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JFH Staff Blog | September 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Change And Growth: Two Of My Most Recent Life Experiences

Okay. So I guess I took a little longer than expected to write another blog, and for this I apologize. I'm sure you are all familiar with the concept of change. Sometimes change is good and other times it can be the worst experience ever. I experienced a lot of changeand growththis summer and even now during the start of the school year. A lot of the change dealt with family issues (for instance, my aunt and uncle are finalizing their divorce soon) and even friend issues (I am now unable tosee...

Read More "Change And Growth: Two Of My Most Recent Life Experiences"

Friday, September 05, 2008

Phew! - from Francesca

Phew. Lately I feel like I’m running just to catch my breath. I know I’m blessed to be able to be on the road so much. I know some new artists would kill for some of the opportunities God has given me this year. I know. And I’m grateful. But all this travel has definitely taken a toll on my heart. I’ve been away from my church home and my community of friends. I’ve had to learn to relish days off the road and find routine in the most un-routine lifestyle there is. Still, I press on with joy remembering that God knows exactly what I need. And He has blessed me immensely by bringing great people into my life from all over the country.

I’ve been praying about what to write to you all this month, and I came across an old journal entry from last summer that I thought I would share with you. I was in a different place last year, but the things I felt were so similar to how I’m feeling lately. I hope it blesses you. Here it is:

“It's amazing to me how God always knows everything, and I know nothing. Really. He is so much greater than I could ever be, and His thoughts are MUCH higher than my thoughts. I feel so tied up sometimes...unable to make any change or do anything about people's feelings or actions or change anything too soon. It’s like I want Fall to be here so badly—changing leaves, Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, scarves and sweaters and opening the windows—but I have to wait for summer to end no matter how badly I want Fall to come. Fall is on the schedule of seasons, and it’s coming when it’s coming. I can’t do anything about it. The same goes for every season I want to experience in life—marriage, motherhood, touring, writing, ministry, etc. All these will come in their appointed time. And even though I want these things but don’t have them all yet, I know I can still be completely satisfied in God. The things He offers me are heavenly, eternal, weighty, lasting, and significant. What I long for on earth, no matter how great, is still temporal.

God, I know You love me so much, and I believe You do want to give me these things I desire, but I don't have a clue how and when You will do them all, and it's silly for me to waste time wondering or worrying over when, why, or how. I must trust You and let go of the need to know. I will let You bring them all. And in the mean time, I will enjoy being where I am. I am learning what contentment means. I don't need all that the world has to offer. I need You, Lord. Thank You for never letting me go but for always holding me close to Your heart. I need You alone. You are my life!”

Well, that pretty much sums it up!  God is so good, friends. He loves you, and He’s never left you. Ever. Don’t forget that.

-Francesca

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Healer

Amazing how easy it is to pass judgment on the fallen.  I thought that was something the world was enthralled with?  Celebrity's fall from the spotlight, public gaffes, embarrassment, divorce, infidelity, public intoxication...  The world consumes failure like it's chocolate.

And then I thought about the church as a whole.  And I think we're actually worse about it.  Fans of celebrity in the world actually seem to wish their idols would get themselves back on track.  Christians wish their exalted leaders would just go ahead and die or fade into permanent obscurity the moment their humanity becomes visible.  The veneer drops, and suddenly the image of Christian cool we invest ourselves into is gone like a vapor.

Someone tells you that Christian band you like actually smoked pot on the road.  A popular Christian author believes something politically different than you.  A pastor you used to listen to on the internet teaches something theologically you disagree with.  A champion of abstinence marries someone who isn't a virgin.  They become too popular.  They become too passe'.  One way or another, the people we root for fail us.  And we self-righteously declare their betrayal with reckless abandon- ending our little fit of disappointment with the phrase, "I guess all we can do is just pray for them".

Which brings me to Michael Guglielmucci.

This Australian pastor and musician has been involved with Planetshakers and later, Hillsong.  He wrote a song called "Healer" that appeared on Hillsong's "This is Our God" album.  The song is a truly inspiring, and in my opinion, Spirit-filled worship tune.  Purportedly written in response to Guglielmucci's cancer diagnosis, thousands have been touched by the message of it, coupled with his own story.  A few weeks ago, he came clean.  He never had cancer.  In an interview, he basically stated that the fabricated illness was a diversion, an attempt to hide his rampant pornography addiction behind something bigger.  Thousands around the globe love(d) that song.  Thousands were touched by it.  And now, thousands feel very betrayed.

I can't speak to the man's heart, nor would I even consider trying such a thing.  He and God have a lot of things to work out.  He and his wife and family have a lot of things to work through.  He's come clean, apologized, and is making certain any money he's made off the song doesn't end up in his wallet.  We applaud the confession, sense relief that he's not dying, and tear him to pieces with our ostracizing.  Hillsong has removed the song from the album and DVD it appeared on.  His bank accounts are being audited.  Thousands have written in distant support, and thousands in personal hurt and anger.  I wonder if either approach lines up with Jesus much... not to judge the hurt or the patronizing, just for my own heart.

See, many many many years ago (I'm old!), I was a liar.  You know those people who just make up impossible stuff for no reason?  Perhaps for attention, or maybe to seem cooler than they think they are?  Yeah.  I was that guy.  I remember telling kids in elementary school that I owned a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 a full 2 years before the game even existed.  I remember telling friends I had played in a Japanese rock band.  I remember telling a family I lived with that I had "ganglio-glioma", a made-up form of nerve cancer.  Yeah.  I was that guy.  Eventually, every lie will trap us.  We will be diminished for it, not exalted.  And if we ever get more popular, or cooler, or get the attention we want- the fall once the truth comes out takes us much lower than we were to start with.  Always.  Guaranteed.  I have no idea why I lied about such random stuff.  I don't see the motivation for it now, years later.  If I was hiding something else in the lie... both have come to light now.  If I was looking for value in being looked at as 'better' than I was... I was looked at worse afterward.  And the big lies cost me big.  It's been almost ten years since, and my closest friends and family from back then still won't talk to me.  It hurts, being a completely different person now, and not being able to reconcile with them.

So I understand a little of what Mr. Guglielmucci has gone through.  The lengths he's gone to protect his lie.  And the long, hard road he'll have to take to be restored from here.  But I can't judge him so harshly.  I can't be angry with his human mistake.  I can't hold him to a higher standard than I am.  That higher standard is the cross, and every single one of us is unworthy of it.  Thank God for His grace- the only thing that will ever measure up.  I'm not speaking for JFH in this- this is only my own opinion- but after the hurt has settled, I think all this will make "Healer" an even more appropriate and anointed song.  One that's meaning has deepened because of this.  One that now speaks to the long-haul, heart-restoration power of God, instead of just the physical.  One that can still be used by the Holy Spirit to touch our lives.  One I still plan to sing.

 


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