Tuesday, October 30, 2018

In It For The Kicks?

This falls under the category of "Something I Found While Looking For Something Else".

While I certainly have been aware of the song "Kicks" by Paul Revere & the Raiders for almost my whole life, the Truth in the lyric only recently jumped out at me. This popular 1960's rock group certainly went against the "Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out" tide when they sang...

Girl, you thought you found the answer
On that magic carpet ride last night
But when you wake up in the mornin'
The world still gets you uptight

Well, there's nothin' that you ain't tried
To fill the emptiness inside
But when you come back down, girl
Still ain't feelin' right

And don't it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin' harder to find
And all your kicks ain't bringin' you peace of mind
Before you find out it's too late, girl
You better get straight

No, but not with kicks
You just need help, girl

Well you think you're gonna find yourself
A little piece of paradise
But it ain't happened yet
So girl, you better think twice

Don't you see, no matter what you do
You'll never run away from you
And if you keep on runnin'
You'll have to pay the price

And don't it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin' harder to find
And all your kicks ain't bringin' you peace of mind
Before you find out it's too late, girl
You better get straight

No, you don't need kicks
To help you face the world each day
That road goes nowhere
I'm gonna help you find yourself another way

Kicks just keep gettin' harder to find
(Oh, you don't need kicks, girl)
And all your kicks ain't bringin' you peace of mind
(You just need help, girl)
Before you find out it's too late, girl
You better get straight

The anti-drug message is certainly clear, but there are other truths that deserve some attention:

  • That magic carpet ride last night  -  This song appeared two years before Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride", so...so there.
  • Well, there's nothin' that you ain't tried to fill the emptiness inside  -  Reminds me just a bit of words credited to Pascal (wrongly): There is a God-shaped hole in the life of every [person]. While the "quote" is a paraphrase of something Pascal wrote, I think the concept is true. We seem to have been created with a desire for a relationship with our creator that we will continually try to satisfy by any available means until we get the real thing.
  • Don't you see, no matter what you do, you'll never run away from you  -  A physical truth, to be sure, but here's a spiritual application: If you're going from church to church, never committing to any particular group because you're looking for the perfect church...give it up. Even if you find "the perfect church," that will change the minute you step through the doors.

Truth is...the first thing I thought of when I started getting serious about the song "Kicks" was this story told by Rich Mullins (minutes 14:05-15:21 of a lecture posted on You Tube):
A very interesting thing happened in Witchita, Kansas. A bunch of people who had been going to my church a few years went over to visit The Vineyard. And after they started visiting The Vineyard, they decided to join The Vineyard, so they went up and, you know went forward and the pastor said, "Why do you want to join our church?" And they said, "Well, because your worship is just so exciting to us!" And you know what the pastor of The Vinyard said? He said, "Go back to your old church. We don't really particularly need you in this congregation. Because this is what will happen. You used to go to the church where you've been going about three or four years because you got a buzz out of it. So suddenly, you come to visit our church and we give you a better buzz. So you decide that, suddenly, you no longer want to be faithful to the church where you're a member...suddenly you're going to a church that gives you a better buzz. You know what's gonna happen is that you're gonna get used to the way we do our worship service here and then you're not going to get the buzz out of it and you'll go seek out another church. You'll end up being the member of about 50 dozen churches by the time you're fifty...and you won't have helped anybody. And you won't have grown. Because you will have gone from one goosebump feeling to another.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Original Ragamuffin On God's Love & Compassion

I only experienced Brennan Manning in person once in my life, and he was not as animated and on fire as he is in the short clip I'd like to share with you today.

But whether excited and flamboyant, or quiet and introspective, he always delivered the message that God loves us...




Truth is...I hope you are encouraged today. I hope you are inspired to greatness today. I hope you accept the love of Christ today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

King of Hearts

Have you ever heard the line, "I used to be high on drugs, but now I'm high on the Lord"? It became kind of a cliche for personal testimonies in the Sixties and Seventies...especially among the ex-hippies that made up most of the "Jesus Movement."

Cliche or not, it was fitting for Randy Stonehill, who went to L.A. in search of a musical mentor in Larry Norman. Randy certainly got what he was looking for, but he also found out about Jesus and asked Him to take over...a story that Randy sings about in the song "Norman's Kitchen".

Stonehill went on to become one of the foundation stones (or maybe I should say "rockers") of "Jesus Music", which has now morphed into Contemporary Christian Music, or CCM. In fact, his 1976 album, Welcome to Paradise, is considered one of the very best from the era and holds a special place in the hearts of most of us who were hip to that jive.

Having introduced the readers of this blog to Larry Norman's In Another Land, I feel led to do the same with this very special album from this very special artist.

Welcome to Paradise opens with "King of Hearts," a quiet call for the listener to follow Jesus instead of wandering lost in a world full of pain and fear.

All alone drifting wild
Like a ship that's lost out in the ocean
Everyone's a homeless child
And it's not hard to understand
Why we need a Father's hand
There's a rainbow somewhere
You were born to be there
You're just running in circles
Till you reach out your hand to the King of hearts

Pockets full of pain and fear
That's a load there's just no need to carry
Let it go and leave it here
Now there's no price that's left to pay
With one more mile or one more day
There's a rainbow somewhere
You were born to be there
You're just running in circles
Till you reach out your hand to the King of hearts

You can try to catch the wind
But in the end, you're only wasting precious time
Life can really be so kind
Once you find the truth and follow
Go on follow, go on follow

(Repeat 1st Verse)
There's a rainbow somewhere
You were born to be there
You're just running in circles
Till you reach out your hand
Till you reach out your hand
Till you reach out your hand to the King of hearts
There's a rainbow somewhere
©1976 King of Hearts Publishing

Truth is...In the words of a different old song (by Diane Ball), "[God] makes all things beautiful in His time." Beautiful...like a rainbow. If you're just running in circles, maybe it's time for YOU to reach out your hand to the King of Hearts.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Victim or Victor?

Are you a victim or a victor? It's your choice.

Don't believe me? Check out this short video featuring Alvin Law, a person who was born armless, but not optionless. (A big thank you to Goalcast for making this available.)

Truth is...this is not the first time you've seen Alvin here. He's part of the "Yes I Can!" music video featured in a previous post that you can see if you CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

How To Be Creatively Inspired

It takes more than waiting around for inspiration to do inspiring work.

Case in point: George Gershwin, as described in Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.

"To me George was a little sad all the time because he had this compulsion to work," Ira Gershwin said of his brother. "He never relaxed." Indeed, Gershwin typically worked for twelve hours or more a day, beginning in the late morning and going until past midnight. He started the day with a breakfast of eggs, toast, coffee, and orange juice, then immediately began composing, sitting at the piano in his pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers. He would take breaks for a mid-afternoon lunch, a late-afternoon walk, and supper at about 8:00. If Gershwin had a party to attend in the evening, it was not unusual for him to return home after midnight and plunge back into work until dawn. He was dismissive of inspiration, saying that if he waited for the muse he would compose at most three songs a year. It was better to work every day. "Like the pugilist," Gershwin said, "the songwriter must always keep in training."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

The apostle Paul would probably agree with Gershwin. "Do you remember how, on a racing-track, every competitor runs, but only one wins the prize? Well, you ought to run with your minds fixed on winning the prize! Every competitor in athletic events goes into serious training. Athletes will take tremendous pains—for a fading crown of leaves. But our contest is for an eternal crown that will never fade. I run the race then with determination. I am no shadow-boxer, I really fight! I am my body’s sternest master, for fear that when I have preached to others I should myself be disqualified." (I Corinthians 9:24-27 Phillips)

Truth is...Do you want to be close to God? To hear His voice? To feel led by the Spirit? To do inspiring things for the Kingdom? Then get up out of your seat and show us your faith by your works. (James 2:18)