She’s My Favorite

liz-beach

I really love this image from this past weekend when we visited Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. There’s nothing more relaxing than walking and talking along the beach with my most favorite person in the whole wide world.

As Lazy As An Old Dog

dog sleeping

When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” (MSG)

This challenged me this week. I don’t want to be lazy like an old dog. I want to be fully alert and fully engaged in what God has for me. When I write songs about running to God, I need to be doing the actual running, not just singing about it.

6 Ways Apple Could Make Their New Photos App and iCloud Library Awesome (for me)

  1. ios7_photos_iconReduce the app footprint. Give me the option of whether all, partial or no photos at all are cached on my iPhone. All my photos should still be available but thumbnails will stream to my phone from iCloud instead. I also use iTunes Match – I can stream all my music without having to download and carry around a percentage of my music library and no-one thought of that when developing Photos? The current all or nothing approach for Photos is forcing me to look at alternative solutions.
  2. Make it faster. The Photos app on my phone is slooooow. This is probably because the phone is trying to work with zero space left (see #1). When I click to attach a photo in iMessage, it can take an age for the photos to initially appear.
  3. Help me get rid of my duplicates! Not Apple’s fault, I know, but please include an intelligent duplicate finder and help me reduce the overall size of my photo library.
  4. Better integration with other iOS apps. Sometimes it can be tricky to pull an iCloud photo into Instagram because it doesn’t appear to be downloaded, even when I’ve clicked on it before loading Instagram. To get around this, I created a ‘scratch’ album which I’ll share images to and then pull them from there, or used copy & paste where supported.
  5. Families share photos! I know I can share selected pictures/albums within family sharing. But I want to be able to automatically give access to all my photos to anyone on my family sharing set-up.
  6. iTunes Syncing. The iTunes sync content bar thingy which tells me the ratio of content types that are on my phone displays 82GB for photos (I have a 16GB phone). On top of that, the tool-tip on that bar is accessible right the way across my screen, well off the edge of the iTunes app.

 

Jesus Was Abandoned So You Wouldn’t Have To Be

I was reading through Matthew’s coverage of the Crucifixion a few days back. As Christians we tend to focus on the horrendous physical pain, stress and abuse that Jesus endured because of our sin.

What is often overlooked is the consequences of our sin that Jesus saved us from. Death is one of those, but I believe much worse than that was separation from the Father. For a moment before His last breath, Jesus felt abandoned on that cross.

From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around midafternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (MSG)

In other translations of the bible, it is also written as, “why have you forsaken me?

What does it mean to forsake someone? I looked up some of the synonyms for forsakeabandon, desert, leave, leave high and dry, turn one’s back on, cast aside.

I believe this moment of separation had to be more painful than the any of the accusations, beating, whipping, and abuse that Jesus suffered at the hands of men.

It reminded me, and added extra weight to God’s promise in Heb 13:5, that He would never leave us, or forsake us. After what Jesus went through on the cross, He does not want us to suffer in the same way.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross means that we never have to be separated from our God and Father in heaven. Reconciliation is our move to make.

Free 5 minute countdown video with Baptism theme

I created this simple countdown for our baptism service today. It’s free to download and use how you please.

If you want to use as is, download:

If you have Apple Motion and want to edit it, download:

God Is Not Surprised By Our Actions

Exodus1

Moses’ Story

I was reading through the story of Moses recently (found in Exodus 2). After being found on the river in a basket, Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s household, looked after by his mother.

The bible doesn’t say much about his childhood or if/what he knew about his family origins, but it was apparent that his roots were becoming alive in him.

Moses was starting to resent how Pharaoh and his regime were treating his kin. So much so, that one day Moses lost it and killed an Egyptian whom he caught beating one of his relatives.

When Moses found out later that his action did not go unseen – he panics and runs away.

God’s Story

From the bible, we have a more complete picture of what God was actually doing in Moses’ life. How Moses was placed in a basket and found by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in their household.

Moses was being set up all along to one day lead God’s people out of slavery, he just didn’t know that yet.

Was the murdered Egyptian part of an ideal plan? Probably not. Was running off to Midian to look after some sheep? Probably not.

Was God surprised by any of this? Nope.

Our Story

When reading this I was struck by Moses’ decision to run away. Yes, Pharaoh was trying to kill him so I’ll cut him a little slack, but often we can have similar tendencies to run when we mess up.

We let one mistake jeopardize everything.

God is not surprised by our actions. He knew we were going to mess up before we did. He still wants you to embrace the story you were meant to live. The story that He is writing for your life. Please don’t run away from it.

We’re just coming out of Easter and focusing on the power of the cross, on which Jesus died (in our place) to pay for our sins.  Every single one of them. I mean ALL of them. Your past sins, your current sins, your future sins. All paid for in full.

I like to think the power of the cross transcends all time dimensions and parallel universes. That’s just how I wrap my head around it.

Embrace The Story

At around the age of 80, Moses came back to fulfill God’s plan and eventually led his people out of Egypt.

If you’ve let some sin or hurt in your life sideline you, it’s time to let it go. Don’t hold out. God wants you back now because His story is better. He is not finished with you yet.

STORYCHURCH Set List – 29 Mar 2015

The set for tomorrow is as follows:

  • All My Heart – Alastair Vance (C)
  • Come As You Are – Crowder (A)
  • Forever – Bethel (A)
  • His Glory Appears – Hillsong (D)
  • Scandal Of Grace – Hillsong (G)
  • King Of Heaven – Paul Baloche (G)

There’s no video yet for All My Heart, but you can listen to it below.


Download MP3

Videos

STORYCHURCH Set List – 22 Mar 2015

What’s this? Posting the set list prior to Sunday? Yes! We have a new song coming this weekend called Forever – check it out! Why not start learning it now and be ready on Sunday to sing with us?!

  • Forever (We Sing Hallelujah) – Bethel (A)
  • Your Love Never Fails – Chris McClarney (A)
  • I Am – Crowder (A)
  • God Of This City – BlueTree (B)
  • Jesus Paid It All – Kristen Stanfill (B)
  • Soul On Fire – Third Day (Bb)