11.25.2008

"thanks" will never be enough

We recently had our annual Thanksgiving Celebration at our church. It's a fun time to gather with the church family for food (lots of) and then settle down in the Worship Center to thank God for His unending generosity.

This year I was asked to give a testimony of just what I'm thankful for from the past year and perform a song to go along with. Not sure how much of this will end up in this year's Christmas letter, but here's what came out...
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When I was asked to give a testimony of what I’m thankful the Lord is doing in my life, I knew I needed to do this but wouldn’t possibly have enough time to provide the full picture.

The past few months have been an incredible time of spiritual growth for me as I’ve never experienced. But interestingly, and certainly not accidentally, I just went through over a year of one of the longest valleys I ever walked. This was an extremely rough time on me emotionally for many reasons.

I’m not sure anyone knew that I woke up every day for months with a dull ache. I’d pray about it, but it wouldn’t go away. Last May that oppressive feeling mysteriously vanished just as I was called into a series of intense spiritual battles. But even without that horrible feeling, once the intensity died I found the unsettled emotions remained, and I was still handling things poorly.

All this piqued in July, and I knew then I was just going through the motions spiritually. I was purely frustrated with circumstance, but just kept pushing on, knowing my attitude wasn’t right and wondering how things might change.

In August, the change began, and God allowed some of (my church family) to play a part. I was in the Sunday school class viewing John Piper’s “Blazing Center” DVD, and by the second session he struck a chord. I began to see that my joy was gone because I was looking in the wrong direction. We cannot find true joy or lasting happiness anywhere but in the Lord alone.

Once I acknowledged this, and acknowledge Him, God began to work in me in all kinds of ways.

My worship, encouraged in part by being in praise band and visiting some other worship services, is developing into a genuine “anytime, any style, anywhere” with anything scriptural.

My prayer life is changing dramatically, further encouraged by (our) “God-Centered Praying” class and recent “Fresh Encounters” weekend.

My study time has seriously increased. I’m spending a lot of time in Psalms and currently being impacted by Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love,” which discusses all the Creator of the universe, who actually died for sin, has done to show us His amazing love and how we should be so humbled and excited and awestruck that we can’t help but unconditionally love Him back.

My excitement to follow God’s lead has me going all kinds of directions. I even found myself in Chicago with the youth last weekend learning about creative ways to glorify Him by helping others.

As I said, I don’t have time to paint the entire picture of what’s taking place. This has barely scratched the surface. My circumstances didn’t change, but my focus did. I’m excited, and I am incredibly thankful to the Lord Jesus Christ for bringing me back to life.

This brand new song called “Heartbeat” by the band Remedy Drive tells a similar story.


Heartbeat - Remedy Drive

This is a draught
Living without

The one thing that I require

What a mess

Passionless

Somewhere I lost the fire

Oh my my

Where has it gone

Can anybody turn this beat back on?

My heart is fast asleep

Dreaming it could bleed

For something that's real

My desperate appeal

God, I'm getting tired of the way I feel

When I would rather be alive


I want to wake up

I want to restart

Put the drumbeat back in my heart

I need to be revived

Bring me back to life


Coming on slow

Head to toe

The pulse is back again

Grace in my veins

Replacing the pain

Bringing me back from the dead

Oh my my

Now I can see

You heard me cry emergency

Screaming out for help

You saved me from myself

The fire's returned

I'm letting it burn

There's nothing better in the whole wide world

It feels so good to be alive


I want to wake up

I want to restart

Put the drumbeat back in my heart

I need to be revived


I want to wake up

I want to restart

Put the drumbeat back in my heart / It feels so good to be alive

It feels so good

Bring me back to life



Related (back story):
long distance runaround
the summer of our discontent

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