A Piece of the Puzzle

I was thinking today of the deep sense of belonging I have when, after I am able to find the quietness in me, I can be still long enough to ‘enter’ God’s presence. All I need is a moment, and the weight of the world falls from my shoulders and I remember once again who I am… and that I have some value… and an important job to do.

 

I am not sure what your typical day looks like but mine is mostly one of chaos in which I am constantly battling my way through a jungle of work, stress, finances, emotional ups and downs, fatigue, ‘getting older’, other people’s expectations of me and my own distorted view of the path ahead.

 

When David so beautifully wrote “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere…” he knew what he was talking about.
We are each designed to be an important part of a puzzle… of God’s great plan. The plan doesn’t make sense unless all the pieces of the puzzle are in place.
I need you to be you as much as you need me to be me.
We spend so much of our time not really knowing who we are or believing the lie that we don’t have anything of value to offer our community… and or we see more value in another and so then we try to be like him or her… and that doesn’t work… no matter how hard we try.This is why… the one moment alone with our “Dad’ is so imperative.
Without water we dehydrate, without oxygen we suffocate, and without some aloneness with His spirit we depreciate our own spirit, our identity and our value to each other.
So please do me a favor will you… put down your phone… and take a stroll along the beach or sit for a few minutes in the garden or hide yourself away in the attic, or turn off the car radio on your way home from the office… and be silent and try to enter that mysterious place of welcome, of identity, of permission… to be encouraged, to be reminded of the simplicity of who you are and how valuable you are to the rest of us.
I need you.
Cheers,
Chris

 

Getting off the High Horse

It can be difficult as a ‘professional’ to step down from the ‘lofty’ stage-platform to enjoy music as much as the fan or the amateur. When I listen to my live recordings with my professional ears I hear flat notes, wrong chords, jumbles lyrics, imbalanced mixes and the occasional annoying cough from an audience member (would someone please pray for that person).

And so I need, from time to time to be reminded that, often the most beautiful recordings, perhaps like people, are the slightly broken or imperfect ones. And… I should know this… because it is in these ‘live’ moments that I am at my best within myself, collaborating with the other musicians and singers and of course, the most important people in the room… the audience.

Quite recently, a good friend was thanking me for my new live album and as he mumbled on about how he and his wife had been fighting over the CD… I wondered to myself… ‘What new live album?’ I soon understood that he was talking about this mix of live recordings I had collected over a few years and had (in a weak moment) given to him as a present.

The thing is… the request for the live concert recordings is becoming all to common… and while I battle with the sliding scale of quality I am gradually weakening my resolve in favor of the lovely messy moments of live music making… and like Jesus… I am stepping down off my throne… and setting the mixes free. For, my fan ears tell me that there is something lovely in these recordings… and these same fan ears allow me to enjoy or enter into the moments of worship as I listen to these tracks.

And so… I want to make this available to all the people that have encouraged or prayed or supported me over these many years. It is a live worship merry Christmas present (without the carols and bonbons).

Enjoy.

 

Keys Were Designed to Open Stuff

I had a lovely moment alone at the office early this morning and at some point I began to sing this phrase…

“I left the door open for you… so come right in”

& then

“I have given you keys to every door… ever made”

And then I saw a moving picture (kind of dream sequence) of me in a type of an old castle, down deep in the dungeons and on a wall I found a large key ring with keys of all sizes. Each key represented a door. The smaller keys belonged to the doors that I was already able to open… and each key’s size was determined by either how much I used it or understood how to use it or… believed in its actual existence.

Some keys were too big for me to even lift.

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And so I looked at one of the largest keys and saw that it was for the door to wealth. I dragged the key over to a door that was locked and I knew somehow that this door had two names. On the side facing me it was called Poverty, but… I sensed that speaking to this door was the secret to the key… rather than any heavy lifting… and after I spoke to the door to open, I saw that the other side of the door was called Wealth.

For as I waited there asking wisdom about the keys I understood that the shape of a key was merely a symbol, for the kingdom keys come in many shapes and forms. A key could be speaking or proclaiming, it could be giving or sacrificing or letting go, it could be waiting still, fasting, calling on the name of Jesus, loving unconditionally, obedience, repenting, serving, following, worshiping alone or calling many others to worship.

And in this ‘dream scape’ I knew that the keys to the kingdom had been given to all of us. We are all invited inside the kingdom and, when we are in that place we can begin to decipher each key, understand its value, its purpose and learn how and when to use each key.

I stayed in that dream place for as long as I could… considering the use and purpose of different keys. I tried speaking and singing to several doors that seemed locked to me and in this realm, when one large door opened I saw another picture of me standing on a platform in the sky, just above my earthly life. I could see LA, my house, all around the greater city and then I understood that, while I could freely enter this place of quietness, wisdom and presence, it was right here where I am today, not on some distant mountain top. It is a slightly foreign notion to accept… that the door is always open, that I am invited, and that it is up to me to enter… and linger as long as I am able.

Waiting for God Oh!

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to receive an answer….. often years…. and after a while the question, desire, need or quest may have changed or been forgotten…. because we have changed and the answer we first sought is now quite irrelevant or… it just doesn’t matter anymore.

I am inspired by the 4th century desert fathers and mothers…. ordinary people who chose the way of the hermit…. sensing to leave behind all their belongings, their friends, their reputations, their dreams…. they embraced a life of solitude in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria. Of course public opinion raged against them….. they were deemed crazy…… and though many were poorly educated peasants, former slaves and prostitutes, some of these and prostitutes, some of these men and woman were giving up vast incomes, houses, careers and good family names….. all in the search of something better……. something they knew they couldn’t find in their current lifestyles.
And…. after battling through years of loneliness, poverty, self sacrifice and inner torment….. these hermits…. these “losers” found joy in their waiting….. and many who had once mocked their poor ‘decision making’….. were soon reaching out to them for help…… traveling many miles across deserts….. even traversing continents just to sit for a few moments at the feet of a ‘wise one’. Some of these new ‘pilgrims’, these seekers of truth were actually the Kings, Princes, and the wealthy and the noble…… the movers and the shakers.
Of course most of the ‘new seekers’ returned home disappointed because they were not given the answer they desired.

Busy people demand immediate solutions to their problems.

No the desert fathers and mothers were prone to offer suggestions like this ….. “friend, consider the farmer….. he understands the seasons… first he sows… then he waters…. and then waits patiently, allowing nature do work all things together in perfect harmony… in its own time.”

Waiting isn’t easy…. if it were… well… anyone could do it.