Good Music

A big dream of mine that has been developing for a while is to create some really good music.  I was listening to a secular artist the other day, and I wondered to myself.  “Why can’t I make music this good?”  I quickly checked myself.  The truth was, the song was not good.  Not in a righteous kind of way.  Truthfully, it was effective.  The song did was music was supposed to do: open up the heart and reveal things, stir up the soul, set it in motion.  That secular song was greatly moving, but in a depressing way.  It wasn’t good.  It didn’t fill me with hope or life.  It didn’t draw me closer to God.

I want the best.  I want good music.  I believe that music can absolutely be well-produced, well-written and filled with holiness all at the same time.  It doesn’t have to be a “Christian” copy of some secular trend.  It doesn’t even have to be popular, but it has to be powerful.

Creativity is an incredible gift that is so often wasted.  I hope to live a life that calls out, with clarity and excellence, the pure songs of my heart.  I want to inspire the people around me to do the same!  We won’t write music glorifying selfishness or pride or promiscuity.  We have been destined to glorify our Creator by doing the same thing He does: creating beautiful things.

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”–Psalm 92:1

Dreaming of Revival

For two of the past five nights, I’ve had dreams of revival.  I’m not sure exactly 100% what that means, but I’m going with the obvious for now; revival is coming.  I need to get ready.

A few days ago, I started reading this classic lecture series by Charles Finney.  It’s just something I was led to do.  Anyway, it’s just blowing me away with its insight.  Back in 1835, the Church in America had the same exact problems that it does now: complacency, unbelief and a tragically skewed view of God’s sovereignty.  But our God today is the same God who sent the Second Great Awakening.  We can have the same faith in Him Whose goodness lasts forever!

That’s ultimately what I think these dreams are for: evidence for my prayers of faith to reference.  The Spirit is stirring this desire inside me, this desire to see a city turned to God.  Can Capitol Hill meet the Lord face-to-face?  God is certainly great enough to make it happen.  Will I have the faith to ask Him for this great blessing?  I know I will, as long as He lives and His Word remains in my heart and on my lips.

“Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.  Selah“–Psalm 24:6

Of Dreams

No more games
Memorize these Names

I play the blues to see where the Spirit’s moving
Dirt is the carrier of gold

Rolling down an incline to find the master at the base
I’ve experienced Forgiveness and found Him to be Good

We’re not renters; we’re sons

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols”–1 John 5:21

Simplify

A few nights back, I had a pretty strange dream.  It was about two brothers and their friend.  When they were young boys, the three found themselves in a dark dungeon/maze-like place.  On the walls were many symbols, the keys to a puzzle in the middle of the room.  Upon completing the puzzle, two big doors would open to the exit, and they all would be free.  The only problem was, the puzzle was unsolvable.  There weren’t enough symbols to complete it.  The big doors would never open.  The younger brother kept trying, everything he could do.  He tried every combination, then tried again.  He tried everything in his power to open those doors, but of course, he couldn’t.  The older brother, realizing that the puzzle could never be solved, proceeded to walk up a small, barely visible staircase on the side of the wall, leading his brother and their friend to freedom.

Fast-forward about 15 years.  The two brothers are both masters of martial arts.  The younger one knows 90 different special moves, but the older brother only knows the basics.  One day, to show off, the younger brother fought his childhood friend.  The brother completely humiliated his friend, using his trick moves, smashing the friend’s face into a table and sliding it across to tear his face with splinters.  Seeing the carelessness of his brother, the older brother challenged him, and easily beat him with just two moves, forcing him to submit.  Later, the two brothers found themselves in the dungeon once again, facing the giant doors.  Once again, the younger brother tried to solve the puzzle.  He put in the symbols for sword, treasure chest and shield.  But the fourth symbol was a dragon, and there was no answer for that.  The younger brother was trapped.  The older brother, however, walked up to the doors, and found there was a small passage on the left side to get around the door.  He passed through the door, and his brother was left there, staring at the dragon, the symbol that he thought could never be beaten.

Now, I’m pretty sure I know what this dream means.  I think I knew right away, actually.  Here it is.  There are many different things to do in this world.  Some good, some bad.  Some are beneficial in certain circumstances, and some definitely aren’t.  There are so many distractions that take away time from what really matters.  So here’s the challenge: we must simplify our lives if we want to be effective.  Simple does not mean easy.  In fact, it will probably be more difficult.  The important things may seem less exciting and fun, more tedious, but they are by far the most fulfilling.  Ultimately, only the eternal things will last.  Think about these things, not the next way to get high, drunk on distraction.

There is no way to win in life without Jesus.  We must enter through the narrow gate.  We can try to “figure out” life, seeking riches, power and security, but we will ultimately be faced with the impossible task of defeating our own sin.  Only the blood of Jesus can defeat sin, and light our true path.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” –Ephesians 5:15-17

Salvation

Here we go.  This was my last of the “six dreams”, so I’ll have to think about something else to write tomorrow.  This was definitely the hardest to understand of the six dreams.  I didn’t see the significance at first.  It really is cool, though.

I was hanging out with one of my friends, the bass player at my church.  We were in a concrete bunker, just talking to each other.  We were walking through the halls inside the bunker.  They were well-lit concrete hallways, really a very comfortable atmosphere.  The air was clean, and there wasn’t any sense of claustrophobia at all.  Then I opened a garage door-looking thing on the side of the wall, and we both stepped out into the sunlight and green grass and trees of the outdoors.  My friend was amazed, and declared Jesus as his Lord.  He got saved right then.

The reason this dream was a little weird at first is because I’m almost certain my friend is actually saved already.  So maybe he represents someone or something else, I don’t know.  I do appreciate the symbolism of the situation, and I think I understand those a little bit.  There are two settings: inside the bunker, and outside in the beautiful field.  I got to thinking about the situations that lost people are in.  To them, their life may be pretty cool.  It’s nice; they can walk around, do fun things.  They probably do not know how trapped they really are: until they see a glimpse of the outside, that is.  When they see a revelation of the truth, how great life can really be, the beauty of freedom, that’s when their eyes are opened.  When they see the wonders of God, the greatness of His new life offer for them, that’s when they can make a choice.

If a life of sin is all you know, it’s easy to be content.  You don’t even have a choice to trust in God or not if you don’t know He exists.  That’s where we Christians come in.  Christ’s commission was to make disciples.  I think I can sum that up in a few words: show people the Truth.  I opened the door of that bunker, but my friend had the choice whether to step out or not.  If people haven’t even heard the truth, then they have no choice.  If you just tell them they’re going to hell because they don’t live according to a set of rules in a book, how could they listen?  They’ll think you’re crazy, because all they see is judgement from you.  Share the truth in love.  Show them the difference between light and darkness.  Live a radical life of love.  If people can see the difference in your life, and know that what causes that difference is your relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ, then they will realize that they do have a choice.

If you live just like them, with the same entertainment, indulgence in sin, bad habits, how can they know the difference?  They won’t see God.  All they’ll see is a judgemental person who thinks he’s better than everyone else.  Friends, I urge you.  Live like Jesus.  Live righteously.  Live love, hope, encouragement, mercy, forgiveness, grace.  Live with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Throw off the old man, the dead man.  Show the love of God through your life and actions.  Live different.  Eventually, I hope this can be a confession for all of us:

“I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
       I speak of your faithfulness and salvation.
       I do not conceal your love and your truth
       from the great assembly.” -Psalm 40:10

Voice

Each of us has a voice, a way of expressing our thoughts, beliefs and desires.  My fifth dream was about the neccesity of using that voice.  Here it is:

My dad and I were at a concert.  It was a really small concert; there were only a few other people in the audience besides us.  The room was pretty small, and there were around 60 chairs set up for the five or so people.  Some random Christian rock group was on the small stage, playing some songs calmly.  Despite the lack of a big crowd or giant speakers, pyrotechnics and things, I was enjoying myself and singing along.  All of a sudden, the band stopped, and the lead singer stepped down from the stage.  He walked over to where my dad and I were standing and said to me, “You have a good voice.”  Right then I heard something in the back of my mind (I think it was the Holy Spirit) that said, “Use it.”

Now I don’t think that dream could have been any clearer than it was.  I have a voice, a part of me that can express myself to others.  I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I have a hard time using it.  It’s so easy for me to shrink into the background and let other people do all the talking.  I’ll let others do the comforting, the encouraging, the rebuking that so often needs to be done.  I will hold back from saying things that I could, or should say.  That is what needs to change.  I must speak up in those times.

I’ve definitely seen some improvement in the last few weeks thanks to this word form God.  In fact, this dream is one of the reasons I started this blog.  This dream is the reason that one day, when faced with a choice between stepping out to lead worship and going home, I chose to worship.  I’m making it a goal now, to speak when the time is right.  With God’s help, I know I can do it.

Readers and friends, God has given each of us a voice.  He’s given each of us the ability, the capacity to speak the truth to others.  So use it!  Don’t let anything hinder the words of the Lord!  Throw off the sin that so easily entangles!  For He has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline!  Out of abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, so let your heart overflow with the love of Christ.  Let that love flow into the hearts of others.  You have a voice; now use it for His glory.  Meditate on this verse:

“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
       Who may live on your holy hill? 
 He whose walk is blameless
       and who does what is righteous,
       who speaks the truth from his heart”
-Psalm 15:1-2

Jealousy

Okay, so this fourth dream was definitely the most powerful for me.  Maybe I’m just too emotional, but this one really hit me hard, guys.  It’s not that I’ve never felt jealousy before.  It’s just that during this dream, I felt it far greater than ever before.  Here’s the summary:

I’m standing, looking at a young man and a young woman hanging out together; they’re running around.  It was a little strange to see grown people playing games like little children, but that was about it.  It wasn’t anything bad or perverted in any way, just two people having fun.  It looked innocent.  But to me on the outside, it seemed incredibly offensive.  I started to feel a jealousy that I’ve never experienced before for the woman.  It was so great, I really didn’t think I could stand it.  I wasn’t being selfish in the dream, I don’t think, but that extreme jealousy was there.  I couldn’t say anything, and the two people couldn’t care less that I was standing right next to them.  They continued to ignore me, and I continued to be jealous.  I thought things like “if only she knew me.”  Not for my sake, but for hers.

So anyway, strange dream.  Maybe I’ll feel that way in real life someday, but I haven’t yet.  My God is a jealous God.  That’s the point.  I really think God was using this dream to teach me a lesson about His love for us.  When you think about His love, what do you usually think about?  Do you think about His many blessings, His promises to never leave us, His plans and destiny for our lives?  Maybe you think about the mercy He so freely gives, the pains and trials that He brought you through.  Those are all amazing aspects of God’s love for us, but now more than ever, when I think about His love, I think about jealousy.

Think about it for a while.  Nothing hurts more than seeing one you truly love being given to someone else.  Love is not self-seeking.  It’s not selfish in any way.  The reason God is jealous for us is because He loves us so much.  He knows about us and Him; He knows we’re perfect for each other.  The reason He created us, the reason He saves us, the reason He’s sanctifying us is this: God first loved us.  He feels the pain of jealousy when we give our hearts to idols.  When we’re stuck doing our own thing, God loves us.  When we’ve abandoned Him and run in the opposite direction, God loves us.  He loves us when every fiber of our being is denying His very existence.  To see you trapped in sin breaks His heart.  He weeps; He mourns; He longs for you.  He wants you to love Him, not because He needs it, but because He knows you need Him.  God, our creator, loves you.  Jesus loves you.  That’s why He died for you.  God is Love.  God is Jealous.  All we can ever hope to do is love Him back.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” -Exodus 34:14