Friday, August 27, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Rom. 12:1)
What am I doing here? Ever ask yourself this, as an awareness test, or a gut-check? Today is one of those kinda sleepy, dog-day, dull August ho-hums. I’m a lump, just waiting for something to make me say, ‘OK, I’ll go for that, since there’s not much else happenin’. I’ll offer up myself, but it had better be good, I think. That’s a confession, for it’s not really the kind of effort I should be eager to offer. Instead, consider the words of a song that Don Moen and his friend wrote during one late night phone conversation. Their song “Lord I Offer My Life” sounds more like someone making a conscious, determined decision to point oneself in a direction -- no matter what. That’s purpose, which isn’t captive to feelings or whim, but to something - -someone -- that lasts.
You can read in Don Moen’s own words how the song came to life that night in 1994. Here’s the link: http://www.donmoen.com/Blog.aspx?iid=26019
If you don’t have the link, here’s the trim version of the story. Moen was pondering a song he wanted to include on a record; something that he thought needed to say ‘Lord, I Offer My Life’, because the project (Firm Foundation, by John Chisum) was about how people are healed from hurt. It was 10:30 PM, but he knew who he could call, even at that late hour for just the right words to an unfinished lyric. Claire Cloninger, his friend and collaborator, readily offered some thoughts, and by Moen’s account, the song was complete 30 minutes later. What? There must be a story behind the story…ever get that feeling after hearing someone’s account of an incident like this? Sure, Moen’s story indicates he had had the song’s familiar chorus rolling around in his consciousness before he called Cloninger. And, he and Cloninger must have had some life episodes upon which they drew for the song’s thoughts. But, perhaps their stories are no more telling than yours or mine. Maybe what’s more key is how the words make me think about myself and the One above. Maybe the song’s worthy objective – pointing the believer toward Him – is what hastened its birth. If God wanted a message to get out, wouldn’t He bless its fruition?
If I really mean what I sing in Moen’s and Cloninger’s song, I give Him not just the good stuff, but the ugly, vile things too. Not just what’s already been, but what’s yet to come, too. A guy named David did this, over and over, as he wrote poetry that we now sing (perhaps while strumming on a harp – see the picture). What’s enlightening in Psalms is how brutally honest are the feelings, these expressions of torment. There are lots of evenings when I lay down to sleep, and I don’t. Stuff bugs me – at work, at church too. Or, I’m too upbeat, excited and expectant about something to wind down and relax. I haven’t learned how to give it to Him, yet. Have you? I’m still experimenting, and one thing I do to try to manage my mind’s nighttime obsessions involves two small tools -- a pen and a pad. I write something down, hoping it will exit my brain through my fingers, and stay on the paper. Maybe, in a way, that’s what Don Moen was doing at 10:30 one night too. He took a thought he had been pondering, and tried to write about it. If my mind won’t rest, give Him my attention, give it to Him. Maybe David had some 10:30 PM sessions too. …hmmm, is a song in my future? How many others out there write song offerings to Him in the night?