Dead Air: Making the Most of the Inevitable Silence

no-dead-airAs I pour over magazines, articles, and books for advice in leading worship, one thing I constantly run into is the subject of what to do in between songs. It is a common topic for discussion amongst song leaders as this must be dealt with every Sunday. There are all sorts of ideas that I have read about but each one boils down to one thing, and that is this; Do something! Do anything! But make sure there is no dead air!

There are countless reasons behind this, and many of them are even good reasons:

Silence is awkward.

If there is no ‘flow’ then dead air leaves a ‘stop/start’ feeling to worship.

People will become quickly bored.

A lack of smooth transition indicates a lack of excellence and God deserves our best.

But for the most part, the reasoning can be pretty much summed up like this: If there is silence in between songs then people are uncomfortable and therefore distracted and unable to worship.

Fill It In!


So the worship ‘experts’ then offer us ways to fill in this ‘dead air’ (which is just a code word that places a negative spin on the word ‘silence’). From my reading the most preferred method seems to be transitioning one song to the next without a pause in the music. When done right, this can be very smooth and pleasing to the ear. It also allows the leader to connect one theme with another quite seamlessly. I utilize this when I feel it is necessary, but it becomes impractical in many situations. Every Sunday just cannot be a five song medley.

So the next best ‘method’ is to fill the silence in with talking. This can be done in a variety of ways. Two of the better ways are Scripture readings and prayer. But most often, from what I’ve personally seen and read (and unfortunately, done myself) is spontaneous chatter. Some have called this ‘The Mini Sermon’, others have called it ‘Worship Cheerleading’ but most call it ‘Annoying.’

Fill It In?

The problem I have here is not the desire to have a smooth transition. I find nothing wrong with Scripture being read in between songs. But what bugs me is that these ‘fillers’ become nothing more than a ‘solution’ to silence. Instead of a 15 second pause between one song and the next, the popular advice is to ‘fill’ it with something. Eradicate and exterminate all forms of silence because, I am told, it makes people uncomfortable, distracted, and it hinders worship. Well I’m here to say it’s not true.

I’ve bought into this type of thinking for too long. Many times I have found myself standing awkwardly on stage in between songs, looking slightly fidgety awaiting the introduction of the next song. I’m sure my presence didn’t help the congregation feel any less awkward. But my thinking was always aiming to end the silence. And awkward silence, as I have found, will make a talker out of a mute. And talking simply to fill in the silence leads to unnecessary rambling and idiotic phrasings that edify and glorify no one. Well, I’m done with that. As I strive to increase my understanding of sound doxology I just cannot continue to participate in this game. Silence is inevitable and I aim to make much of Christ through it. I believe that the benefits of silence in between our songs can far outweigh our feeble efforts to fill it. I also believe that these benefits can prevail over the common concerns of awkwardness, distractions, and the inability to worship.

The Benefits of Silence in Worship

The first benefit is Authenticity. What is more fake than conjured spontaneity? As I pointed out above, in my experience, it just comes off as awkward. There are appropriate times for leaders to talk in between songs, but in between every song is unnecessary. If the Spirit is moving, I’m sure He can move just fine without me talking compared to whenever I open my sin filled mouth. If there are a few moments of silence while the musicians to end one song and start the next then so what? If it takes a couple seconds to turn the page to prepare for the next song, big deal! Is it less excellent to pause for a few moments rather than to play seven songs without stopping? Why should our music at church imitate a concert or a radio station? Imitation is the antithesis of authenticity! Authenticity through silence can serve as another reminder to us and our people that we are not professionals and we don’t aspire to be. That doesn’t mean we fail to plan or rehearse, but it means we make the most of the inevitable silence to come and not try to shoehorn in our often unnecessary noise.

A second benefit silence provides is Reflection; a time to think and a time for prayer. How many times do we as ministers provide opportunities in the worship service for the congregation to meditate and reflect on what they have just heard or sung? If you sing one song after another, without a break, and then seamlessly start the sermon, the congregation has never had time to ponder what they just sang. Many times the few brief moments of silence between each song might be the only silence available for the church to reflect. Mark Dever’s church has embraced the silent times in their service. He says, “We LIKE “dead air space.” “Dead air space” gives us time to reflect. To collect our thoughts. To consider what we’ve just heard or read or sung. The silence amplifies the words or music we’ve just heard. It allows us time to take it all in, and to pray.” (Read Dever’s full post here)

With that in mind, ‘dead air’ is also an opportunity for Participation. Instead of doing something to break the silence, do your best to participate in that silence. Dever continues, “Everyone works to be quiet. People stop moving their bulletins or looking for something in their purse. There’s no movement. We, together, hear the silence. It engulfs us. It enhances our unity. It is something we all do together. Together we consider what we’ve just heard. Together we contribute to each other’s space to think.” Active participation in silence actively works to get rid of distractions. Which makes me wonder when people say that silence itself is a distraction!

Lastly, another benefit of silence, and I believe the most important, is Worship. In fact, any benefit derived from this silent time should culminate in worship. Everyone talks about Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” but that’s exactly just what everyone does, talk. Rarely do we see this put into practice. The silence between one song and another is a perfect time to obey this command. In light of this passage it is quite telling to me when the ‘experts’ say that ‘dead air’ hinders worship. What that tells me is that either their understanding of worship is skewed or that they don’t understand what worship really is. If not, then they should really consider the logical outcome of their claims. To make the claim that ‘dead air’ causes people to not worship God is evidence that our faith resides in our methodologies rather than the Creator of silence. It is also a sign to me that many believe worship to be a product that can be manufactured or manipulated to produce an anticipated outcome, which is often called the ‘worship experience’. Many times this is based solely on feelings and nothing else.

One thing to be aware of is that just because silence takes place doesn’t mean that worship takes place. We need to train our people (and ourselves!) in the discipline of silence. And the best way I know how to train is to teach it and practice it. Instead of just expecting the congregation to ‘get it’, take a couple minutes and explain how the church can make the most of the silent times during worship. Explain how worship is not like any other venue in our culture and how silence can enhance reflection. Encourage participation. Take time to worship God when the opportunity of silence presents itself during the week. Even if it is for a few moments.

So instead of constantly trying to fill in the silence, make the most of it when it comes our way! And, most importantly, continue to measure everything we do in our worship services with Scripture to ensure sound doxology. Even the little things like the silence between our songs.

 

Photo(s)/Resource(s): Mark Galli, Dr. Ed Steele & Mark Dever

 

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OVERLOADED AND UNDEREMPOWERED

20140220-085721.jpgIn my first leadership position, I didn’t delegate much. I didn’t need to; I had lots of energy, and the load wasn’t too heavy. But as time passed, and I moved on to positions with greater leadership demands, I was confronted with the fact that I had limits. I realized that I needed to focus my efforts on the tasks that only I could do, such as being the main communicator. I needed to learn to delegate everything else.

One of the first things I realized about delegation was that a lot of people do it wrong — or more accurately, they do it only halfway. Many leaders willingly share the load with their followers. But for some reason, they don’t remember to share the power to get it done. They overload and under-empower their people. And their team members end up unable to do what is asked of them.

Empowerment is vital to leadership and delegation. It needs to be at least equal to the load or responsibility that’s been given to the person doing the task. When the load is greater than the empowerment, here’s what happens:

Morale suffers. Without the power to act and make decisions, followers feel like they’re being asked to do the impossible. That’s an attitude killer.
Decisions are made slowly. If you as the leader have to sign off on every decision related to a task, you’re crippling the process. Creativity is lost. Team members feel chained to your way of doing things, so they don’t feel free to try new and innovative ways of accomplishing objectives.

Accountability is low. If people feel like they are just a cog in the machinery of getting things done, then they are not motivated to give their best effort. Additionally, leaders can’t really hold people accountable for the parts of the task that they never let go of.

Ken Blanchard writes, “Empowerment means you have the freedom to act; it also means you are accountable for results.”And it’s part of a process. Delegating right takes time and effort. At first, it can feel like it would be faster and easier to just do tasks yourself. And it probably would, at first.

20140220-085805.jpgBut when you empower people effectively as you delegate, you release them to do the job. And you release yourself to focus on leading them and the rest of your team. Morale goes up. Decisions are made at the lowest possible level, so they happen quickly. People feel free to be creative, so new ways of doing things are discovered. And because you’ve been specific about the task and given people all the power to get it done, you can more easily hold them accountable if things don’t go well.

Here are the levels of empowerment that I take my people through as I gradually release responsibility to them:

Look into the situation. Report back to me. I’ll decide what to do.
Look into the situation. Report alternatives with pros and cons, along with your recommendation. I’ll decide what to do.
Look into it. Let me know what you intend to do, but don’t do it unless I say yes.
Look into it. Let me know what you intend to do, and do it unless I say no.
Take action. Let me know what you did.
Take action. No further interaction required.

I believe empowerment is critical to a leader’s effectiveness. Without it, leaders hold on to too many tasks and decisions, which makes them less effective in doing the things that only they can do.

Do you empower your people? In what areas do you need to give your people the resources and ability to get something done today? The better you become at empowering, the more everyone gets done.

Resource(s): John C. MaxweLl & Ken Blanchard

Check-Mate

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This blog is based on after reading: Isaiah 52.13-53

Do we have any chess-players here this morning? We try to read the other player’s mind – what’s his/her next move going to be? What should our counter-move be? How can we control the game so that the other player moves defensively but helplessly into our trap? We don’t have to take all the opponent’s pieces to win the game. The aim is to place the king in danger to our next move with the other player unable to defend the king from this attack. The result is “check-mate” – shah mata in Arabic, meaning “the king is dead”.

Moves and counter-moves – aimed at blocking the opponent and gaining control of the game.

Human Rebellion and Sinfulness

Just as in the game of chess, there have been a whole series of moves and counter-moves in the relationship between human beings and their Maker. This is no game, but real life. In the game of chess, all the “taken” pieces are “resurrected” and the board returned to its beginning state so that the game can start again. But in human history and in personal life, we cannot simply clear the board, return all the pieces and start again. It’s much more serious than that. Our choices and actions – our human rebellion and sinfulness – have consequences that go on and on.

The very first chapters of the Bible record the immediate result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid’.” (Gen. 3.8-10).

They had been warned that eating the forbidden fruit would lead to death. In the event, it didn’t happen “ZAP!” on that day – at least, not physically. Yet they had sealed their own fate – their move towards rebellion and independence was deadly to them. Except that we see God coming in with a counter-move. In Genesis 3.15, we read God’s words to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring  and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

This verse is not just about general human dislike of snakes. The verse has long been seen not only as the first reference to the long struggle between good and evil, but as the first glimmer of the gospel. It points forward to someone – some future offspring of Eve – who will be attacked by the forces of evil but will deal the final crushing blow.

But the human moves are towards self-destruction. The divine counter-moves are towards the redemption of the rebellious creature. The human side makes its last daring move against God – check-mate! The King is dead! Autonomy and freedom at last! Alas, the on-looker sympathetic to God’s side fears that the last possible hope of redemption has gone! But you can’t check-mate God without that being a deliberate part of his plan of redemption. That check-mate isn’t the end of God at all, but the beginning of redemption and the possibility of a whole new relationship with God! What the evil side saw as the final victory turned out to be God’s victory after all!

The Suffering Servant

Centuries before the events of Good Friday, the prophet wrote about the suffering of the Lord’s Servant. The Servant seems to be the victim of evil circumstances. And yet he is not victim – “My servant will succeed in his task…” (52.13a). Those looking on cannot see “the Lord’s hand” in the Servant’s suffering. While born in hard times, surely “it was the will of the Lord that his servant should grow like a plant taking root in dry ground” (53.1b, 2a). Yet the Lord says, “It was my will that he should suffer…” (v. 10a).

No! That’s not our understanding of the will of God! Not suffering and rejection! Not death! That would be certain defeat, and we are convinced that each counter-move of God must press toward victory.

Without realising it, we are agreeing with the “other side”, the evil side. The death of the opponent is the way to win. A jealous King Herod will serve this purpose… Failed! So try to divert the Servant from his goal – “tell these stones to become bread”, “throw yourself down from the highest point of the Temple”, “bow down and worship me”… Failed again! The jealous Jewish leaders will help us to check-mate God!

But, as we read the account of the human scheming against Jesus, we see the divine will at work. It is part of the word to the troubled Joseph, “She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name him Jesus – because he will save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1.21). The aged Simeon tells Mary, “This child is destined… to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk. 2.34b-35).

Jesus associated with people like Zacchaeus and said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Lk. 19.10). His disciples couldn’t accept that his suffering, death – and resurrection – could possibly be part of the divine plan. Peter rebuked him for contemplating such an idea (Mt. 16.22). As they manoeuvre to secure the best places for themselves in Jesus’ Kingdom, we hear him saying, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10.45).

Redemption

In Isaiah 53 we read, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53.5-6).

God allows – yes, even wills – the check-mate, in order to overcome evil and bring about redemption.

Francis Schaeffer wrote, “In Isaiah 53, this great prophecy made 700 years before Jesus came, what is the centre of the matter? It is words like these: ‘wounded,’ ‘bruised,’ ‘a lamb to the slaughter,’ ‘cut off out of the land of the living,’ ‘poured out his soul unto death.’ These words roll down through the centuries in prophecy, and we come to John the Baptist who speaks these words: ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.’ This is the subject of thousands of years of prophecy. The centre of the Christian message is the redemptive death of Jesus Christ” (True Spirituality).

Jesus died a cruel, horrible death. The King is dead – it seems the evil side has at last check-mated God. Rather, grieving our own human sinfulness, we know that “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (v.5b).

The account of the trial of Jesus tells us that “Jesus made no reply” (Mk 15.5). The future Judge of the world says nothing in his own defence. At the end of time unrepentant accusers will appear before his judgment seat. But for the present he is opening the possibility of forgiveness and salvation for all who will respond to him with repentance and faith. And throughout this time of grace the Judge of this world continues to “refuse to say a word”.

Pilate asked the people, “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” (Mk 15.12).

And that is still the question for us today. What do you want to do with Jesus? It is possible to refuse to admit that the game is up – that God has won decisively! to continue to try to out-manoeuvre God, to keep God out of the picture altogether! But the choice for life is the recognition that God was at work in our human check-mate, opening up the possibility of forgiveness and a whole new way of life.

Don’t fight any longer! It’s time to change to the King’s side!

Reputation vs Character?

John Wooden said “Your reputation is who people think you are, your character is who you really are.”

Which is more important? Reputation or Character? First it is important to determine how they are different. It was shared recently with me that your reputation is what other people think of you or perceive you to be. Character is who you really are internally, what and how you do things when no one else is looking or no one else will find out. So, what would it look like for us to have great character in 2014 and stop working on our reputation? Who really cares what people think?

I learned this lesson in the last three to four years ago. I ran into a person who worked endlessly on their reputation but had terrible character. When their character was revealed (which happens in intimacy) they were a complete let down. The truth is, they wouldn’t have been a letdown at all if they would have been themselves.

Abraham Lincoln was very concerned with the nature of character, but he was also aware of the importance of having a good reputation. He explained the difference this way:

“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

In today’s world that is overly preoccupied with image, it is easy to worry too much about our reputation and too little about our character. Building a reputation is largely a public-relations project, but building character requires us to truly focus on our values, actions, and always following through with what we commit ourselves to on a continual daily basis. Noble rhetoric and good intentions just are not enough to build true character.

I truly feel that your reputation is what people think of you and your character is what you actually are! Reputations will change with our circumstances and can be made or destroyed in a brief moment, but character is built through a person’s lifetime.

People don’t judge who we are, they judge who we’ve led them to believe we are. The more time and effort we put into making ourselves look great, the longer and harder the fall when the truth comes out. And eventually the truth comes out.

What we should be concentrating on is moral strength based on ethical principles. Character is revealed by our deeds and actions and not just words, especially when there is a gap between what we want to do, and what we should do, especially when doing the right thing costs more than we want to pay. Character is also not whether we accomplish our ambitions or goals in life, but how we truly live life through a lifetime.

What I took from that relationship was difficult, but it’s something we have to face in our early twenties, usually, and that’s there’s a difference between our reputation and our character. Since then, I’ve decided not to work very hard on my reputation. Or at least I hope that’s true. I air most of my dirty laundry, so nobody will judge me. People only judge those who claim to be better than others, more holy, more righteous more moral. When I’m ethical, I just look good. When somebody who works on their reputation isn’t ethical, they find themselves in social court. Working on our reputation is just a dumb move.

As a Christian I know that God sees all, and that He remembers all, and is ultimately the final judge of our actions in a lifetime spent on earth. Reputation is what people say you are; character is what God knows you are. Character is not a fancy coat we put on for public show only. Character is who we truly are, and will be judged by accordingly, on earth as well as in heaven. If you always concentrate on building character, your reputation will build itself. Develop your character, and you will never have regrets.
Here are some other reasons to have good character and not worry about our reputations:

1. God rewards character, not reputation. To care about your reputation means you care more about public opinion than the opinion of God. I notice that some of my friends who work endlessly on their reputations never really advance in life, love or their careers. People who work on their reputation “have their rewards in full” meaning that God has no interest in rewarding them, but they will get people to be impressed by them and that’s about all they are going to get. This is the essence of “worldliness” even though it is wearing religious clothes. The worldly person gets their pleasure and redemption and religion from the world, a person who knows God doesn’t work for a human audience. Who cares what they think, honestly. Just does the right thing because it’s the right thing and let God reward you.

2. If you present yourself as better than you are, you can’t have intimacy. People who lie about who they really are socially bankrupt, lonely, and have a string of bad relationships. Why? Because they can’t let people know them. They are too busy trying to win in some kind of “game.” Screw the game. Make friends. Settle for being medium great. Your heart will thank you.

3. Tell the truth. There’s nothing more healing than living in the truth and presenting yourself as who you really are. It’s easier to sleep at night.

4. When you work on your character, you’re working on the stuff that happens when nobody is looking. This is infinitely more difficult than misleading and deceiving people. But it’s the stuff that really sets you apart. It’s the stuff God rewards.

One cannot fully control his reputation, but he is always in charge of his character. What would your life look like if you stopped working on your reputation and started working on your character?

They Assume The Worst: Keep Doing Your Best!

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If you’ve grown up in the same town for a while: there are many who time-stamp you with certain labels that are nearly impossible to shake. You’re the lazy one. The angry one. The unreliable one. The bad kid. The loud girl. That one time you ___. And when we outgrow those labels, the shackles can still follow us.

Most of us do grow up: but we feel a need to defend ourselves or explain our actions or really win the trust of our neighborhood opinion. Yet there are always a few who have made up their mind about you, and they will always see you as the little punk kid who can’t possibly change.

I’ve been in the same town almost two decades and have made bad choices at least the first half of it. So up to this day, I’m still in a gossip-chokehold. Every few weeks, someone else is saying, I can’t believe you’re really a pastor now. Didn’t you hate God? Weren’t you at the strip club every weekend? Weren’t you running into the cops all the time?

Even in ministry, there are tons of pastors and leaders who will subtly sow those seeds of suspicion about other people. Be careful with her, she’s a little too friendly. Yeah that guy can preach but he’s got some issues at home. You don’t want to attend that church, they’re all crazy there.

Recently I made a sacrificial decision to my own hurt that was intended to be gracious to others. I knew I had to because it was the right thing to do. It was done secretly without much fanfare. And as expected, 1) most people assumed I had done the easy dishonorable thing, and 2) they were surprised to find I had done the right thing.

Which means, no one ever wants to believe that people can change. We think the grace of God is reserved for the people we prefer. We say that “God loves everyone” until it comes to a difficult person, to some guy with history, to some girl with baggage, as if Jesus died for everyone except the people we don’t like.

We find grace an uncomfortable proposition. It’s easier to assume that someone is the one-dimensional cartoon caricature that we wish them to be, because it means we don’t have to expend energy to get into their struggle. We write someone off and dismiss them because it’s our natural flesh-driven position. We don’t contend for love. We call it “wisdom” when it’s really just laziness.

May I please beg of us to reconsider this? Because the moment any Christian thinks that someone is beyond redemption: we are calling ourselves God. We’ve traded the truth for a wicked evil idol. We’re suckerpunching God’s sovereign grace.

The only reason you might have any happiness today is because someone else gave you a chance you didn’t deserve. Your friend decided not to believe the local rumors about you, and even when they were true: your friend acted like they were not. Jesus gave you grace you couldn’t earn, and if you’re not offering that to others, you haven’t understood grace at all.

But regardless of who says what — keep doing what you’re doing. Do your best anyway. You might not get to share your side of the story. No one might ever believe you’ve changed. Maybe no one will see you’re striving for sincerity, that you actually love Jesus, that you’ve become more patient and humble and gracious than you’ve ever been.

But that’s okay. Because you have grace for the people who don’t.

The thing is: Even when you do the right mature thing, others will assume you’re doing it to get ahead or look good or show off. When you do wrong, it’ll only confirm pre-made biases that were set in stone way before you. Both of these judgments are obsolete antiquated opinions that will almost never change no matter what you do: so do what’s right anyway, and don’t worry.

Your life will be a testimony to Christ, and they will believe Him.
His glory will be enough

Photo(s)/Resource(s): JSPARKS

Question: Taking Bible Verses Out of Context

danideewantsitall asked:

Hi there! What do you think of people taking scriptures “out of context”? For example, I was talking with my friends about Philippians 4:13, which is often used as encouragement. My friends said that it’s harmful to consistently quote that verse out of context, since that verse is, of course, part of a much larger story, but I say what’s the harm in someone using that verse for their own personal comfort and encouragement? Thanks!

Hey my friend, here are my general feelings about this.

1) Yes, Christians tends to take verses way out of context.
2) But most of us do it innocently without harm, because we just don’t know all the theology on that yet.
3) Certain Christians make a big deal about taking verses out of context, so they become the biblical equivalent of Grammar Nazis.

So if a superstar athlete wants to tattoo Philippians 4:13 all over his ribcage — well, why not? If a verse like Psalm 34:18 or John 3:16 can inspire someone and give them hope, then I say all the more power to them.
I would even suggest that most of us probably have entire chunks of the Bible all wrong. In other words, because of our human bias and our hazy filter of sin, I doubt any one person can properly contextualize the entire Bible at all times.

We have so many interpretive hermeneutics where everyone thinks “My camp is right,” but the older I get, the less I’m sure this or that guy has it totally right. I know dudes who are scholar-expert-level on the Bible but they’re total jerks, so it’s not working for them. I know others who are beginners at Scripture and still need the table of contents, but God has tenderized them with the little biblical knowledge they have.
When we get to Heaven, I can guarantee we will laugh at all the ways we misinterpreted Scripture and be shocked at what some passages really meant. And we’ve been doing that for hundreds of years already. Example: slavery.

Yes, certain verses need to be in context. It’s true that false teachers can twist verses to mean inappropriate things. It’s true that cherry-picking verses can lead to ugly triumphalist theologies where we’re secretly saying, “God is on my side and not yours.”

But I really don’t meet many Christians who are doing this on purpose to be bad people. They are simply misinformed or only on the first lap of faith. If I sit down and talk with someone who is obviously taking a verse out of context, usually they get it. No one but a false teacher actually wants to be a false teacher.

Personally, I am a literal Bible-reader who sees Scripture with a Christ-redemptive focus, so I try not to allegorize. I try not to make myself the “hero,” so Philippians 4:13 wouldn’t be about me. A storm is just a storm and not a “storm in my life.”

But then — these days I’m more often balancing rigid doctrine with our evident desire for the poetic and aesthetic. Humans have a need for beauty and symmetry and inspiration. There is tons of single-verse encouragement in the Bible. I need that sometimes. God does occasionally call us to be the hero. And I believe God speaks to the storms in our lives. So I’m not going to neurotically over-think how I am declaring certain verses. When life is tough, like on my face in tears with hands shaking and world breaking, usually all I can do is shotgun a verse or two over myself: and that is enough. That is God’s grace.

Photo(s)/Resource(s) — J.S.

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