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60 Day Walk – High Places

Posted by jon on April 17, 2012 in but seriously... |

Today’s post is the second of 2 articles I worte for Lawrence Drive’s blog on the book of Romans as a part of the 60 Day Walk.

Romans 11-15

Today in the reading I am so drawn to Paul’s Doxology at the end of Romans 11.

“Oh, the depth of the riches
of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable His judgments,
and His paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever!
Amen.

It is such a beautifully high view of who God is. If our worship of God focused on such a high view of God our worship would grow stale. We would be so overwhelmed by the grace of such a great God that we couldn’t do anything but worship.

This Doxology leads us into Romans 12.1 (one of the most famous passages in Scripture). It is with this high view of God that Paul says we are to offer our very lives as a spiritual act of worship. What are our lives here when seen in the light of God’s majesty? What is it the we value in this life that could compare with God’s limitless love and grace? Not money. Not fame. Not ball games. Not even the love we have for our own children can compare to the love of God. There is nothing this world can offer that is not a pale and hollow substitute for the joy of the Lord.

So it is with a high view of God and low view of earthly trappings that we are called out of this world. We are no longer conformed to its values, but God is transforming us into His Kingdom. In Romans 12.9-21 Paul describes what it will love like when we are a part of God’s Kingdom. We see a people of sincere, total love. A people who hate evil but love and care for even those who do evil. Not a wrathful people, but a people call to live in peace. How is it that we can achieve these things? “In Him and through Him and for Him” we lay down our lives and our pride for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.

What holds the highest place in your life?

God is Everywhere
To find out more on the 60 Day Walk and other ministryies of Lawrence Drive Baptist Church visit:

www.LawrenceDrive.org
or
facebook.com/LawrenceDrive

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60 Day Walk – How Does Faith Live

Posted by jon on April 11, 2012 in but seriously... |

Today’s post is an article I worte for Lawrence Drive’s blog as a part of the 60 Day Walk. We are on a 60 day journey to read through the New Testament.

Romans 7-10

In today’s reading Paul writes much about his struggles with the law. Paul, in his old life, was a lot most of us. He grew up in and around church. He knew the things to say and how “look” spiritual. His whole life was about keeping a set of rules.

Unfortunately, rules don’t save us. At best rules can modify our behavior to make us “look” holy. If we’re lucky we might follow the rules long enough to condition ourselves to live like real Christians. In Romans 10.5 Paul says, “…righteousness by the law is ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’”

“The man who does…”, Rules are about what we can do. It is the same sin Adam and Eve were guilty of in the garden, they wanted to be like God. When we live our lives by a set of rules it is for our own recognition, it puts the redemptive work in our hands. But in the end rules will lead you one of two conclusions, self-loathing or self-exaltation and neither are of God. Either we will despise our inability to follow the rules and assure ourselves that God despises us equally, or we will be so proud of what we’ve done we will have no need for God at all.

We are not a people of rules. Like Paul, we must step out of a life governed by rules, a life where we try to look like Christians. We are a people of faith. We are saved by faith in God’s grace. We live in faith that God’s sovereignty is sufficient for our needs. Romans 10.8 says, “But what does [faith] say? ‘The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.’” We live by faith that it is not what we can do to change ourselves, but it is God at work in our lives changing us from the inside out.

I hope that by faith God is using this 60 Day Walk in the New Testament to change you.

God is Everywhere
To find out more on the 60 Day Walk and other ministryies of Lawrence Drive Baptist Church visit:

www.LawrenceDrive.org
or
facebook.com/LawrenceDrive

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What Makes a Good Parent? Not This.

Posted by jon on April 9, 2012 in not so deep thoughts |

These were pictures were sent to me by my dad. Some make me laugh. Some make me sad. Some make me wonder if everyone should be allowed to have kids.

 

 

Great men of genius

Yeah, just put that in a togo bag for me #justhadababy

 

This is a funny picture till you find out the next day she took over her sister's lower bunk and is now occupying her brother's room across the hall

 

I don't have enough words to explain how wrong this is

 

Way to teach your kid to have WAY too much faith in the safety provided by glass

 

Even the kid in this picture knows how bad an idea this is

 

"Mom, Bobby's feeding the camel and the sign says don't feed the animals but he is!"

 

That's a green family. Conserving gas and recycling that bucket

 

Yeah, I'm guilty

 

Have a good day. God is Everywhere.

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Love is More Than a Hotdog

Posted by jon on April 4, 2012 in but seriously... |

“Love” is a word that is used way too much. “Love” and “awesome” are both words that have lost their power because of the way they have been too casually thrown around. “Awesome” should mean you are rendered speechless or that the weight of a moment has so overwhelmed you that it is hard to breathe. Instead we use “awesome” to refer to a hotdog, or something equally mundane. An “awesome” hotdog would be one some spectacular that we wept at its beauty and grandeur. We would gather as a people and exclaim, “I love that awesome hotdog!” Alas, that is not the case. An awesome hotdog is still just a hotdog. “Love” has suffered similarly.

We love a lot. We love things, we love people, we love pets, we love causes, we love ideas, we even “make love”. We use “love” as a greeting, a verb, an adjective, and we’re surprised when people don’t know what “I love you” means.

It’s an easy thing to say, “I love you”. Any child or moron can say “I love you”, but it’s totally different to mean it and to understand it. My daughter says, “I love you”, and she means as best as she can. But she does not understand what that love is. She knows I love her, but she has no idea how deep that love runs or how all consuming it is. When she says “love” it is an attempt to capture all the affection and gratitude she feels toward me.

It’s fine for a child to use love without understanding, but we seem to be having trouble growing out of that. We find “I love you” taking the place of phrases like, “I desire you”, & “I want you” and they are not the same as “I love you” at all. Love sacrifices everything for the benefit of the beloved. True love is willing to sacrifice even itself, and especially itself before harming its beloved. Desires and wants sacrifice everything to have its love. Desire cannot content itself with the beloved’s joy. No, desire only finds satisfaction in its own ends. Wants are blind to needs, and wants will always seek to supersede the needs of others for its own benefit.

Be wary friends, of those who would say, “I love you”, but not put your happiness ahead of their own. Do not trust those who say, “I love you”, but who refuse to seek the best for you. Flee from anyone who would say, “I love you”, but who would subvert truth.

In short, love is so much more than what we are willing to settle for. The Scripture describes love as kind, humble, trusting, patient, honest, and persevering. Love is resilient and will not fail. Don’t let yourself settle for anything less than the love God created us for. Don’t settle for an “awesome” hotdog.

God is Everywhere

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God is Everywhere, Especially Here

Posted by jon on March 26, 2012 in but seriously..., family and friends |

As I sit down to write this week’s blog I am having trouble concentrating. This is the view that I am having to try to block out so that I can focus on writing something meaningful and entertaining. I know, woe is me. I am sure that many of you are crying for me. Don’t worry, somehow I will be fine.

Perhaps it is time for a reintroduction. For those of you who are new to “God is Everywhere”, this is a blog about my assertion that God is everywhere (I know…mind blowing stuff). It’s not some universalist blither about “God is tree man” or “we are all God”. No, I am writing from the position that God, who is both creator and redeemer, is at work in our lives on a daily basis for our benefit and God’s glory, and if we will look around we might just catch a glimpse of the Big Man at work.

It’s easy sitting here by the ocean, with a breeze chilling the beginnings of evening, to see the hand of God at work. The scene here sings of God’s glory. The constant thrum of the waves is the bass line while the sun’s reddening reflection provides just the right counterpoint as it moves closer to the horizon. The wind sings its melody as it carries the flesh sea air and birds know just when to chime in with the harmony. And if that were all we would have to say that God’s masterpiece stood unrivaled, but master maestro isn’t quite done. At just the right moment in God’s symphony the perfect accents notes come when a child, overcome with the joy of the scene, lets out a precious squeal of delight.

Oh yes, God is everywhere. And you don’t have to go to a beautiful hide away to see it. But it is sure is easy here. Enjoy to the song God has written just for us.

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Left Overs For Lunch “Pink Terror”

Posted by jon on March 20, 2012 in not so deep thoughts |

In today’s post we revisit an experience from Macon’s Cherry Blossom Festival several years ago. It was the topic of one of my very first “God is Everywhere” posts. So I hope you enjoy some left overs.

Its spring in Macon, GA and for many people that means it’s time to bring out all things pink for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Personally I have no problem most things pink. I have even been known to rock the pink shirt from time to time, in a manly way of course (I have yet to delve into the arena of pink pants and I think we’d all agree that’s a good thing). However I am quite disturbed by the lengths “the pink” is taken by some in our fair city.

Honestly if you’re not at least bothered by this picture of a ferocious pink poodle then you should see someone, you need help. How does that even come up as a good idea? Are two folks sitting around one evening, “I’m really excited about the Cherry Blossom Festival!” “Me too, I know, let’s dye the dog pink!!!” Actually, anytime dog dyeing is brought up it’s a good indication that things have gotten out of hand. I could be wrong but I can’t think of anything that warrants the coloring of a canine. Let’s think, child birth, marriage, graduation, the blooming of an indigenous plant? No, I’ve got nothing. And let’s face it this dog looks none too happy.

Maybe it’s not about the pink. Perhaps it’s just an excuse for a party, some fair food and questionably assembled ride run by even more questionable personnel. Seriously, nothing says I’m qualified to handle heavy machinery quite like that unwashed staff t-shirt, and the beat up RV parked behind the ride. Where do I buy my tickets?

All in all though, we had a good time. There’s something about a turkey leg and $5 coke mixed with flashing lights and a funnel cake that even today can capture one’s imagination. Sitting with my daughter I think we were equally transfixed by the whole experience. For her it was all larger than life and for me not only could I remember those feelings but to see her experience it is just as special. We all need a time where we can suspend our cynicism and just enjoy those experiences that can unify all of us in a sense of wonder. Of course, even at her young age I think intuitively Cee knew that there was something seriously wrong with that pink pooch.

Until next time, God is Everywhere.

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A Helpful Guide to Fill Your Ipod

Posted by jon on March 13, 2012 in music and videos |

With the release of new music, Tuesdays are good days to evaluate the state of your ipod. And if on your quarter week perusal you find your music to be a bit lacking…relax. I am here to help. I’ll give you 5 recommendations to bring life back to your saddest playlist. I promise you will enjoy what we have in store today. So here we go!


“White Flag” Passion
Released just today I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and this is one of the best Passion worship CD’s in a while (and that is saying a lot). The record was recorded at Passion 2012 in the Georgia Dome with 40,000 college students, and it features songs from Chris Tomlin (of course), Matt Redman, David Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, and others. The title track “White Flag” is a powerful anthem of surrender and victory that is sure to find its way into many worship sets for years to come. Other notable tracks include (but are not limited to): “Jesus Son of God”, “All This Glory”, “One Thing Remains”, and “Not Ashamed”.

 

“Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass In C [The Happiest of All Keys])” David Crowder* Band
This is the final album from the DCB, but they might have saved the best for last. If nothing else you will get your money’s worth in the title alone. Not only is it a great album in itself but it is full of layers of meaning from the title to the track list (even the length of the some songs is significant). So there is definitely something for everyone. Some must hear tracks are: “Let Me Feel You Shine”, “Oh Great Love of God”, “Oh Great God, Give Us Rest”, and a truly moving version of “Because He Lives” (a great way to end the DCB).

 

“Counting Stars” Andrew Peterson
This is the latest release from my favorite songwriter. If you can listen to “Dancing in the Minefields” without remembering why you fell in love with your spouse then congats your heart is made of stone. It is a touching piece of art that expresses Andrew and draws in the listener and makes them feel it is their song. Some absolute must listen tracks are: “Dancing in the Minefields”, “Fool With a Fancy Guitar”, and “The Reckoning (How Long)”.

 

Boyce Avenue
This isn’t a CD recommendation, but it is a MUST. If you are familiar with Boyce Avenue then you know and if you’re not, do yourself a favor and spend the next 30min on their YouTube channel (then come back and say thank you). Support them by purchasing some tracks on itunes, but plan on spending some time on their channel once you go (make sure you look to some of their older stuff). Here’s a starter set: “Slide”, “Perfect”, “Last Kiss”, and “Keep Holding On” (Just to name a few).

 

“Summer Session” the AMP band
As a totally unbiased observer I would have to say that this is a great CD that showcases a great group of young people. You will enjoy new takes on some favorite worship songs. This is the first, and hopefully not the last, project that has come out of AMP Student Ministries. Notable tracks include: “Revelation Song”, “Beautiful Things”, and “No One Like You”.

You can buy “Summer Sessions” on iTunes or ampstudents.org/store

 

So there you go. Enjoy. God is Everywhere

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Tune Your Guitar

Posted by jon on March 6, 2012 in but seriously... |

This weekend I was at Passion City Church in Atlanta for the LIFT Worship Collective. Louie Giglio and the folks at Passion put on an amazing event. It was a great time of encouragement and refocusing that was very much needed. There wasn’t a lot of technical training in worship, but that was ok. If there is one thing the church spends way too much time talking about its “how” we worship. After 14 years of leading worship (I throw that in to add authority to what I’m about to say) if I can make any observation it would be that there are many Christian who hold in higher esteem the “way” they worship over the God they claim to love.

So what was the main point of the weekend? For me it was a reminder of position we hold in the body of Christ. Each week we invite the people of God into the presence of the Almighty. It was a new perspective on an awesome truth that we too casually handle. We, a sad and broken people, have access to a holy and good God, who is at the same time terrifying in His grandeur and amazing in His grace. We invite the people of God into that full experience of being overwhelmed by His greatness and comforted by His great love that overcomes all our inadequacies.

But I think what really made this event special was that it was the first time I got to experience with the some of the people who mean the most to me. This was the first time Tiff and I have every gone to worship centered conference like this and we had a great time worshiping together. I also got to bring the rest of the AMP band along (my student worship band), and to see their understanding of worship and their responsibility grow made the whole weekend worth it a hundred times over.

As we got home and started talking over what we had experienced it was interesting how many different things everyone took away but how they all came back to the same truth. That truth is, “tune your guitar”. I wish I could take credit for guiding my students to this, but alas they came up with this on their own. But perhaps I should elaborate slightly.

During our first session Louie was speaking and, half joking, he told us the technical portion of the weekend could be summed up in quote from David Crowder, “tune your guitar.” Now, by itself this is excellent advice for all guitarists (and sadly it is too often overlooked). However, the greater truth in what Crowder and Louie were saying is that we should give our very best to the Lord in worship (and in every other aspect of our lives for that matter). We should be constantly improving our craft, and be prepared for God to use us. If that means simply being in tune, or learning our parts, or growing and developing as a musician we bring excellence to our worship.

But what made me so proud was how the students took that truth to the next level. For us, tune your guitar means we prepare ourselves musically and technically, and prepare our hearts to lead people into the holy presence of God the same way we prepare our instruments. We position ourselves in an attitude of humbleness and allow all the glory to the God who is worthy. And as we tune our hearts toward God we find our hearts in tune together to be our most effective as leaders.

Not bad right?!? Man those students must have an awesome youth pastor!

But what if we tuned our guitars to worship God in everything we did? What if we tuned our lives to be so God centered that everything passed through the lens of a holy perspective? How would it look if we were more in love with God of worship than the god of Worship?

God is Everywhere

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One Year Later

Posted by jon on February 29, 2012 in not so deep thoughts |

It has been a full year since the last time I posted on my blog. A lot has happened in the Coder house in the past year, and I am thankful for it. I was struck today as I wrote this post and prepared my lesson for AMP tonight that we often fail to look back at how God has specifically worked in our lives.

Tonight we looked at the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18. It is a favorite of mine. Elijah verses the prophets of Baal. We see an example of an amazing acting of God, done right in front of the people of Israel. Elijah asks God to act and God immediately sends fire to consume the sacrifice, the water and even the alter itself. Elijah saw God work, and saw God work in the lives of the people. But in the very next chapter we find him hiding in a hole because the rulers wanted to kill him. He had completely forgotten that he served a God who could act beyond Elijah’s limitation.

So, as I reflect on the past year I am reminded of, and sometimes startled by, the grace of God shown to my family. It has not been a daily dance in the flowers, but looking back it is easy to see the hand of God at work constantly guiding us through, bringing us together as a family and drawing us closer to God. We have weathered sickness and physical strain, dealt with financial burdens, I even released a CD (which is currently available on itunes or at www.ampstudents.org/store), we’ve fought and laughed, and most importantly welcomed in a new member to the family.

Over the summer we were blessed with the addition of Little Jon, and there was an instant sense that our family is complete. One boy, one girl and a dog (and a fish, but they don’t count), yep, we are blessed indeed.

But too often I find myself like Elijah. Elijah feared those who opposed God even after God had demonstrated His ability and faithfulness to overcome. Likewise, I forget about all the blessings and grace God has shown and instead focus on the same old fears and shortcomings that God defeated ages ago. Look back over the past year and you will be amazed how you see God working. Where there was once chaos and calamity I think you will see where God navigated you through to get you to where you are today. And if as you read this you are in the midst of chaotic times, know that we serve a God who is still in the business of delivering His people. As I look back over a year of my life I feel that I can say with a new perspective, God is Everywhere.

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How Many Kings

Posted by jon on February 28, 2011 in music and videos |

This past Christmas The AMP Band had an opportunity to lead in worship at our annual Carols by Candlelight event. The evening was entitled “How Many Kings” and it featured some new Christmas songs but mostly modern arrangements of some classics.

I’ve finally gotten these videos of the evening together to post. I hope you all enjoy them as much as we enjoyed playing them.

God is Everywhere.

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