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August 15, 2010 / TheCommonCup

Leviticus: Worship=Sacrifice

Spending some time in the Old Testament book of Leviticus. Leviticus has much to do about worship and day-to-day living for the Israelite people following the Exodus from Egypt. It’s full of very specific rules and rituals concerning sacrifices of worship and offerings covering various types of sins. As I read I realize that worship and sacrifice are connected so much that they are the same. Worship cannot happen without sacrifice.

In our modern context Jesus is our sacrificial lamb. He is the eternal blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Our response to that sacrifice is worship. Worship cannot happen outside of Christ. God loves it when we worship Him. My fear is that there are many who walk into churches on Sunday’s or Wednesday’s or whenever and believe that “worship” happens when we stand and sing. This requires so little, if any, sacrifice. When we sing to God we are expressing to Him our gratitude and praise for His sacrifice. We are responding to God for who He is and what He has done for us. But do we really prepare our hearts for this? Are we ready for this coming together with others to worship our God and King? What have we done with our lives since last week?

Is this expression carried over into the things that we say and the way that we live? Is worship more to us that a weekend ritual? True worship comes at a sacrifice of self. In Romans chapter 12:1-2 we are called to commit our bodies as living sacrifices to God, holy and pleasing to Him, as our spiritual act of worship. Since we no longer need a blood sacrifice – Jesus asks that we give to Him our lives.

Following Christ is a sacrifice. It’s a sacrifice of my desires, my dreams, my wants, my needs, my hopes, my decisions, my likes, my dislikes, my way of life – turned completely over to Him. It’s sacrifices all of the “my”‘s for “His” – His dreams, His wants, His needs, His hopes, His decisions, His likes, His dislikes, His way of life. In John 14:6 Jesus reminds us that He is the Way-Truth-Life for us to follow and completely live by. He is our Way to life. Not just a way but the Way. Jesus is it.

Do you care as much about worshiping Jesus to put as much time and effort into it as the Old Testament Israelite’s did? To them, and to God, worship is a serious business that requires more than melody and harmony and an acoustic guitar…

Worship is sacrifice.
We know so little of this.

“This is what the LORD was speaking about when he said, ‘I must be respected as holy by those who come near me; before all the people I must be given honor.’ ” – Leviticus 10:3 NCV

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August 13, 2010 / TheCommonCup

Are You A Christian Hipster?

Take the quiz here to find out: http://www.hipsterchristianity.com/quiz.php

My Christian Hipster Quotient is 63/120
Low CHQ. You probably belong to the purpose-driven, seeker sensitive, Hawaiian shirt-wearing Christian establishment, even though you are open to some of the “rethinking Christianity” stuff. You seem to like edginess in some measure but become uneasy when your idea of Christian orthodoxy is challenged by some renegade young visionary who claims the virgin birth isn’t necessary.

This fits me perfectly.
Eerily perfect.

August 13, 2010 / TheCommonCup

If You Could Be On The Cover Of Any Magazine Which One Would It Be?

A&P with my bros in Rhodora.
Check us out at http://www.myspace.com/rhodoraofficial

I love playing music with these guys. Some of the best musician’s I’ve played with who are passionate about their love for God and love for people and love for making extremely worshipful heavy music. It’s such a great outlet of a new genre of worship music at least for me. I love being able to write praises to my God knowing that it will performed like this. It’s just awesome.

Ask me anything

August 13, 2010 / TheCommonCup

The Red Letters Project: The Book Of Matthew

I just received The Red Letters Project: The Book Of Matthew from TheOoze. On first glance at the packaging I was really excited. Good artwork. Great idea. The idea of writing music for the entire book of Matthew in every section where Jesus speaks makes me excited. Some of the best songs ever written have already been written in the pages of Scripture. What better way to emphasize the truth from Christ than singing His own words back to Him in worship.

I’m listening through and am a little torn. It’s not bad… but the music comes across a little cheesy. It’s rock and roll. There is some obvious auto tuning on the singer’s voice, and we’re not talking T-Pain or Imogen Heap. We’re talking he needed some auto tune and it wasn’t mixed in as well as it could have been so it’s noticeable. He also remarkably sounds like Mark Hall from Casting Crowns and TobyMac from dcTalk/TobyMac had a genetic mishap and we smashed together.

The sound quality reminds me of a Christian rock album in the early 90’s late 80’s. (That’s not the best. Christian rock has come a long way.) Again the music isn’t bad. It’s actually written pretty well with the constraints of lyrically only being the red letters of Jesus in the book of Matthew. I just get this feeling that these guys are trying hard to be dcTalk from the Jesus Freak era and failing. With all that said… I’m bobbing my head and tapping my feet.

The lyrics sometimes feel a bit awkward as far as placement and flow. This is really heard in the rap/rock sections (yes… rap/rock… think- hey we stole this riff from Linkin Park). It’s even worse whenever the vocalist tries to cram whole paragraphs into a few moments. It’s just rough.

This is a noble attempt, it’s a great idea. It just comes across as a decade late. I’m not joking when I say that if this had come out in 1999-2002 it would have been one of the top projects in Christians music/media circles. I can see booths at Creation Festival dedicated to the project. The music is just tired. I’ve heard it all before (sometimes it seems to familiar). It’s not bad… it’s just… well… yeah… bad.

August 13, 2010 / TheCommonCup

The Most Dangerous Place For The Human Heart

“A caution to aspiring artists:  The most dangerous place for the human heart is on a stage.” – Jimmy Needham

“The human heart under the right circumstances is capable of doing anything.” – Matt Wilkins

“Guard your heart above all else for it is the source of life.” – King Solomon (Proverbs 4:23 HCSB)

“A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” – Jesus (Luke 6:45 HCSB)

“As the water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person.” – King Solomon (Proverbs 27:19 HCSB)



August 6, 2010 / TheCommonCup

iPod Game

I normally don’t participate in this sort of thing, but I always have fun with this.

RULES:
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS.
4. Have Fun!

IF SOMEONE SAYS ‘ARE YOU OKAY’ YOU SAY ?
55/23 – Winter Solstice – The Fall Of Rome

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Heavy Metal Machine (Alternate Take) – Smashing Pumpkins – Machinea II: The Friends And Enemies Of Modern Music

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GIRL/GUY?
Oh My God – Jars Of Clay – Good Monsters

HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Sticks And Stone – Jónsi – How To Train Your Dragon (Music From The Motion Picture)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
I Got Punched In The Nose For Sticking My Face In Other People’s Business – Boys Night Out – Make Yourself Sick

WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO?
Everything Was White – Demon Hunter – Summer Of Darkness

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Spirit Fall – Living Sacrifice – Reborn

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Eurydice (feat. Jody Quine) – Sleepthief – The Dawnseeker

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Moving On – Embodyment – Hold Your Breath

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
On The Receiving End (Celestial Remix) – Micah Andrew Hasty – Sinking And Surfacing

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Moving On – Decyfer Down – Crash

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
So You Say – Norway – Cheapskates (The Softer Side)

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Reckoning Day – John Mark McMillan – The Medicine

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Savannah – Relient K – Forget And Not Slow Down

WHAT IS YOUR PASSION IN LIFE?
Diverse City (Club-a-dub Remix) – Toby Mac – Renovating Diverse City

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR?
A.M. Radio – Everclear – Songs from an American Movie, Vol. 1 Learning How to Smile

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Rediscover You – Starfield – The Saving One

WHAT DO YOU WANT RIGHT NOW?
Sellout – Living Sacrifice – Reborn

WHAT DOES YOUR LOVE THINK ABOUT YOU?
Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise

August 6, 2010 / TheCommonCup

A Smoky Room With The Smell Of Wine And Cheap Perfume

I’ve been here before. A smoky room with the smell of wine and cheap perfume. I’m playing an acoustic set tonight at the Kirkley hotel in Lynchburg, Virginia. It’s a good venue. Well, it’s a bar, lounge, thing, place. There are good people here. I came tonight being booked at the last-minute. I threw together a list of songs, that I know and don’t know. For some reason I feel like this whole thing is just time away to think. My good friend Justin Snyder is opening up the night. He’s a great musician, check him out.

There are so many people who come into this place. Being a hotel there are people from all around the country in this room. So many people. So many families represented. So much love in the room. So much loss. In a room like this I wonder how many people are lost. I wonder how many have never found the true love of Jesus. Many in this room are good. There are good men and women all around us every day. And everyday good men and women die. They die for no reason, the die because they are sick, they die because they are old, they die because the world is broken and hurting and in need of rescue. A good man died today that I knew. A good man lived today that I knew. I just realized I’m speaking of him in past tense. A good man is in a better place than I have ever known. There are good people everywhere that die. Not all of them keep on living.

Justin just did a beautiful cover of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. So good. His writing is beautifully honest. I’ve found I long for more honest people. Probably because I never feel like I’m ever completely honest with myself about anything.

I’m sorry that this has become just a great mess of thought. Thanks for reading it.