All That I Can Say

I was poking around some of the several blogs I like to read, and I came upon one which had a song playing on it. At first, it freaked me out (maybe like it’s doing for you right now as you’re reading this.) I don’t recall ever hearing music on this particular blog, so I spent a couple minutes just trying to figure out where it was coming from. I wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics…yet.

I closed out my browser, and the music stopped. Then I opened it up again and went back to that blog page. The song once again started playing. I then started to listen to the lyrics.


I want to share the lyrics with you. I swear I could have written this song myself. I’ve also added a playlist feature on my blog so you can hear it for yourself. You know music is a big part of my life, so I’ll try to start sharing some songs which are important to me so you can hear them, too. Plus, just as this…ahem…accidental run-in with a song did for me, maybe a song I feature here will do the same for you someday. If you’re not able to listen to it right now, the player is over in the right column. You can simply stop or pause the song anytime. When I add songs, you can even click on other ones you may want to hear instead.

Thank you Lord for taking a moment and causing me to stumble upon a song in a place I wouldn’t have expected. In doing so, you’ve done something you didn’t have to do. You’ve reminded me that you’re here with me. You cry when I cry. You hurt when I hurt. Thank you for placing this reminder in my path despite my stumbling around…seemingly aimlessly. Even when I feel aimless, you are there at every turn.

All I Can Say – David Crowder Band
Lord I’m tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I’m so alone
And Lord the dark
Is creeping in
Creeping up
To swallow me
I think I’ll stop
Rest here a while

And this is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give (2x)

That’s my everything

And didn’t You see me cry’n?
And didn’t You hear me call Your name?
Wasn’t it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You’d remember where you sat it down

And this is all that I can say right now
I know it’s not much
And this is all that I can give
That’s my everything (2x)

I didn’t notice You were standing here
I didn’t know that
That was You holding me
I didn’t notice You were cry’n too
I didn’t know that
That was You washing my feet

And this is all that I can say right now
I know it’s not much
And this is all that I can give
That’s my everything (2x)

Disappointment Doesn’t Always Mean Failure

I remember when this thought first came to my mind. I was really wanting to go on a missions trip to China several years ago, and for a number of reasons, it didn’t happen. Well, it didn’t happen then. I was very disappointed. I felt defeated. I felt as if I must not have done all I could have done.

But then this thought was spoken to my heart. The thought, though simple in concept, certainly didn’t fit the frame of mind I was in at the time, so I know it was a God thing.

I was reminded of this same thought late one night recently as I ended a pretty full day of feeling intense disappointment, and feeling like a failure. There are times in our lives, even as small children, when we are denied things we want. I was walking through the grocery store recently and overheard (how could you NOT) a young child pleading with her mom how she needed a certain toy or she would surely die. There is a difference between what we want and what we need.

God is keenly aware of our wants and needs. He, however, has a God’s-eye-view of our lives and our situations which means He knows what we truly need, long before we do.

As I write this, I have to admit that I’m not feeling it. I am still struggling with human fears, human emotions. I know very well that they don’t bring out my best. But I also know what I’m writing is the truth. I’m writing this because I need to. I need my body to make some kind of outward response to what I know is true. My brain and my faith say one thing, my heart is saying another.

I have had times where I was able to plow through obstacles by simply singing praise and worship songs in my home, my office or in my car. Or just walking around a store. I have to admit, I’m just not able to right now. Now before you lose complete respect for me, know that I know this is temporary. I know the truth about feelings. I know that in our human relationships, times come when we just don’t feel the love we have with one another.

Right now, I’m not feeling it. But that’s OK. I’m not turning my back. I’m dealing with my feelings, but doing my best not to let my feelings auger me into the ground. God knows I’m just not able to sing praise right now. But He also knows I love Him and am still committed to Him. He will be right there waiting to hear me sing to Him when I’m ready, just as He’s right here with me now feeding my heart as I write this.

My heart is hungry. This feeding may take some time.

The Power of Remembering

On this Thanksgiving eve, I’m finding it unnatural in my flesh to be thankful. The message at my church this past Sunday was about remembering our blessings and God’s victories in our lives. It was a very powerful message for me, particularly in this season I’m in.

There is power in remembrance. The literal meaning of remembering is different than we’re conditioned to think. It is not so much the opposite of forgetting, but the opposite of dismembering. In other words, when we remember something, it’s actually reattaching something which was once part of us. We’re re-membering.

With this in mind, I want to think upon those things which are part of my history. They’re part of me which simply need to be reattached to make me whole and grateful.

I am thankful for my parents. I cannot imagine who I would be right now were they not the people they are. I’m so thankful that I can spend another Thanksgiving with both of them. I don’t know how many we have left together, so I don’t want to take it for granted.

I’m thankful to have been born in this wonderful country. We shamefully complain so much, and yet we have it so much better than people in, for instance, Darfur. People today, today, are enslaved and murdered for reasons we cannot even imagine from our ivory towers. I just got Schindler’s List on Netflix and started watching it recently. Talk about a reminder of the blessings we have today to live in freedom, free from persecution. No, things aren’t perfect. Yes, we’re seeing some frightening changes in some of our freedoms. But we don’t have to fear being pulled out of homes and put in prisons, or put to death because of our faith.

I’m thankful for the roof over my head and the car I drive. I know there are so many who have neither. So many hooked on drugs and living on the streets.

Ultimately, I’m thankful for God. I am so unworthy of all I’ve been given. I have so much which has absolutely nothing to do with my own merit. I have been spoiled throughout my life with all the comforts I take for granted. The fact that I’m able to sit at a computer and type this is the result of innumerable blessings.

I’m not yet where I want to be. But I believe that I’m one step closer today than I was yesterday. And as I re-member the path I’ve traveled to be who and where I am today, I truly believe that on Thanksgiving eve 2009, I’ll be that much closer.

I Believe In You

For some time, I’ve had a potential blog post ruminating in my head about the phrase, “I believe in you. I’ve heard people summarize their Christianity by saying, “I believe in God.” The use of the word believe is passive and requires no relationship. It’s simply acknowledging someone’s existence. I believe Barack Obama exists, but we have no relationship. He doesn’t even know I exist. If you were to ask him if I existed, he’d have no reason to believe I didn’t. We have no relationship, so whether he believes I do or not means nothing to either of us.

But the active use of the word, believing in someone, is very powerful. It derives from having a relationship with someone. Knowing their character. Knowing their potential. As I’m currently unemployed, passively believing in God does nothing for my attitude or faith. But actively believing in God’s sovereignty and power does. It compels me to press in. It motivates me to dig in to His promises.

Yesterday, my friend Lisa commented on my post with these four simple words, “I believe in you.” That served to propel me beyond simply thinking of these words, to sharing with you what they mean to me. Then, doing what I can to live up to them. These words are empowering.

There is almost nothing more tragic than unfulfilled potential. This is why we react so strongly when we hear of the death or disability of a young child. We think of all the things in life they should have experienced, but they never will. I look back on my life and see many things which were left undone. That doesn’t mean they must remain undone. When someone says they believe in you, you can almost feel yourself lean forward, set your jaw, and plow onward.

My life and my future are defined by this statement: Not only do I believe in God, but more importantly, God believes in me.

Where To Begin?

Well, here it is…the Monday of Thanksgiving week. I have begun my second job search in the short 4 months I have been in Rocklin. It is not a fun experience, particularly when you’re desperately needing some degree of tangible security in a new area. I have spent the entire morning scouring job sites and posting my resume wherever I can think.

As I was reaching mental and emotional critical mass, I thought of the exhortations I’ve received from more than a few friends recently. I’ve been encouraged to pursue my writing. I haven’t yet figured out how to parlay that into a career as of yet. It seems a bit late in the game as a 43 year old to consider such a venture, but it’s been done before. My resume just doesn’t identify me as a prolific writer. And really, honestly, I’m just another voice out here in the ever-expanding blogosphere.

What I seem to have is the ability to put into words, pictures, videos and any other form of communication, the thoughts and feelings of the so-called common man (or woman). When I sit down at my computer, I don’t have a particular person or demographic in mind. I have friends who do not share my faith, so I know that they may not be as inspired by my posts about my faith as those who share this particular passion of mine. I sometimes write sports themed posts, or ones related to music. Hopefully there is some overlap in my writing which includes everyone at some point, but I also know that from time to time, I’m going to write about something which doesn’t interest you.

What I hope to do, however, is use whatever theme I’m writing about on that particular day to relate to everyone in some way, even despite our differences in interests.

I do write about my relationship with God quite a bit. After all, that is the foundation upon which my life is built. I don’t walk around with a 25 pound bible under my arm, standing on a crate at the street corner preaching the end of the world. Instead, I just share certain things in my life and observations which serve to inspire and change me. Every now and then, I’ll post something just to be silly. If you know me at all, you know I have a real appreciation for goof off-ery.

I am in the process of taking my writing more seriously. That doesn’t mean that I’m taking myself more seriously. Have you met me? Helllllooooo! What it means is that I recognize that I have been given a certain measure of talent. I have shared with you my observations on how we are given different abilities and capabilities. I do not want to be guilty of burying mine. We all have gifts. Some have talents they haven’t even discovered. Others have great talent, but don’t use them. Others have very little that the world sees or appreciates, but they use what they have to change their world.

I want to be someone who uses what God has given me to change my world. I just want my world to grow, so the change will, as well.

First things first. Before I can expect to affect change in my world, it must first begin in me.

Ever Get The Feeling…?

As I think and look back over the past several months that I’ve been in Rocklin, and looking over many of my posts here which have in some way related to the testing of my faith and trust…I’m finding myself staring down yet another considerable test.

During the past week, I have really immersed myself in thanking God for all my blessings. Even though things are anything but simple, or the way I had envisioned, I know I am blessed. In my office all week at work, I have been listening to the music we’re doing in church tomorrow, and just singing myself hoarse in praise. It really served to focus my heart on God, and not the crashing waves around me.

Then came yesterday afternoon. I got laid off from my job of two months. So here I am, out on the water doing my very best to keep my focus.

I subscribe to a “verse of the day” service which emails me a bible verse each day. A couple I received and held on to, without knowing what was ahead of me, were the following verses:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
~Philippians 4:12-13

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
~I Thessalonians 5:18

Ever get the feeling God was trying to tell you something? Yeah, me too. I also think of the encouraging words I’ve received just within the past week from friends. Some of which I have shared with you in this week’s posts. All these things combine to show me that God knows my situation. You can take away my job. You can take away my possessions. You can’t take away God’s love for me.

As a single man, I often wonder if I’m still single due to my flaws. Maybe, maybe not. What I know for certain is that despite my imperfections, God loves me and is willing to let me go through hardships in order to perfect me and draw me into closer relationship with Him. I look around me at “successful” people who hate God and all I hold dear. I sometimes wonder why they can go on without a care in the world, while I struggle doing what I know is right. I can understand if I make some mistake which causes consequences, but when I’m minding my own business, then out of nowhere, BAM, I’m unemployed. Happy Thanksgiving!

But I’m not letting it defeat me. Well, I’m wrestling with negativity, but I’m putting my trust where it belongs. I’m going back and reading about Job. I won’t elevate myself or my sufferings by comparing them to Job’s, but despite everything he endured, he trusted God. I’m reminded that God is willing to let those who don’t love Him or His statutes to go about their own ways. Their consequences await them unless they give God lordship over their lives. It’s those of us who have died to ourselves and merged our identities with His who He goes out of His way to perfect.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
~James 1:2-4

Great Faithfulness

Before I start, it’s hard to believe, but this is my 100th post on Crossing Paths. It all started on July 8 when I announced I was moving from San Jose to Rocklin. Wow, a lot has happened in 4 months, hasn’t it?

In less than a week, we celebrate Thanksgiving. Like most holidays with any kind of Christian origins, it has been reduced by our culture to a time of feasting on great food, taking naps and watching football.

You can’t read or watch the news these days without being bombarded with the uneasy truths of the economy and international turmoil. We keep hearing how things haven’t been this bad in X number of years. We hear comparisons to the Great Depression. Depression. Such a fitting term. You know, if you focus on how depressing everyone’s talk and focus is, yeah…you’re going to get depressed.

I read a quote yesterday by Aldous Huxley. He said, “experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.”

How profound. How simple.

Yesterday, my friend Keri wrote the following on my Facebook page:

Jesus is the same Yesterday Today and Always, He is faithful. He is glorious, victorious, Timeless, Alpha Omega, He is God. Be encouraged by Him today in your Life.

Times are tough. But these powerful words from my friend are where I choose to put my focus. Life is cyclical. Whether we’re talking about the weather, fashions or economic trends. In a world where the only constant is change, I’m leaning on the everlasting arms of the One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Sunday evening is a special Thanksgiving service at my church. I am blessed to be part of the worship team. One of the songs I will be leading is one of my very favorites. The lyrics are below. Many of you know the song, and I would encourage you to read these words and think about them. Then through the course of your day, recite these words. If you know the song, sing it. Listen to it. In these times, the song is especially meaningful to me.

Be someone like my friend Keri. Be someone who is an encourager in times when we’re having negativity crammed down our collective throats. We have so much more for which to be thankful.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Better Blessed Than Lucky!

When I lived in San Jose, I was very blessed to have some great friends. Thank God they’re still very much part of my life today. Among those friends is a good man who holds a rather prestigious role with the San Jose Sharks hockey team. On many occasions, he invited me as his guest to watch games in his suite, which were the best seats in the house.

Tuesday night I was the beneficiary of another blessing similar to my fortune with hockey games. A friend of mine told me he might have an extra ticket to the Gaither Homecoming concert at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. I admit, I love that stuff. There were a lot of cars in the lot which were parked a little helter skelter, and the handicapped spots filled up fast. I was among the younger folks in attendance. But I was actually blessed with not only one ticket, but FOUR…in a luxury suite, no less! So I was able to bless three other people! The suite was center stage, looking straight at it without obstruction.

I’d much rather be blessed than lucky!

It was a pretty fun night. There are so many wonderful singers on
the Gaither circuit. Among them is the man whose voice was my first major vocal influence when I started singing. His name is Russ Taff (right). He has such passion in his voice. He has a sound and a style that is all his own. I was so excited to see him sing. It had been about 22 years since I last saw him sing in person. But on this night, Russ was just one of many great singers. One standout who sang is named Jason Crabb. Keep an eye out for his music. He’s phenomenal.

The show is unique. Fortunately, I had received a tip from a friend that these concerts are L-O-N-G. And were they right. I left at 10 PM…during the intermission! Yes, it was practically 3 hours into the show until they got to the intermission. Other friends of mine who went said it finished about 11:30 or so.

It was a great night. I had to fight back tears on more than one occasion as my spirit was stirred, but on the final song of my night, the Gaither Vocal Band sang one of the their all time classics, It Is Finished. That song did me in. I couldn’t fight it back any longer. I will end this post with a link to some pictures I took, and a video of It Is Finished as performed by the Gaither Vocal Band in a previous performance (in it, Russ Taff sings the second verse, after Bill sings).

Click here for the pictures.

Sporadic Alzheimer’s

Just 2 days ago, during sound check before church, my friend Keri was trying to remember something she wanted to talk about. You know that nagging feeling of when you had a thought a moment ago, but when the opportunity comes…your mind goes blank? So, in a moment of solidarity with my friend, I thought I’d confess my occasional absentmindedness. I told her that my neighbors must think I’m an idiot. Probably 3 days a week, I walk out my front door only to remember something I left behind within seconds of the door closing. I then have to unlock the door, go back inside and retrieve the forgotten item.

Fast forward 24 hours to Monday morning. I’m gathering my stuff before I head out the door for work. I go through the checklist:

  • Backpack – check
  • bottle of water – check
  • protein bars – check
  • garage door opener – check
  • bill I need to pay today – check
  • wallet – check
  • checks – check

I’m good to go. So, I open the door, make sure it’s locked, and close it behind me. No sooner does the door close that it dawns on me that I left my KEYS inside. I mean, it was almost instantly as the door closed.

Fortunately, (for me, anyway), my good friend Lisa had the foresight when I moved to town to suggest that we each have a copy of keys to each other’s houses for just such an occasion. Until Monday, I had never locked myself out. EVER. So I thought her suggestion was silly, but the reason she thought of it was because she’s probably sufficiently knuckleheaded to do it.

So, after nearly 4 months, the scoreboard reads:

Dork – 1
Knucklehead – 0