Stars

 

When we think of God, we think of the creator of the universe. The beginning and the end. God is omnipresent and omniscient. God sits outside of time and can see all. And we rightly worship a God so great. He deserves our praise and our adoration. By all rights he should really take no notice of us as we are insignificant compared to his glory.

But, amazingly and thankfully that is not how God is. I was sitting around thinking this afternoon about why God would bother hearing my prayers or taking notice of my insignificant problems.

Then as God usually does he placed something in front of me that answered these doubts for me.

Stars by Skillet came on my play-list and listening to the lyrics made me realize that God knows me by name.

You spoke a word and life began
Told oceans where to start and where to end
You set in motion time and space
But still you come and you call to me by name.

Despite the power and the glory of God, he still calls me by name. When I remembered that, my worries didn’t seem so important, or at least I realized I wasn’t in this alone. God hadn’t forgotten me or didn’t think of my problems as insignificant. He remembers my name.

But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

No matter how deep despair you may fall into, or how stressed you may feel from life, God never leaves our side.

The deepest depths, the darkest nights
Can’t separate, can’t keep me from your sight
I get so lost, forget my way
But still you love and you don’t forget my name

When we stray from God, stray from the path God has laid before us, he never leaves us. We may not feel God’s presence, but that is not because he isn’t there, he’s simply waiting for us:

Whenever I fall away
Whenever I start to break
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the one who holds the stars.

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Love Riot

The Newsboys has always been a favorite of mine in the Christian music scene. Not only do I enjoy their music, I have always gotten the sense that while they are very successful in the Christian music scene, they don’t let that keep them from doing the work of God. They have always seemed very humble and caring not only of their fans, but of the “least of these” around the world.  These four men appear to be doing the work of God that He has laid out for them.

The other night, my wife and I took our 15 year old son to see them in concert. What a great show they put on. Of course they played all our favorite hits, full of energy and it was very entertaining as any concert should be. But it was also one of the most moving nights of worship I’ve ever experienced. I truly felt the presence of God among us that night and I fully expect that God did some wondrous things that night in many people.

Michael Tait, lead singer, gave a 10 minute talk as the rest of the band rested partway into the show on the importance of faith in God and trusting Him in the world we live in today. This is something so many on both sides of the political spectrum have forgotten. Something that people on both sides of the racial divide seem to failed to remember. We are all children of God.

At this point, they broke into playing We Believe…which for me was the turning point in the show where I really felt God moving in the building. Many that had been sitting during the first half of the show, jumped to their feet and were truly praising God, including me and my family. At this point it became not just a concert of a good band, but a moment to spend with God in worship!

Of course they went on to play many more of their hits and ended their main set with the drum spinning Jesus Freak.

Coming back out for their encore which finished with one of my favorite songs of theirs, not only musically but because of the message, God’s Not Dead.

The name of their tour and latest album is “Love Riot”. The name says it all really, what if we started a riot, not because of race or political affiliation, but because of love for one another as Jesus loves us all. What if we put as much energy into love as we put into the hatred for one another? How could we change the world?

If only we as believers could come together and pray for our leaders (whether we voted for them or not), if we could pray for our enemies and friends, if we could love one another regardless of color. If we could all remember who we belong to, who has saved us…imagine what we could do as one.

Stryper No More Hell to Pay

Stryper was the first influential Christian heavy metal band to reach a high level of popularity and gained airplay in the 80s.  When the released their album To Hell With the Devil in 1986, they introduced Christianity to a whole culture of heavy metal enthusiast around the world.  How many untold people did they reach with the message of Jesus Christ through their music.  I remember as a teenager, listening to that album over and over.  I became a huge fan….and much to my disappointment, when the went their separate ways in 1992.

Jump forward to 1999 when they briefly reunited for a festival in Puerto Rico and then in 2000 when the original lineup took the stage together for the first time in 8 years, my hopes began to rise for the future.  So in 2005 when they released the album Reborn I was so excited.  The effort wasn’t bad, but to me the production quality had a lot to be desired, even though the tunes weren’t not too bad.   But Stryper was back….I could only hope they kept at it.

Well here we are in 2013, early in the year they re-recorded some classics and released it as the Second Coming.  Now here we are in November and the newest album No More Hell to Pay is upon us.  As I write this I’m listening through for the first time and I can see this is one of the best Stryper albums to come yet.  The message is there, the music is right on for you heavy metal lovers, and the production quality is excellent.  What a great album so far.  Give it a listen, check out the videos released below and listen to the message.  Great stuff.