Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

With or Without You


i remember the first time i heard With or Without You by U2... well, i remember the first time i really listened to it, i should say. it was the spring of 1987... i was 13 years old. we were riding back from a soccer game and i was riding shotgun in my coaches car. i can't remember the name of the coach. i remember the car, though. something like a mid-80's Chevy Impala. there were probably six of us kids in the car. very safe, i'm sure. We were dropping off one of my teammates and With or Without You came on the radio. i had heard the song before... my sister had The Joshua Tree on cassette and i had probably heard it on the radio prior to that moment - but for some reason - i vividly remember hearing, no listening to With or Without You in the front seat of a Chevy Impala - tuning out the rest of the world, the loud muffler, the teammates climbing out of the back seat as i leaned forward (two doors made it difficult for others to get out - with two other kids and a coach in the front seat).

I don't know why i remember that moment. it was quite random. but we all remember random things. don't we? what random things do you remember?

atu2.com bible references notes the Biblical reference found in "With or Without You"

"See the thorn twist in your side"
-- 2 Corinthians 12:7: "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me."


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my love for U2 grew and grew after that moment. 'tis true. the third cd i ever purchased (way back in 1990 - after i sold a Michael Jordan basketball card and a Joe Montana football card for $100 - which i used to buy my first single drive Magnavox cd player, of which i still have and occasionally use) was U2 - Rattle & Hum. (my first and second cd purchases were Bell Biv Devoe - Poison and George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice vol. 1)

i later fell in love with the movie Rattle & Hum and my love for U2 sky-rocketed.

it all goes back to the spring afternoon - some 21 years ago... hearing, no listening to With or Without You for the first time. that is what i love about music. you never know how it's gonna stick with you. at times, it just does. music has power.

listen to With or Without You today. if you have it - spin it. if not - watch the video here.

blog about that moment when you heard that one song that you've never forgotten... maybe on the radio, at a concert or on a friends mix tape... think about - no, write about the power music today.



See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body bruised, shes got me with
Nothing to win and
Nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you

With or without you
With or without you
I cant live
With or without you
With or without you



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Now playing: U2 - With Or Without You
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 23, 2008

40

(disclaimer: this post has no meaning or value)

  • number of cases of pop purchased at Giant Eagle (grocery store) for our church/youth group pop machine
  • amount of minutes it took to unload said pop from van - to cart - to stairs.
  • total pounds of 4 cases of pop carried up the 20 stairs to the pop machine on the second floor (2 in each hand) for a total of 10 times
  • amount of total pounds, times 10 for a grand total of 400 pounds of pop carried up to the second floor.
  • number of cans, times 12 for a grand total of 480 cans carried up, loaded or stored.
  • amount of time it took to unjam the pop machine- in which two Diet Pepsi cans had become lodged underneath the arm that signals if a slot is empty or not, causing the little orange light to light up informing all of the parishioners for the past two weeks that the Diet Pepsi slot was empty, in turn causing upset parishioners who apparently can't live without their Diet Pepsi. (lol. i kid, i kid!)
  • addition minutes it took to load the rest of the pop and organize the remaining cases in the pop cupboard.
  • seconds it took me to justify our churches need for an elevator - not for anyone who might be handicapped, mind you - but for all future loadings of said pop machine.
  • the length in minutes, save 3, of the John Reuben CD that played through twice during my ordeal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

it's all about perspective

They asked him, "John's disciples are well-known for keeping fasts and saying prayers. Also the Pharisees. But you seem to spend most of your time at parties. Why?"

Jesus said, "When you're celebrating a wedding, you don't skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but this isn't the time. As long as the bride and groom are with you, you have a good time. When the groom is gone, the fasting can begin. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!

"No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don't put wine in old, cracked bottles; you get strong, clean bottles for your fresh vintage wine. And no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unaged wine." (Luke 5:33-39)

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Mary knew what it meant to be in the presence of the Messiah. Levi knew it. He walked away from the lucrative business of tax collecting. Simon Peter knew it. Him and the others dropped their fishing nets (apparently overflowing with a fresh catch of fish) on the beach and followed Christ. His mother Mary knew it (as referenced in a previous post) when she pleaded that Jesus to 'keep the party going.'

it's all about perspective... point of view. glass half full or half empty? do you visit the Grand Canyon and complain about the dirt on your shoes? do you watch the sun setting on the shores of Lake Erie and focus on the sand between your toes? the big picture reveals greatness, and the big picture of Christ's invitation to a changed life is to be celebrated.

being in His presence brings about change. if we don't want to change - do we really want to be in the presence of Jesus? why resist the party?

open your eyes. there is something more.

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Make a wish on a silver sun
a day like this can't be wasted
make a wish don't tell anyone
Cool this temper with laughter

Daylight comes crashing in
Time is of short supply
The wind streams through
broken rooms
Underneath darkness lies
From this fear there may come light
Stretch me out over this divide
Make a wish on a silver sun
when it comes, it comes

Make a wish on a silver sun
a day like this can't be wasted
make a wish don't tell anyone
Cool this temper with laughter

Daylight comes crashing in
Time is of short supply
The wind streams through
broken rooms
Underneath darkness lies

From this fear there may come light
Stretch me out over this divide
Make a wish on a silver sun
when it comes, it comes.


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Now playing: South - Silver Sun
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, May 18, 2008

start of something new



















this weekend i assisted my wife on a wedding photo shoot. she armed me with a second camera and when i wasn't helping her - i snapped some random shots. statues, stained glass, icons as well as the typical celebratory pictures of a wedding and the feast that follows.

during the hour long ceremony (it was a catholic wedding) my mind began to think about the beauty of what was taking place.

After the wedding, we went to a park to shoot some outdoor photos of the wedding party. some had had a bit to drink - so the celebration was in full swing before the reception had even started. but they were celebrating. there was joy in their eyes. i could see it. lots of big smiles and playful spirits.



















i thought about Jesus and the wedding at Cana. the festivities had probably been going on for quite some time. if i remember correctly, weddings, in those days, lasted for up to a week. can you imagine what kind of celebration it must have been? and when the wine was gone - it would have been a big deal. you can understand why Mary, the mother of Jesus, goes to Him - asking him to do something about it. Jesus performs his first miracle, changes water into wine and the rest is history. the master of the banquet responded by saying "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

You have saved the best till now.



















it was the start of something new... for the bride and groom at Cana - for Jesus, whose public ministry had just begun. something new and exciting was starting.

there is a real, raw beauty in that. Newness. spring time ought to remind us of the beauty of all things new. start fresh. set goals. look to the future. eyes forward. sun shining. best laid plans ahead of us; world is an oyster; take risks and live life.

what new things has Jesus placed before you? maybe it's time to celebrate. clear eyes. full hearts. with joy in your heart. rejoice! the best has been saved for us - claim it and believe it.

when two become one - trust has to be at the core - or the marriage is bound for trouble. you can see the example of trust in Jesus - as he trusted and knew that the wedding at Cana (and the miracle that came with it) would ultimately lead to a unifying of the the bride of Christ (the church, followers & believers) with Christ himself - through his impending sacrifice on the cross.

there is something great and mighty and new in front of us all. i want to wrap my arms around that and discover with joy what it is that God has placed in front of me. may grace guide us and lead us to that mission, whatever it may be, and may Christ be glorified and others bear witness.

for he has saved the best until now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life is What Happens...

We are standing on a road,
on a road to nowhere
There's a place for all of this
They don't care
We don't care
You can't break us down*

they say that life is what happens when your making other plans. i say life is what happens when other plans make you. In this past two weeks we've seen 22,000 die in Mayanmar after a deadly cyclone, 12,000 are now dead after a massive earthquake rocked China and 30+ died after a series of twisters hit areas throughout the midwest. Add to that the chaos of life that ensued after I learned that my very own mom would need an entire hysterectomy to remove a mass the size of a baseball that had been discovered in or around her ovaries. My grandmother, whom died 5 years before I was born, passed away from Ovarian cancer, on May 8th, 1969. My mom was scheduled for surgery on May 8th, 2008.

After surgery, Doctor Hopkins met with me and one of my sisters and some pastor friends of the family. He disclosed that they had removed the tumor - but that it was throughout her fallopian tubes. It was a very rare form of cancer... some 3.6 out of 1 million woman have been diagnosed with fallopian tubal cancer. It is believed that this kind of cancer is genetically linked to those who had a parent with ovarian cancer. Thankfully, there was no cancer in the surrounding tissue, which is good, but she will need to undergo chemotherapy. My mom's cancer is stage one.

This all came as quite a shock. I was prepared for the surgery and the things that come with that - but i had not begun to think about the possibility of cancer. And so other plans have now made us... much like the many others throughout the world today who have been stuck with disaster... big and small.

And yet i can't stop thinking about what good friend and pastor Carl Kandel said to me as he left the waiting room last Thursday... "God's going to reveal himself in a big way. You watch and see."

that is hard to think about when we realize how much our 'plans' for this summer may change as a result of my mom's treatments. The selfish person inside of me can't help but think how my life will be changed... what about my mothers? our realm of perspective is narrow when disaster strikes. I am having trouble seeing the big picture. I see the thread - but he shows the tapestry... "God's going to reveal himself in a big way. You watch and see." I see the dirt, but he sees the field of flowers... "God's going to reveal himself in a big way. You watch and see." I hear the word - but he speaks the sonnet. "God's going to reveal himself in a big way. You watch and see." I see the tree - but God shows me the forest and the life that dwells within it. "God's going to reveal himself in a big way. You watch and see." I see the ray of light - but he gives me the beautiful sun setting in the distance.

I am learning to trust again... trusting that his canvas is larger than mine... his brush is showing me what Monet never dreamed of. I have to trust that God will provide and will not take away that which has been given to expand the kingdom. In his time.



*The Appleseed Cast - Here We Are (Family in the Hallways)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Run Lola Run

























yesterday, jen and i ran in the 3rd annual YMCA 2 mile fun run / 10 K race. right before the 2 mile race was to begin it began to rain... hard. thankfully, by the time the starting gun sounded, it was a mere drizzle. although it was only a 2 mile run - it was still something. it was the completion of a goal (much like the one i set about a year and a half ago).

there were 120+ people who ran in the 2 mile fun run... most of the fast people were running in the 10k - but i think i came in around the top 10 in the 2 miler. i ran it in 17:22... about an 8 min 40 sec pace. i was happy with my time and my pace. the first mile i ran mostly on the tail of a woman with short hair, black pants and a white sweatshirt. she helped me set a good pace. for the last 1/2 mile - it was mostly up hill. that was a tough way to finish. but right at that time i hit my power song on my iPod (i was running with the Nike+ iPod system). that song was The Catastrophe and the Cure by Explosions in the Sky. it carried me through to the finish line. there was spacing all around me - so i had a nice finish. it was almost worshipful (To God be the Glory) coming up around the bend, music playing through my earbuds, race workers cheering along the trail, coming up around the bend, seeing the finish line... inside, i couldn't help but rejoice.

the run kind of gave me the itch... i want to run some more now - so now my wife and i are thinking about signing up for some future 2 mile runs or 5k's.

it felt good to run. it felt good to accomplish a goal. i hope to carry on.

on a side note - i checked out Run Lola Run from the library.


























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Now playing: The Appleseed Cast - Signal
via FoxyTunes