Death. Sounds. Reasonable.

Just before Christmas, I was mixing sound for a “Glee-style” vocal/dance ensemble of about 16 high-schoolers. These are not your typical high-schoolers. Well maybe they are… if you high-schoolers can sing every note in a 4 octave range, tap dance, do splits, and make every audience member feel like they are sitting on the first row – all at the same time. They are good because they have an amazing team of directors supporting and teaching them. When it comes time to hire an audio guy, there is a very high caliber of quality expected. And they expect the same excellence from behind the mixing board as from the stage.

We set about rehearsing, and the Music Director started asking me to fix things in the mix that just wasn’t hearing. (Geek note: not just i missed it – like he’s like, “hear that?” and i’m like, “uhh… no?”). Needless to say, my quality control sensors went on high alert for the rest of the rehearsal and event. I found myself fully invested into every moment of every song. My heartbeat followed the tempo. My exhale waited for the vocalist to hit each and every note. My body contorted in something like dance that was a mix between the rhythm of the song and my total emotional involvement. I dared not think that my life would last any further than just a beat more.

I gave my all for that show. I got paid, but what I gave cannot be supplemented by any amount of money. As the show ended, the audience applauded and all stood in ovation to these very talented children. I didn’t hear them. I didn’t see them. I didn’t come back to reality until nearly all the audience had exited and now numerous VIPs were shaking my hand and telling that it “was the best the kids have ever sounded”.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Col 3:23-24

It’s easy to regulate how much we put into something based o what we’re getting out of it. “I’m only getting paid $10 an hour. They’re only getting $10 of work outta me!” That’s an easy, real-world example of what we put in to a transaction between men. What about when you’re not working for men? How about when you’re working for your family? Does that have a price based on what your family gives back to you? How about when you get on a super-creative binges and you start doodling, building, whatever? No one may ever see your creation, but you’ve invested into that, and likely gotten nothing but a satisfaction that it was complete. What about when you are working for God? How much does He pay you? How much work do you put into that?

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 reasonable act of worship.

Rom 12:1

Read it again. Stop. I said read it again.

Yeah. It says, “offer your bodies”  What?! That means I might die while vacuuming the church sanctuary! And I’d have to be ok with that!

Yep. Not only that. It says, “this is your REASONABLE act of worship”  You giving your all and DYING is only reasonable. It’s adequate. If someone came up to me after that show and said to me, “That wasn’t terrible. You gave your all, did your best and are physically drained. And we’ll settle for that if we have to. We think the mix sounded reasonable.” I probably would’ve just passed out in shock.

Not everyone will take this verse as literally as I have. But here is something to ponder (by that I mean stop thinking about it and start doing it). God deserves requires our everything. There’s nothing else worth saving your strength for.

When Jesus comes back, he’s gonna catch me doing something totally, stupidly, irrationally dangerous that will bless His name.

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Worship Is, as Worship Does.

Worship is that time in church before the preacher guy comes up, and after they pray, right?

Or, when we clap our hands when the pastor says, “Lift up a shout of praise!” Then we clap. (Dunno why. He said “shout”. Hands don’t shout.)

Or, when we still very still and very quietly, with hands folded for a very long time. (Dunno what that does either. Seems like a tricky game of Sleeping Lion, where you aren’t allowed to go to sleep.)

Or, when we give something like money, or volunteering, It shows what good people we are.

Worship is a person walking around with a sense of adoration, amazement, and ecstasy toward God. They aren’t worried about things not being perfect. Not worried about somebody’ else’s obnoxiousness.

But lets talk about churchy worship. Ya know, before that preacher guy starts talking us into Boresville. That band (well that’s what they call themselves) comes up and starts playing some upbeat tune that you really enjoy (you don’t know how you know this song, but you like it. Come to think of it, you don’t even know where you first heard this song. They don’t play it on the radio. Can you even remember a different band’s version of this song? Me either). The ‘band’ was rocking pretty good until the preacher interrupted them to pray. Now they’re going back into it, but that guitarist can’t seem to keep up with the drummer (which is super weird, because they’re like 12 feet from each other. And I’ve heard rumors that that drummer has caused 2 people to need inner-ear-reconstructive-surgery). And that soloist’s vibrato is as wide as her hips (she must have to purchase a whole row of seat’s on airplanes. 2 for her hips and 3 more for that voice).

Well now they’re done. Preacher guy asks us to give said ‘band’ a round of applause. We all applaud (mostly because that means they’re leaving the stage, which is the biggest blessing I’ve gotten since my Christmas Bonus). Now the preacher tells us to bow our heads and talk to God in our own way (no one ever says anything. This place makes libraries look like night clubs).

Now preacher-man starts telling Aunt Ruth’s paulbearers to come up and distribute bowls for us to put money in (why do these guys where those awful purple suede blazers? They don’t even go with black… they’re that purple. They do somehow compliment the carpet though). Oh crap! That guitarist is coming back onstage! (Didn’t we just get rid of him?) He announces that he’s been inspired to write a song. Great. You recognize this sing too. But it has a completely different set of elements to it. Oh yeah… this is a Johnny Cash tune. This guy just changed the lyrics… not much either… and that doesn’t rhyme. And we applaud again.

Preacher-man gets us to stand up to read from the Good Book. This is your favorite part. Not because you like to read. No. (He talks so fast, no one can even find the right passage, never mind following along. This is the only place where people get read to – outside of elementary school). You like this time because this is the first time blood has entered your legs since the ‘band’ had their last ‘gig’.

Preacher-man continues with a really wordy lecture about walking what you talk. This guy is the king of quotable phrases (he also has the most amazing accent. But that doesn’t do it justice. Its more like an entire persona he operates in. It’s like Georgia native meets football fan, meets Red Bull, meets bad comedian, meets used car salesman).

Whadda know? It’s time to leave. On your way out you think, “I really wish this church met me on my level.”

Is it really them?
Is it really you?
Should they spoon feed you?
Should you dive in?

Yep.

If you were ready…

You’re not ready.

I can tell. If you were, you wouldn’t be looking around like you had never been here before. You’d be less worried about that piece of paper and more worried about what you can’t see. If you were ready, you’d already be moving. You’d be pacing, jumping, yelling. You didn’t walk in here ready. Since you’re not ready, you’re going to be left behind. This is going somewhere. There isn’t time for you to get ready. You knew this day was coming. Now its here. And you wonder why you aren’t moving.

You will have plenty of comments about why you weren’t ready. You’ll also comment on how all this is moving in the wrong direction. And you’ll rationalize into a conclusion that it is right of you to stay there. Standing. Distracted. Confused. Stagnant. Holding. Dead.

 

The band is taking the stage.

The screen is filling up.

There’s a cloud in the East.

 

I was ready when I walked in. If you weren’t, you can watch me go. I will jump higher. I will go faster. I will rise.

I will because I’m ready. I have been. I started getting ready last week, 24 hours ago, 20-some years ago.

I’m ready. Send me.

Ever say that? Ever meant it?

I have. I’ve said it and not meant it. But over the last 6 months I’ve said it more often than usual. And I’ve meant it every time.

 

“Oh. Thats good. So do I… so do I. Why wouldn’t I mean it?”

 

No. I mean it like this.

By ready, I mean: I’m mentally ready. I’ve thought thru what it might mean to be sent. And I’m OK with that.

By ready, I mean: I’m ready physically: The tools of my trade are packed. The gifts and talents God has given are ready and honed.

I’ve actually contemplated which things I’d take when I get sent. And how long it would take to pack them.

By ready, I mean: I’m ready to be sent even without those things.

 

Meanwhile, my life is vamping until the big entrance (or exit – as it may be).

 

Is 6:8, Jer 1:6-8, Mat 4:19, Jo 20:21, 1Cor 1:17-18

Seriously. I’m not serious. Pipe Dreams.

Stereo Hands.

There are quite a few aspects of life where Stereo Hands help out. Alot.

One of them is being serious. And totally not serious. Seriously. Haha.

I am a planner. I plan stuff a year in advance sometimes. And not just “Oh yeah, I’m going to do that next year.” Its more like “I am going to do that next year. And here are the clothes I’m going to wear. And I will need to get gas before I leave. And I will need to exactly 7 screws, 1 3/4” long, #6 hexagon head, drywall drive, galvanized (and the hardware doesn’t carry them, so I’ll be ordering them online). That kind of planning. That’s serious.

But there’s a certain someone who thinks its amusing to mess up my plans. Thats why my plan is serious. But as soon as its created, I make it into a big joke. I don’t care if I immediately throw it away. A bunch of work down the toilet. I just ran audio for an event. This is my 2nd year running this event and I remembered to equipment inventory pretty well. So as soon as they called this year (and by “as soon as”, I mean as soon as the she hung up the phone) I started mapping out my paperwork on how the audio system would be put together. In fact, I did it twice (correction: I saved 2 different system designs. I really threw out a couple that I didn’t think would work). One of the designs was pretty similar to what I did last year, and very realistic. The second, was totally extravagant. I dreamed up gear I wished they would bring, etc. Pretty serious, huh? Pipe dreams.

Well as I started unloading the gear it all looked fine. I mentally checked it off, and was content using my “realistic” design. Pipe dreams. The more gear I hooked up, the more I found to be broken. I had used all this gear a year before. But it had been neglected and abused. Thus broken stuff. For a few moments, I tried to salvage my plan and fix the equipment and turn around my situation. Pipe dreams. I to totally setup off the cuff. It was stressful. But the only person who really knew my troubles was me. I decided my plan wasn’t that serious.

Click this link. Its not dangerous. I promise.

Toss me

I have a very short time to do the things on my plate. I have long-term deadlines, mid-term deadlines, short-term deadlines, immediate deadlines, yesterday deadlines, “oh didn’t I tell you I needed…”-deadlines. Not only do I have deadlines that are on the clock, but I have physical deadlines (eg: my body is only gonna wake up at 4am and work til 1am, without sleep for so many years). God has given me only a few days on this earth (look it up. I’ll make it convenient: here, and here).

My body is disposable. Yep, one-time-use. Like a napkin. I don’t try to save napkins. I dirty them up, rip them and toss them. I don’t feel bad about it. I might feel bad about throwing a way a new napkin though. But they have been created to be used! So have I!

I am not here for 70-80 years just to die. My body will die. My legacy will die. So I should use it and abuse it while it is still here. I would like to die because I put my body through so much crap spreading the the Love of Jesus (if you don’t know what that is, read the last paragraph). A guy named Paul said it well: “here“. My spirit is designed to praise Him.

I have deadlines. But only one really counts.

I have a ton of work to do. But only one job.

My spirit is designed to praise Him.

My body is designed to be destroyed for His deadline.

What did you expect?

This song is the soundtrack for this post:
Push PLAY. Read.

Play

I did a lot of stuff this week. It probably wasn’t necessarily more or less than I normally do. But it was still a lot.
BUT today is the day of the week when that changes! Its Friday. Lots of people mark the end of their work week today. It’s the start of the weekend!

Not for me. From Friday morning through Monday midday is the busiest portion of my week. And I love it. Not because I enjoy the busyness either.
I setup all the video/slideshow type stuff for my church. Most of that info comes to me on Thursday or Friday. So Friday is the day to get that stuff squared away. And then I go to work… til like 1-2 o’clock in the morning.

So Saturday comes around (I think. Did we have a Saturday last time? I can’t remember). I wake up, check my email, etc to make sure there are no changes to the stuff I did Friday. Once I accommodate those, its time for work again… til like 1-2 o’clock in the morning.

And here – right in the middle of my crazy weekend – is my favorite spot in the whole week. I pack up my computer and pick out clothes for Sunday. I grab my trusty iPhone and hit the showers! Yep. Me and the iPhone in the shower. Pandora Radio gets turned up, and I take a LONG shower. And I totally stop. Dead. Stop.
The hot water washes rational, critical thinking out of my head. The music fills the void. And I live for those minutes, on pure audio sensory. The drum becomes my heartbeat, the guitar becomes my gut, the bass becomes the momentum that makes me function, and the vocals become my conscious thought.

By the time I run out of hot water, any inkling of Monday through Friday has disintegrated. I’m excited that its now 3 am (if I’m lucky) and my alarm is going to go off in about 3 hours. My phone is still playing. It gets plugged into my stereo system, and my bedroom fills with melody. I lay in bed listening, singing, praying, and amazed at a Creator.

My Sundays are always awesome.

What did you expect?
If you have low expectations, you’ll only be looking at lowly things. Expecting gloriousness, looks for glory.