Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Songs that Stick to my Soul - A Morning Prayer

Good morning Lord. Thank You for another day. This is the day that You have made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Lord, I am thankful for Your gift of music. I love music, and it is so much a part of who I am as a person. I have long known that music is powerful and songs have a lasting impression on the mind and the heart.

For example, I was thinking about how every now and then I can be standing at the copier at work and totally forget the 4 digit code, which I use almost every day. Yet I can hear a song that I have not heard in 20 years and still be able to sing almost every word. Just like that, the lyrics come right back to me, even if I don't remember who sang them or wrote them.

And not only the lyrics. I can sometimes remember what I was doing when I was listening to it. Like, I remember when I was probably 10 or 12 and the song "You Light Up My Life" was popular. I remember standing in my backyard with a wooden flute I got from the pow wow, trying to play that two chord progression that goes into the chorus (deee, daaaa.....'And you, light up my life"...). 

I also remember when I was probably 13 or 14 and was riding the giant swings at the State Fair one year and they were playing "You Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones on really loud speakers, and not wanting those swings to ever stop.

Oh yeah yeah, and I remember the first time I heard and saw Michael Jackson sing Billie Jean on tv. To this day I can remember every little, "hee-hee" and "Sha-mon"  he does in that song.

I also remember exactly how beautiful my sister Jimille looked and sounded while she was singing "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" at my mother's funeral.

And I remember when I was about 27 and had just gotten saved a few weeks before and was on my way to Raleigh; and I heard the song by Kirk Franklin "Let Me Touch You and See if You are Real"; and how I needed that because I was going through something at the time and You felt far away.
And not long ago, I was cutting grass with my ear buds in listening to music on my phone, pondering the pressure I often feel from my responsibilities, and the song came in rotation called "You made a way" by Travis Green. It reminded me of the many times You had and strengthened my faith to believe that You always will.

All of those songs Lord and many more have somehow stuck to my soul.
Lord, You know I want to live my life like a song about You. I want my words to be my melody and my actions to be my lyrics. I want everyday that I live to be another line and every breath I breath to be another note. And I don't want to just sing it to myself, I want others to hear it.

I want them to be moved by Your majesty and grabbed by Your grace. I want others to feel what I feel about You and to want a relationship for themselves. I don't want them to remember the one who wrote it, I just want them to remember who it was about. And I pray that one day when I am gone from this place to see You face to face, that someone will have a love song stuck in their heart that will always make them think of You.

Father, thanks for taking the broken notes of my life and making a melody that glorifies You. You are the reason why my life sings.

I love You. In Jesus name. Amen.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Try Not to Hit the Same Pothole Twice

I want to share something with you that my dad shared with me.  For those of you who don't know him, at the time of this post he is 91 years old and my hero. He spent the earliest part of his life working in high-class hotels in downtown Washington DC. He started as a busboy and worked his way up to maitre d. That was all before I was born, so I always enjoy hearing stories of his time in DC and all the famous people he met back then.

Well, he once told me a story about when he first went there. He worried that he had made a bad decision. See, he was only 17, and he and my mother were newly married and had a child. He left them at home with my grandparents to try to find a way to support them. Not only was he worried about that decision, but other decisions as well.

He said he was talking to his boss at the time who had taken a liking to him. He was reflecting on his anxiety over what he felt were bad choices. He said his boss told him something that he never forgot. He told him that bad choices are like running over a pothole. You can't "unhit" it, and if you keep looking back at it, you're likely to hit the next one. So he told him to keep moving forward, learn from it and try not to hit the same one twice.

Now that is good advice isn't it? So good that my dad carried it with him for over 70 years. I am really glad that he shared it with his baby boy. (Yeah that's right; I'm still his baby; he even called me that recently). But really, we'd all do well to heed that wisdom. I know I needed to be reminded of it.

You and I both have decisions to make every day. Some trivial and insignificant; others important and life altering. I sometimes second guess both kinds. But I know that even if it's a bad decision, once it's made, I can't unmake it. Once the pothole is hit, I can't unhit it. So the best thing for me to do is learn from it, keep moving forward, and try not to hit the same one twice.

Jesus said it like this in Luke 9:62 "...No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." That tells me that if we're going to go with God, we have to keep moving forward. I believe we can think back to remember what we've learned and how God helped us before. But we shouldn't look back. That's why the past is called the past; that's exactly where it belongs.

So let's pray for one another that we'd be able to let go of the potholes behind us and watch out for the ones in front of us. Then we can look ahead that we might be able to move ahead.