Archive for May 2014 | Monthly archive page

posted by on Uncategorized

No comments

Tonight Four Oaks Worship releases their first full-length studio album. This is a result of the hard work and talent of many, MANY people, but at the heart of the project is Josh (and Jesus, of course). He wanted to make this happen, had the vision for it, wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, had several meetings and brainstorming sessions, spent countless hours in the studio recording and editing, and is now, in spite of his unfortunate leg injury this week, in the thick of the last minute preparations for tonight’s concert and release.

Now I know you think I’m promoting this thing here on my blog because Josh happens to be my husband and I’m a little biased. But bear with me for a minute and let me tell you why I’m REALLY excited about this (although that first part is also a reason).

Christians have been singing the praises of their God since…well, since the beginning. We were made for it. We see the Israelites singing His praises throughout the Old Testament, from their jubilant exodus from captivity to the beautiful song of the grateful Hannah to the countless Psalms of David and others. In the New Testament, too, we see Mary’s song (the Magnificat), and we see the new church of Jesus, gathering to sing and pray and learn. Here too, we have not only the example of song but the command to sing (Colossians 3). Since that time it is one of the things that all churches who gather in the name of Jesus do when they meet.

Since we are a singing people, meant to praise God with our voices, it is important that we have songs in our hearts that proclaim the right things about God. Sadly it seems to me that some of what is written in the Christian music industry today (not all, but some), is lacking in Biblical content. The Word of God is where we learn the truth about God. His character, His plan, His Son, His Spirit, Him. Here in these 66 books we have an infinite resource of inspiration for our singing. The content is there for the taking. And when we learn songs teach the Word, we remember them. Even those who struggle to memorize can remember the lyrics of a song without trying. In this way music can write important truths on our hearts.

When Josh writes, it is his goal to write the truth of God on the hearts of His people. I, more than anyone, can attest to this. I see how he labors over his lyrics, making very sure that what is sung is true and right, worshipful and God-centered.

This is why I think you should come to the concert and buy this album (and other albums that teach the truths of scripture!). I think that lyrics like this are good for the soul and honoring to God: All the longings of my heart are satisfied in who Christ is/Fount of mercy, living water, He is mine and I am His!

Come on out tonight and join us as we sing praises to our God!

DesireArt

You can still purchase advance tickets/a copy of the album here:

https://public.serviceu.com/RegistrationForm/7386942-286692270/?OrgKey=6f68bd29-92a9-452f-859c-c25c3877a5f7

Or simply show up!!

posted by on Uncategorized

1 comment

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to follow Christ in this particular season of life lately. This week especially it just seems the Spirit is constantly urging me to ask God, “How do I pursue holiness? What does it look like to glorify you in this? Where can I change, what expectations do I need to let go of, what are Your expectations for me?”

Here’s something I know for sure. My life is nothing new. Being a stay-at-home mom with 4 small kids is not unique. Millions of women have done it before me. I cook and clean and do laundry and teach and train and rinse and repeat. If there is anything new about it, it’s that I’ve got the benefit of a washer and dryer and dishwasher and cleaning products and electricity and store-bought food, making my life slightly easier than the lives of those who’ve gone before. But even with these conveniences the core responsibilities are the same as they have been for generations: to care for the spiritual, physical and mental health of a husband and children.

I think that one of the less helpful things about the endless blog posts that inundate our feeds is that everyone thinks that they are saying something new, or have discovered something new, about this mothering journey. I suppose that is probably occasionally true, but let’s be honest, most of it is recycled. There is, I’m sure, someone somewhere who has said exactly what I’m saying here and they’ve probably done it better. I’ll admit that I sometimes cringe when I see yet another post or article about the crucible of young motherhood. Not because it’s necessarily wrong but because I simply don’t need to hear again, “What you do is valid!! This hard work is worth the reward!! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS HOW HARD THIS IS AND WHAT WE DO IS VERY VERY SPECIAL!” The message of these sorts of posts always seems to me to be that if I can just find enough self-worth in all of this work I do I will be satisfied. If I can get enough people to recognize what I do, or at the very least feel sorry for me, I will be validated.

When I read or hear something that elevates my season of life, that says that being a mother of young children is something that brings identity, I am tempted to do one of two things. I will either hate myself or love myself. Both are forms of pride that say no to God and yes to self.

The hating myself usually looks something like this:I don’t use organic house cleaning products, my kids eat chicken nuggets 3 times a week, we watch way too much TV, I don’t have enough cute chalkboards in my house, my 4 year old isn’t reading, we’re not memorizing entire catechisms together, my kids are singing Taylor Swift instead of kids praise songs, we don’t go on family bike rides together, what am I doing with my life??? This may not really look like pride at first glance. But it is a deceitful kind of pride that masquerades as self-deprecation. Because when I am thinking this way it is all about me. I’m not thinking about God I’m thinking about me. I’m not thinking about others, I’m thinking about me. I’m not even really thinking about my children or my husband, I’m thinking about ME.

The loving myself goes something like this: This IS really important, what I’m doing. These people do not know what I sacrifice to care for this family. I lay down my life for these kids and this man all day every day. Being a stay-at-home mom is totally awesome because I don’t enjoy anything so my family can enjoy so much. LOOK AT ME AREN’T I SO AMAZING. I become this martyr of motherhood, wearing my sacrifice like a badge. This is the more obvious pride. I’m just flat-out unashamedly making it all about me.

Sisters, we need to encourage each other when what we do is difficult or challenging, or let’s face it, downright boring. But I fear that we sometimes elevate our season of life to the detriment of our faith. We begin to define ourselves by what we’re doing. What do I do? I am a stay-at-home wife and mom. This is what I do. But this is not my identity. I am a daughter of God, a sister of Jesus Christ, a new creation, called out of darkness, into His glorious light. I am the recipient of abundant grace that gives all sufficiency to abound in good works. I’m set apart, made clean, an unworthy heir of eternal life. I want to let this beautiful identity intersect with and inform my season of life, and not the other way around.

I think of those 72 disciples, sent out by Jesus, returning to Him and rejoicing about all of those things they’re doing in His name. “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” He says yes, I’ve given you authority, you have power over the enemy. Yes, I know that what you’re doing is meaningful and good. Yes, all that you’re able to do through Me is thrilling and joyful. BUT, “do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

See, I do believe that God means for us to enjoy what we do. I know that wives and moms are meant to love serving their husbands and caring for their children. I have complete hope and faith that I can have joy in the mundane tasks of daily life. But the joy can not find it’s root in the deeds, in the accomplishments. It just won’t work. I’m not even fighting demons in His name! I’m just trying to keep a bit of peace in a house of chaos. So if those disciples are called to think not of their deeds but of their salvation, I’m pretty confident I ought to do the same. It is the forward facing hope, that someday when all of this is done I will stand before a saving God and see that He has written my name in heaven, that sustains and brings joy. All other sources of joy will fail you.

How do we seek this sustaining joy? How do we keep our eyes on heaven, on the kingdom of God, on His grace and His sufficiency? What I love about the Bible is that in spite of its depths, that can never be fully fathomed in this life, it’s messages are often so clear and simple. Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to his teaching. Her sister grows irritated, thinking only of all that needs to be done. And the Lord says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.”

The sense of satisfaction that comes from finding self-worth in what you do can and will be taken from you. There are things that cannot be taken: the Word of God, the salvation of His son, the presence of His Spirit. So if you find yourself, like me, completely immersed in this young wife and mom season of life, I implore you, trust Jesus at His word. Do not find your worth in what you do. Fill your heart and your mind with His words and find joy in the thing that cannot be taken from you.