The Impact Of Godly Men

lecraeLecrae is one of Christian Hip Hop’s leading voices. He is also an author, theologian, speaker, and cultural architect. I appreciate the impact that Lecrae is making is making on this generation.

PBS recently interviewed Lecrae for their Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly program.

Check out this interview and ask yourself how you are influencing those around you.

Some Reads for the Weekend

Looking for something good to read this weekend?

Here are a few suggestions.

Randy-headshotFirst, take a few minutes to read this article about my friend, Randy Mortensen, who runs World Wide Village, the organization that I recently traveled to Haiti with. Randy was a corporate executive, whose search for meaning eventually led him to a relationship with Jesus Christ and a new calling in Haiti. This is a great story.

 

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - ArrivalsLouie Giglio has had a busy couple of weeks. Just ten days or so ago he was leading 65,000 college students in a four day conference, in Atlanta, called Passion 2013. The Passion conference was a major success, where major strides were made to free people from modern day slavery. President Obama took notice and Giglio was asked to deliver the inaugural prayer. Giglio was dis-invited when his belief that homosexuality is a sin was discovered by a watchdog group that alerted the President’s inaugural committee. You can read a great piece about the entire debacle here. Giglio wrote an incredibly gracious reply to his church here.

i am notI’ve been blessed by Louie’s ministry for several years and found some of his writing to be some of the most encouraging in my Christian life. One of my all time favorite books is I am not but I know I AM. If you are looking for a quick read this weekend you can download it here. The book is a reminder that we are only here for a little while. History is God’s story. We need to live our lives for His glory and His renown. What part are you playing in God’s story?

Indescribable-Giglio-Louie-5099967949991

Another great Giglio book is Indescribable: Encountering the Beauty of God in the Beauty of the Universe. The book is the result of Louie’s famous sermon in which he encourages us to consider the vastness of outer space and the depth of the soul, and the God who created it all. Giglio’s sermon Indescribable was the inspiration behind the worship song Indescribable that he wrote with Matt Redman. You can download the book here.

You can download the song, as preformed by Chris Tomlin, here.

the-air-i-breatheOne final Giglio book that I highly recommend is The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life. Almost every worship pastor that I have met has used this book with a worship team at some point in time over the past three years. Giglio is passionate about worship. It’s one of the reasons that he founded the Passion Conferences. He writes as a man in love with Jesus, calling us to not miss out on living our lives as an act of worship to the God of the universe. You can download the book here.

IDENTITY_ebook_cover_MCLooking for something fiction? New York Times best-selling author, Ted Dekker has released the first three of four novellas in his new Eyes Wide Open series of books. The final novella will be release this coming Tuesday. You can download book one in the series, Identity, for free by clicking here.

Here is a brief description of the series from Amazon –

Who am I?
My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave.

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.

So who are you? 

In a return to the kind of storytelling that made BlackShowdown and Three unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker drags that question into the light with this modern day parable about how we see ourselves.

Humming with intensity and blindsided twists, Eyes Wide Open is raw adrenaline from the first page to the last pure escapism packed with inescapable truth. Not all is as it seems. Or is it? Strap yourself in for the ride of your life. Literally.

Books two and three are available for just $2.99 each.
dekker-mirrorsBook two is called Mirrors and can be downloaded here.
dekker-unseenBook three is called Unseen and can be downloaded here.
Happy Reading!
******* ADDITION
SeerBook four came out early! Here is the link to purchase Seer.

What Would You Do If You Had Only Months Left To Live?

Zach Sobiech is a young man in my son Chris’ class at Stillwater Area High School in Minnesota. He is a senior and this past May he found out that he has only months left to live. I’m told that Zach has one of the most positive attitudes towards life that most of his friends have ever met. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he is choosing to embrace the joy in each day.

Zach is a musician and recently wrote a song entitled, Clouds. He performed the song at Coffee House, a benefit concert at Stillwater High School to raise money so that Zach could enjoy his last months. He gave half of the money to cancer research!

Clouds went on YouTube on December 5, 2012, and in just 12 days it has received over 412,200 views. He is hoping to hit 1,000,000 views before he dies. Will you help him make it? Check out his inspiring song, and then answer the question, “What would you do if you had only months left to live?”

The song is also available on iTunes.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhen my children were growing up, they performed in many Christmas pageants. They are always such a special part in the calendar of the church. I remember one year when Breanna and Christopher were a part of the cast of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the classic story by Barbara Robinson about the Herdmans. The book’s description says that the Heardmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

pageant2Well, we had our annual Christmas pageant yesterday. It wasn’t the story The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, (our church kids preformed A Rockin’ Royal Christmas) but it was one of my favorite of all time. After Friday’s horrific events in Connecticut, I treasured watching the children of Woodbury Community Church perform just a little bit more. Their voices seemed sweeter. Their antics were cuter. And, the story of the hope that comes because of the birth of Jesus was  even more poignant.

PageantDo you have a favorite Christmas pageant memory? I’d love to hear about it.

I’m so proud of the kids of Woodbury Community Church. They did a great job presenting the story of Christmas.

Here is a clip from the show:

Video streaming by Ustream

Extreme Christmas Caroling

There are two types of people in this world — those who love it when a group of people show up to their door to Christmas carol, and those who hate it.

Todd Rhodes had a fun post about caroling on his blog today. He tells the story the Long Hollow Baptist Church worship team, who decided to have some fun with Christmas caroling this year. Check out their humorous videos:

 

Where Is Your Hope Found?

youngIn December of 2009, the Minneapolis Star Tribune named Owatonna’s, Adam Young their Artist of the Year. Why? Because, Young had accomplished something that had not been accomplished by any other musician from Minnesota since Bob Dylan. His song “Fireflies,” made it to number one on the Billboard Charts. He was called “The Wonder Boy of Owatonna,” and Young had the world at his fingertips.

For those unfamiliar with Young’s work, he is essentially the one-man music machine known as Owl City. When he tours on the road, he brings an entire band with him, but his studio albums consist mainly of his voice and the incredible genius of his synthesizer talent.

I find Adam Young to be incredibly refreshing. He is unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ. His music carries a positive message, but isn’t overtly “Christian.” I’m told that he is rather shy but enjoys the opportunity that his platform has given him to represent Christ.

One of the most refreshing signs of Young’s commitment to the Lord is a song that he put on his blog on the Owl City website. I first heard the song in October, and regularly go back to the website to listen to it. The song is In Christ Alone, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Keith Getty, his wife Kristyn, and their friend Stuart Townend write some of the most theologically profound songs in modern Christian music. There is no mincing of words in the song In Christ Alone. Here are the lyrics:

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

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

I want to encourage you to visit Adam Young’s blog and listen to this song. I think you’ll be moved. It is the most powerful rendition of the song that I’ve ever heard. You can click here to visit the site.

Adam has taken some hits from his fan base for his commitment to Jesus Christ. I’m proud of him for the stance that he takes. If you think about it, pray for Christian artists like Adam. It’s never easy to be in the spotlight. Pray that God will continue to use Adam to reach a generation of people for Jesus.