belief is not to choose a life free of pain. The Psalmist says, “The righteous person faces many troubles…” But, it also says, “but the Lord comes to the rescue each time” (Psalms 34:19). Times that bring great pain and seem to defy explanation test our faith. When …

Parenting Every Day With the Mercy of Christ

So, we’ve been going over “adulting” the past few weeks.  I’ll be honest there are times that I still don’t see myself as an adult.  Yes, I have a job, I’m married, and I have children.  By most standards, I am considered an adult.  But then there are times that this quote rings true: That horrifying moment when you’re looking for an adult but you realize that you are an adult.  So you look around for an older adult.  An adultier adult.  Someone better at adulting than you. And, let’s be honest, nothing is better at pointing out your “adulting” faults than children.  You start off with very good intentions. Okay kids it’s time to clean up your toys and get ready to go to bed. *30 minutes pass* Guys, really please clean up. *15 minutes pass* (now in Batman voice) I’m the father you need, not the one you deserve right now.  Clean your room in 2.7 minutes or I will throw everything you own away. Adulting, in general, is hard. Adulting as a …

It’s Not All About The Benjamins

Even when we aren’t talking about money, we often talk about money: As good as gold Another day another dollar Gold digger Made of money Money doesn’t grow on trees Worth its weight in gold I was struck by this the other day when I read a passage of scripture, ironically not about money. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have.  For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” – Hebrews 13: 5-6 “How is this not about money?  It literally says, ‘Don’t love money’ in the text.” I’ll give you that, but the passage isn’t about money. I had never noticed how the writer of Hebrews had used money as the hook to draw the reader into a deeper discussion.  Yes absolutely, don’t love money, but not because money is bad.  Not because God doesn’t want you to have money.  The writer isn’t …