While I already shared this song on Facebook on Friday, I thought I would share it again – especially in light of yesterday’s service. While we wait – we can worship God for who He is.
As I write this a 7 PM the last bits of sunlight are hitting the hill facing our Living Room window. It has been an amazing week – busy – but amazing. This last week our daughter and husband and kids came to visit. It is always fun to have them around. We did some sightseeing – showing them some of the local congregations and then going to the Zippo/Case Museum in Bradford. It was so fun playing with Robert and Anna – we even had a couple of chances to baby sit while mom and dad got to spend time by themselves.
One of the highlights of the week was having Michael join me in leading worship during our Lenten Luncheon series. Not only that, but I was able to give the devotional. We sang “I Will Sing of My Redeemer,” “Jesus Messiah,” “You Were On the Cross,” and “Come to the Water.” It was a wonderful worship set. Following that they headed to Allentown to see my parents.
We had some spring-like weather and some winter weather. Most of the snow we had at the beginning of the week is gone thanks to mid-spring like temps on Thursday and Friday. It was also good to see the sun most of the week.
Today was packed but very special. We had some guests, Bill and Kim Lawson. Kim shared a testimony of healing. The whole service was Holy Spirit inspired. Following that we had some great fellowship at a local pizza shop and then we had a great community choir rehearsal.
Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the rest of the evening – have a great week!
Second Sunday in Lent
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Second Sunday in Lent | March 17, 2019
At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”
Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it wouldn’t do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Luke 13:31-35 New Living Translation (NLT)
This week our Gospel reading jumps ahead in the Gospel of Luke to his account of Jesus grieving over Jerusalem.
In a surprising move, the Pharisee’s warn Jesus that Herod wants to kill him. Perhaps they were trying to save Jesus from the same fate that befell John the Baptist. It’s really hard to tell their motivation and interesting considering that the Pharisees are ultimately the ones who had Jesus crucified. But for some reason they have compassion and warn Jesus.
Jesus knows what he has come to do – and he tells the Pharisees that he will continue to do it. Think about how that works in your life. Do you know the plan that God has for you? Do you know without a doubt? Do you question God’s plan for you? Jesus didn’t – he told the Pharisees “I will continue to heal – I will continue to cast out demons – I will accomplish my purpose!” This is great inspiration for us, especially when we come up against obstacles that seem daunting. I know one of the things that I have been led to is to have a Vacation Bible School at our church this summer. It seems daunting, but I really believe that God has called us to do it. I would ask you to pray for us as we move ahead on this project.
Jesus continues that he must continue – I am fond of saying that I must press on! This morning, I still don’t know how I got the motivation to go beyond 3 miles – maybe it was a God thing (I’m not sure, but I did!) Jesus said however, if he was going to die, it needed to happen in Jerusalem. We get the idea that it would be important to die in Jerusalem rather than somewhere else.
Here in the midst of the persecution, Jesus prays for the peace of Jerusalem. He prays for the people, because (I believe) he knows that they are God’s people. This is another point of application for us. Do we grieve over people who don’t know the way to Jesus? Do we grieve over people who just go on living their life as if there is nothing more? If not, we need to ask God to work in our hearts – to break our hearts with what breaks his.
Jesus knows that his time is drawing short – that this will be one of the last times he will be in Jerusalem before he come for the final time on Palm Sunday – when the people are crying “Hosanna!” or God save us. I think Jesus really wants to make a difference, but their hearts will not turn to Him.
Let’s pray that God will open doors – that we will persevere – let’s pray that God would break our hearts with what breaks his.
It’s Saturday, so time for a running update. My total miles this week was just 15. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were a little crazy. It was almost impossible to get out. Finally on Thursday I hit the treadmill at the Y – and it felt good. Friday not so much, so I only walked. Today we went to the Olean Y and I ran – trying to get 5 miles. I almost quit. Pam was walking in a different lane and as I passed her at about lap 29 of 57 1/2, I let out a groan. Let’s just say it was a real struggle and it was all heart and all perseverance. I was able to make it to the 5 mile mark – slower than usual but still 5 miles is 5 miles. It gave me 15 miles for the week. For the month I am at 40 miles, so if I can double what I have, it will put me at 80 miles – the best month of the year so far. I would be very near 200 miles. Hopefully Monday goes much better. Pressing On!
Today we jump into a sporadic feature of my blog called “Now Playing.” I can’t say that today’s Now Playing is something recently released. In some ways, you could…call this an album review. But there are plenty of them around if you search the internet.
One of the styles of music that has always intrigued me is Progressive Rock – that may come as a surprise to you. One of the first bands that listened to was a band called Glad. Most of you may know Glad as the band that was an a capella band. But in the late 70’s, Glad had a unique mix of rock, classical, and jazz elements. I always enjoyed this combination. In the early 80’s, I learned that Kerry Livgren had become a Christian. Livgren was one of the founding members of Kansas and wrote most of their well-known catalog, most notably “Carry On My Wayward Son,” and “Dust In the Wind.” The first album that I really listen to from Kansas was the Vinyl Confessions album. Due to the departure of Steve Walsh, Livgren wrote most of the songs, with the rest being written by Walsh’s replacement John Elefante. My favorite song from that album was Crossfire. While Vinyl Confessions was not nearly as progressive as Kansas’ earlier works – it was still within the Prog/Rock category. By this time in the 80’s prog/rock had nearly disappeared. By the way, one of my favorites from their earlier releases is the epic 10 minute track Song for America from the album of the same name. After leaving Kansas, Livgren organized AD and now has release several solo albums. In the 90’s Livgren returned to his prog roots, even writing all the tracks for a Kansas album “Somewhere to Elsewhere.”
So all of that brings us to Similitude of a Dream by the Neal Morse Band. Neal Morse was one of the co-creators of Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic (along with Mike Portnoy), and Flying Colors. These are all prog-rock bands from the current century. In the early 2000’s Neal Morse had a conversion experience. Following that, he quit the band Spock’s Beard and his music reflected his new-found faith. Drummer Mike Portnoy joined Morse for many of these projects. Also joining Morse and Portnoy for many of these projects was bassist Randy George. Morse, Portnoy and George have been working on quite a few projects for almost the last 20 years.
In 2015, keyboardist Bill Hubauer (who also founded Apologetix) and Eric Gillette joined Morse, Portnoy, and George to become the Neal Morse Band. They release the album The Grand Experiment.
Finally we get to the point – The Similitude of a Dream is a double CD project that is loosely based on John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The project clocks in at over 100 minutes. I think I discovered it about six months ago and it has been getting heavy play from me – there are classic prog rock moments on this album – jazzy sections – a bluegrass styled song and more. The musicianship is superb. I finally purchased the project and burned it to CD that I listen to in the car. It has been my go to running music. Yes, it is interesting running to prog/rock with the time changes and all, but many times the music matches my stride which is cool.
It’s not music for everyone, but I’ll share a couple of Youtube videos from Neal’s official channel. The first is one of the several instrumentals on the album called “The Slough.”
Clip #2 is Ways of a Fool – a little Beatles influence, a little Beach Boys, a little Kansas.
One last song – “Makes No Sense.” One of my favorites. This theme repeats several times during the rest of the album.
If you like this style of music I encourage you to check it out. By the way, Part 2 titled The Great Adventure, also a double CD project – a sequel to Simitude of a Dream is also available.