He’s A Terrible Man

I guess I’ll continue sharing Petra songs and my thoughts about them. It seems to be working for the time being. The great thing about it is that I have a LOT to choose from so this could end up going on for quite a while.

Never Say Die is an album that I didn’t get into immediately. Remember that I was sixteen when I first heard Petra. That was in 1986 so Never Say Die was already a bit dated at the time. It was released in 1981 and has a much more diverse collection of songs than either More Power To Ya or Not Of This World. There are still some hard rock songs (Angel Of Light is one of their best) but there are very mellow moments like The Coloring Song and For Annie. I think it was another year after my initial discovery of Petra that I went and bought all the albums I could find. So I was most likely seventeen and really into Stryper and some of the heavier bands. Even Petra had gotten more of “metal” edge by that point and were doing things like This Means War! The stuff one Never Say Die, even the rocking stuff, felt old so it didn’t really appeal to me at the time. It wasn’t until I was out of high school and really diving into some of the early Christian rock stuff that I sat down and gave it a fair listen. When I finally did, it blew me away. It helped that I had also gotten more into bands like Styx, Heart, and Pink Floyd. When I noticed shades of those bands on this album it started to get much more airplay on my stereo.

I’m sharing Killing My Old Man tonight for two reasons. First of all, it’s a really cool tune that reminds me of Pink Floyd’s Money. The bass line, the organ, and even the guitar solo all SCREAM Floyd. That alone is enough to make me like it. Secondly, it has some really interesting lyrics that apparently upset some folks when it was originally written in 1977. Supposedly it was meant to go on Come And Join Us but the label refused to release it due the “questionable” content of the lyrics. When you look at the words there is nothing questionable there. The message of the song may be confusing to some people because they don’t understand the concept but that’s not Bob Hartman’s fault. The lyrics go like this.

I think its gone far enough
I can’t take it anymore
I’ve got to even up the score
Before he sweeps me off the floor

I’ve really got to find a way
Of taking care of him for good
I know he’d kill me if he could
So I’ll nail him to the wood

Killing my old man
You may not understand
He’s a terrible man
Got to make a stand
And kill the old man

Every time that I think he’s gone and I’ve finally won
He just keeps coming back, puts me on the run

I think I’d better do it now
Get my hammer and a nail
Pray to God I that I won’t fail
Lest he’ll keep me in the jail
And I don’t wanna stay in jail!

lyrics by Bob Hartman
If people find that questionable then they probably find Paul’s words to the Colossians equally questionable.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV)
Paul’s words in Romans 6 must be equally questionable.

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Forone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:1-14 (ESV)

I don’t know about anyone else but I sometimes need to be reminded to “kill” my old man. It’s a daily battle that I have to be committed to. Perhaps people were uncomfortable with the imagery of the song or maybe they were too worried that people would not get it. I’m glad the song finally got recorded and ended up Never Say Die. Once again, a simple rock song has spoken truth into my life and helped me have a deeper understanding of Scripture. If only we could say that about every Christian artist out there.

 

Grace and peace.

I Wonder How It Makes You Feel?

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic but every now and then a song’s lyrics will become much more than some words being sung over music. Don’t get me wrong, there have been MANY excellent songwriters and there still are MANY excellent songwriters who really have important things to say. However, I’m talking about something more than that. Sometimes the lyrics to a song speak to me so deeply they almost become like a prayer. Petra’s Judas Kiss is one of those. On the surface it is a really cool, medium tempo rocker that has a killer guitar riff. The song definitely has a heavy vibe to it. Greg X Volz’s vocals are soaring and there is a level of sincerity in the way he delivers the lyrics that make them really mean something. This is one of those songs that force me to stop and really think. The one I shared yesterday does the same thing bit not quite as deeply.

I wonder how it makes you feel when the prodigal won’t come home
I wonder how it makes you feel when he’d rather be on his own
I wonder what it’s like for you when a lamb has gone astray
I wonder what it’s like for you when your children disobey

It must be like another thorn struck in your brow
It must be like another close friend’s broken vow
It must be like another nail right through your wrist
It must be just like, just like Judas’ kiss

I wonder how it makes you feel when no one seeks your face
I wonder how it makes you feel when they give up in the race
I wonder what it’s like for you when they willingly disobey
I wonder what it’s like for you when they willingly walk away

lyrics by Bob Hartman

Petra weren’t always known for writing deep or heavy lyrics but this is definitely an exception. I do believe that Petra were consistent and the majority of their songs had a solid biblical foundation. There was the occasional “I am on the rock” and other “bumper sticker” anthems but Hartman (the primary lyricist) did a pretty good job with the words. This may be one of his finest (if not THE finest) moments in his storied career.

By simply restating those lyrics totally in the first person it becomes a prayer. I wonder how it makes You feel when I won’t seek Your face? I wonder how it makes You feel when I give up in the race? And the one that is the kicker…I wonder how it makes You feel when I willingly disobey?

When I think about how Jesus must have felt that night in the garden when one of his own came up to him and betrayed him with a sign of affection, well, I can’t help but wonder what he thinks when I betray him today with my words, thoughts, or actions. Let’s me honest. We all mess up from time to time. Sometimes we even know we’re messing up and we still do it. Does Jesus feel the thorns again? Does he feel the nails again? Are we any better than Judas? I wonder.

Grace and peace.

Rose-Colored Stained Glass Windows

To see through rose-colored glasses means that you see things in an unrealistically positive light. There’s nothing wrong with being optimistic but this means to take it beyond positive thinking and refuse to see the things that are obviously wrong. Petra wrote this song in 1982. It’s on the More Power To Ya album. It may be one of my favorite Petra songs of all time. I was thinking about it this morning while doing some reading and I got to wondering how many times I have been guilty of doing it. The lyrics go like this:

Another sleepy Sunday, safe within the walls
Outside a dying world in desperation calls
But no-one hears the cries, or knows what they’re about
The doors are locked within, or is it from, without…

Looking through rose colored stained glass windows
Never allowing the world to come in
Seeing no evil and feeling no pain
Making the light as it comes from within, so dim…

Out on the doorstep lay the masses in decay
Ignore them long enough, maybe they’ll go away
When you have so much you think, you have so much to lose
You think you have no lack, when you’re really destitute

lyrics by Bob Hartman

Every time I hear this song and really listen to the words it’s like a punch in the gut. How many times have I been so comfortable in my safe little Christian world and ignored the lost and dying around me? Have I let my own selfishness and refusal to see the world as it is dim the very light of Jesus that I am supposed to be shining? How many times have I simply closed my eyes and hoped that it all would go away so I wouldn’t have to do something about it. My God have mercy and forgive me.

Grace and peace.

Time Machine

time machine

Anyone who has been following this thing (or who knows me in real life) knows that I am a music guy. Music is a huge part of my life. The last two posts have been about songs from Boston’s Third Stage album and how much they meant to me in high school and how much they mean to me now. I was going to talk about another song from that album tonight and then I saw this photo on a friend’s Facebook page. I don’t think I could explain it better if I tried. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I know I’m not the only one who has those certain songs that are like keys to the past. All it takes it the first note or two and it’s like a door in my mind has been opened up. Memories come flooding back and it’s as if I am there again. I had planned to post another Boston song but then I remembered that today is my buddy Paul’s birthday. Those of you have been following (or know me) know that he was my best friend back in sixth grade. He was the one who introduced me to the music of the Electric Light Orchestra. So, Paul, this one is for you.

Grace and peace.

I Think I Like It

I have been busy today and really haven’t had time to sit down and write a lengthy post. I did listen to Boston’s Third Stage again and have come to the conclusion that it may be one of my favorite albums of all time. This track (along with yesterday’s pick) is right there at the top of the list. One interesting bit of trivia for you. Third Stage was the first album released on CD that was certified Gold (500,000 copies). It was also certified Gold in the LP format making it the first album to do that. In the end it ended up going 4x Platinum (4,000,000 copies). That’s not too shabby. This particular song is another one with lyrics that kind of went against the grain of most hard rock at the time.

Oh doesn’t love say enough
When you realize
People try to come on so tough
All to fantasize
Changes takin’ me through the night
I finally see the light
I’ve opened my eyes
Those changes can open you eyes

I love that lyric. It came out at a time when I really was making a transition from boy to man it was nice to have something positive instead of a lot of the junk that was out there. I still listen to this one and feel encouraged. Enjoy.

Grace and peace.

To Be A Man

Boston’s Third Stage came out when I was in eleventh grade. I had turned sixteen over the summer and I was experiencing all those things that teenagers experience during that time of their lives. I had my first car, my first job, and my first girlfriend. It’s kind of funny that this album became such a hit with my age group. It was only their third album it had taken nearly eight years to complete. It had been ten years since their first one. By the time Third Stage was released Boston were already considered a “classic” rock band.

I was six when their incredible debut album came out and was eight when the second one came out. I was just a kid and I really only knew who they were because my uncle Neil had their albums. I remember hearing songs from those first two albums on the radio so I was familiar with them but I just assumed that they were one of those bands who had a few hits and vanished. I guess that was partially true.

I remember radio stations really hyping up Third Stage. To people into rock music it really was a big deal. This was one of the first albums that I eagerly anticipated. I wasn’t disappointed when it came out either. It sounded just like everything on their first two albums. Third Stage was an important part of the soundtrack to my high school experience. I don’t know that I paid much attention to lyrics back then but I do remember listening to the words of this songs and they spoke to me. I wasn’t a perfect kid and I did some things that I am not proud of but I always TRIED to live the right way. This song reinforced the idea that I was supposed to.

So much of the music from my teens years is trashy. The whole sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll thing was in full swing. I listened to some Christian bands that didn’t go that route but for the most part, my favorite bands sang about that stuff. It was actually refreshing for a rock band to write a song that offered a slightly different take. This song reminded me that being a man was more than bagging chicks and partying. Even now, thirty years later, this song means a lot to me. It’s actually hard to believe that this September will make thirty years since Third Stage came out. I’ve gotten old but one thing hasn’t changed. You still don’t have to do all that silly stuff to be a man.

Grace and peace.

 

Sermon Thoughts: 2/21/16

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Matthew 25:14-30 (NIV)

 

Have you looked at someone and wished that you had his abilities or resources? Perhaps that individual is an extremely gifted musician or artist and you can’t carry a tune in a bucket or draw a stick figure. You might wonder why God gave them those talents and not you. This morning’s passage is commonly referred to as the Parable of the Talents and it is one that many of us here are familiar with. I believe it answers our question when we ask why others have seemingly better gifts and abilities than us. The thing I want us to recognize is this:

GOD IS THE ONE WHO GIVES US OUR ABILITIES.

He gives them to us according to our abilities.

He expects us to use them.

I am not going to be held accountable for your talents and you are not going to be held accountable for mine. God gave us exactly what he wanted us to have. It’s up to us to be faithful and use it.

Grace and peace.

Saturday Afternoon Apologies

I had a sick child at home yesterday and I had a lot of work to get done here in the office as well. Not having internet at the house really makes it difficult to get something written and posted every single day. I am still doing my best but until we resolve the internet issue at home I may miss a day every now and then. I apologize.

We have a representative from the Gideons coming tomorrow. I’m looking forward to his presentation. I am also looking forward to our soup and sandwich lunch afterwards. I’m preaching on Matthew 25:14-30 tomorrow. The parable of the talents has always been one of my favorite teachings of Jesus. I love it because the main thrust is that God just wants us to use what he’s given us. I don’t have to meet anyone else’s expectations. I don’t have to be as good as anyone else or do as much. I just need to be faithful with what He’s given me. I find that so refreshing. I don’t have to preach like David Jeremiah or Chuck Swindoll or (for you Church of Christ folks) Wayne Smith. All I need to do is preach like Lee Modlin and God will be pleased.

Beth Ann has been going through some of her old photos and posting them on Facebook. I want to share two of them. One is from a show I did with Ekklesia and I think it was at Church On The Rise in Rocky Mount. The other one is of Geo, Chris, and me out at the house on West Mount Drive. There is snow on the ground and you can see Beth Ann’s old Camaro in the background. Enjoy.

Grace and peace.

Lee Ekklesia

Dad Kids Snow

Management: A Biblical Approach by Myron Rush

Management Book

I read the first three chapters of this book a few years ago when I was still working for Habitat For Humanity. I think I actually got this book from the ReStore. There was a lot of good stuff in the little bit that I did read but for some reason I never finished it. I am trying to make an effort to read at least one book a month that deals with leadership. I saw this one sitting on the shelf this morning and decided to give it another go. I read the first two chapters while sitting at Jamie’s allergy appointment and her physical therapy. I’ll share a few things that I highlighted during my reading today.

Chapter One – A Biblical Philosophy Of Management

Secular Definition Of Management: Getting Work Done Through Others

Biblical Definition Of Management: Meeting The Needs Of Others As They Work To Accomplish Goals

The Four Ingredients Of Organizational Success

  1. Commitment To Work On A Clearly Defined Goal
  2. Unity Among The People Involved In Meeting The Goal
  3. Effective Communication System In Place
  4. Clear Focus On The Will Of God

 

Chapter Two – Your Most Valuable Resource

Management Activity Involves Two Things

  1. Management Of Things
  2. Management Of Ideas

We often put people in the “things” category.

Man has unlimited creative potential. Effective leaders will listen to others and allow them to make creative decisions.

Leaders who fail to use the creativity of their people, in most cases, eventually lose the people too.

You can buy this book used on Amazon HERE.

Grace and peace.

Bible Study Thoughts: 2/17/16

49 “For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Mark 9:49-50 (NASB)

 

49-50 “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames. Be preservatives yourselves. Preserve the peace.”

Mark 9:49-50 (The Message)

 

We got to this particular verse(s) tonight and I had to be honest, I’m not quite sure what Jesus was trying to say. I kinda like how The Message paraphrases it but I’m not sure if that’s exactly what Jesus was trying to say either. I’m going to be doing a little more research and studying on this one in the next day or so. I’ll share what I come up with. Feel free to share your thoughts as well.

Grace and peace.