If any of you are interested, I'd like to read (hear) your thoughts on the thirteenth chapter of Romans. Thanks, Brandon, for the articles you posted. They are helpful. If anyone else has any thoughts they'd like to share, please post them on the comments section on the previous message.
Now, a new topic...
Last Friday night, to celebrate our anniversary, my wonderful wife took me to Kemper Arena to hear Steven Curtis Chapman and MercyMe in concert. We have heard SCC before, and we think he is a gifted songwriter. MercyMe we had not heard, and I was really only familiar with a couple of their songs (primarily the overdone "I Can Only Imagine"). Here are some highlights from the concert:
- Steven Curtis making fun of himself by playing bits and pieces of some of his older songs, including "The Great Adventure" (can't you hear that first line? "Saddle up your horses...")
- MercyMe singing "I Can Only Imagine," which was incredibly worshipful and ushered the crowd into the Lord's presence quite nicely
- The two artists talking about Shaohannah's Hope, the adoption and orphan care ministry started by SCC and his wife
- The two artists sharing about some time they recently spent with soldiers who were wounded in battle in Iraq. Bart, the lead singer for MercyMe, said that when he asked two of the critically wounded soldiers how he could pray for them, their answer was so simple: Peace. Pray for peace.
- Listening to MercyMe's original song, "Joseph's Lullaby," off their new Christmas album, "The Christmas Sessions." This song is amazing and has even more profound meaning than ever since I now have a son. An interesting, not-oft-seen look at the Christmas story from young Joseph's perspective. I recommend it.
And then this...Bart told the story of the lyrics to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." This song was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the Civil War, and learning the story behind the words gave the song incredible new meaning. Apparently, when the bells were rung on Christmas day during the Civil War, there was a cease-fire for the day. There was peace for the day. Christmas day.
Here are those lyrics:
I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat of "Peace on earth, good will to men."
I thought as now the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom had rung so long the unbroken song of "Peace on earth, good will to men."
And, in despair, I bowed my head. "There is no peace on earth," I said. "For hate is strong and mocks the song of 'Peace on earth, good will to men.'"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail with 'Peace on earth, good will to men.'"
Amen. So be it. And, in the words of my friend Kyle, "Do it."