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1 John 1:5-7

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7

Dear God, of course, I immediately thought of the dc Talk cover of the Charlie Peacock song “In the Light” when I read this. Since I just looked at the dc Talk version a couple of days ago, here’s a link to the Charlie Peacock version.

In terms of this passage, verse six is important:

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

The important thing here is that one of the people we are lying to is ourself. I think one of the biggest problems in the church today is that we have no idea how to walk in the light. We think believing there is a God and believing there is a Jesus and everything the New Testament says about him means we walk in the light. But as I saw Stuart Hall day last week in his interview with Andy Stanley, we need to worship the God of our theology and not our theology.

Father, help me to legitimately walk in your light today. That means spending time with you in prayer, listening for your voice, worshipping you with all my souls, mind, and strength, and loving my neighbor as myself. It means forgiveness. It means generosity. I love you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2020 in 1 John

 

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North Point Church Interview with Stuart and Kellee Hall (Part 3 of 3)

Quotes from “Surviving COVID: An Interview with Stuart and Kellee Hall” from North Point Community Church

54:53
Andy Stanley: If you were sitting over a coffee table with our audience–either single men and women, married men and women, seniors, high school students, college students, and you had your, you know, your elevator pitch…the final moment–what do you say?

Stuart Hall: I would probably say that I think we have the wrong job description for love. As humans we are always trying to avoid pain. As parents we are always trying to protect our children from pain. As friends we are always trying to fix each other’s pain. And no wonder we always feel like failures because life is, it’s the human drama. It’s pleasure and pain. And the question I would have you wrestle with is just simply this: What are you going to trust in when that pain happens? When your certainty is made uncertain? Are you going to lean your life on your own understanding? Your own ability to reason? Your own ability to wrap this up and put a bow on it? Or will you trust your life to the only one that doesn’t change, that doesn’t move, and can actually heal you of your pain, can heal you in your hurt? The last thing I would say is that your love for Jesus doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be true. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be true. So I implore you–if you’re not a Jesus person, you don’t follow him–would you consider what you’re leaning your life up against? And if you are a Jesus person, you are…you do follow in the way of Jesus, how much are you trusting him? Are you trusting what you know about him, or are you really trusting him? That’s my prayer for people, that they will lean their life, the full weight of their existence on him.

Dear God, I was having lunch with a friend yesterday, and he said something I think is very true: Struggle is underrated. Struggle and pain are an important part of our human development–all of the way until death. If there is no struggle we will atrophy and die.

My wife has had a couple of specific stressors in her life lately, and she was talking about them with a friend. The friend asked if she had considered taking any antidepressants to help alleviate the stress, and my wife hadn’t considered it because she wasn’t trying to avoid the pain of the situation. She does things to care for herself through this time like prayer time in a chapel with you on a daily basis, exercise, and nourishing herself with a variety of Godly and intellectually stimulating things, but she isn’t trying to mask why is going on. And that’s not to say that there is not a time and place for antidepressants, but I do believe they are overused in our society. As part of that same conversation when she told me about what her friend said, my wife told me that 1 out of 6 Americans are on some sort of antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. That means 17% of our country, including children, feel the need to mask their stress. I don’t know what that number should ideally be, but for what is supposedly the greatest country in the world, that seems like a high number.

One of the challenges I faced as a parent was trying to figure out when to mitigate the pain my children were experiencing and when to let them walk through it–albeit with my love and support. And there were times when I tried to not intervene when others would intervene and short-circuit any good that might have come from the struggle. It was a frustrating process, and I don’t think it’s a concept that is taught enough in parenting books.

And then there’s my own life. How do I face struggle and pain? Do I lean on you, or do I try to avoid it? Do I live in denial or do I live in faith (although there is a thin line between living in denial and living in faith). And to be sure, the struggles in my life are pretty mild when compared with other stories I know, but there are still times when I’d rather just curl up in my bed and not face the realities in front of me.

Lately, and I’ve told you this a lot in these journals recently, there have been times when I’ve let the COVID-19 news, the daily deaths, the depletion of healthcare resources, etc. get to me. I recently rediscovered a playlist I made of 15 songs I listened to in 2005 when I was unemployed for six months. They are a mixture of worship songs (“Forever” by Chris Tomlin) and songs about seeking you for comfort. The lead-off song is a guy who can’t get out of bed from the weight of his stress (“Staring at a Bird” by The Waiting). Another song has the line, “Sometimes he calms the storm, but other times he calms his child” (“Sometimes He Calms the Storm” by Scott Krippayne). A couple are songs about repentance like dc Talk’s cover of Charlie Peacock’s “In the Light.” I pulled this playlist out this week and listened to it quite a bit.

Father, I guess I’ll finish with this. If the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23) then I want to lean into you/Jesus/Holy Spirit as much as possible to face the trials before me and to help others face their trials as well. I want to do it with transparency and vulnerability. And I want to be a person of action. I don’t want to just sit here and think thoughts that are useless unless they are activated. I want to be a person who sees a need, hears your voice about how you would have me respond, and then be your presence in that situation. Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can (and your blessing, wisdom, and power in that work), and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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Peter & John — 1 John 1:5-2:2

1 John 1:5-2:2 NIV
[5] This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. [6] If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. [8] If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
[1] My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. [2] He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Dear God, I think John’s message here is simply, stop trying to portray yourself as perfect, be humble about your sin, accept grace, and do your best to walk in holiness (the light).

I would probably be remiss if I didn’t mention a song that was performed by dc Talk called “In The Light.” Here are the lyrics:

In The Light

I keep trying to find a life
On my own, apart from You
I am the king of excuses
I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do
What’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
The disease of self runs through my blood
It’s a cancer fatal to my soul
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
To bring this sickness under control
Tell me, what’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
Honesty becomes me
[There’s nothing left to lose]
The secrets that did run me
[In Your presence are defused]
Pride has no position
[And riches have no worth]
The fame that once did cover me
[Has been sentenced to this Earth]
Has been sentenced to this Earth
Tell me, what’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a Savior
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
I want to be in the Light
As You are in the Light
I want to shine like the stars in the heavens
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation
Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light
Songwriters: John Paul Jones / Jimmy Page / Robert Plant

Father, I do want to be in the light. I want to be in your light. There are all kinds of Christian songs that mention being in your light. Help me to bring your light, or allow your light, into the darkest parts of my heart and live in your freedom, peace and joy. And help me to encourage others in this way too.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
 

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Emails to God – “In the Light” by Charlie Peacock (performed by DC Talk)

I keep trying to find a light
On my own, apart from you
I am the king of excuses
I’ve got one for every selfish thing I do

Chorus
What’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
That I’m still a man in need of a savior

I wanna be in the Light as you are in the Light
I wanna shine like this stars in the heavens
O, Lord, be my Light, and be my salvation
‘Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light

The diseases of self consumes my blood
It’s a cancer fatal to my soul
Every attempt on my behalf has failed
To bring this sickness under control

Chorus

Bridge
Honesty becomes me
There’s nothing left to lose
All those things that did run me
In your presence are diffused
Pride has no position
The fame that once did cover me
Has been sentenced to this earth

Dear God, the year was 1995. I was 25 years old, naïve and impressionable. Oh, if I had known then what I know now. But, as my grandmother once told my mother, you can’t put an old head on young shoulders. I was working for a Christian music publisher called Word. I was fortunate enough to be the editor of their Christian music record club. I remember the day I received the demo of this CD from the record company so that I would consider featuring it in the club. I loved it. I remember the vice president of the division walking by my desk while I was playing the album, and I told him, “This is the next platinum record in Christian music.” Now, that wasn’t really going out on a limb. It’s a little like saying the Yankees have a shot at the playoffs at the beginning of the baseball season—it was almost a given.

But I remember putting this song, in particular, on a tape and driving down LBJ Freeway in Dallas, where I lived at the time, and giving it the full range of my Mazda 626’s radio’s ability. Promise Keepers was coming to Dallas and I was picking my dad up at the airport. I blasted the song on the way to the airport and then I played it for him as I left the airport. I loved it. I loved the words. I loved the musical style. I loved the humility and the songwriter’s willingness to repent. Repentance is a beautiful thing. (Click here for a link to a youtube version of the song)

So here are some thoughts about “In the Light,” which was written and performed originally by Charlie Peacock and released in 1995 by DC Talk.

Verse 1:
• I really do have excuses for the selfish things I do. They usually revolve around me having been wronged by someone else in some way. I justify them by saying to myself, “Well, I wouldn’t normally do this, but since I am suffering in this way then I deserve to have my way here.” But the truth behind it is that I am simply trying to find a “light” on my own and apart from you.

Verse 2:
• I cannot imagine what it will be like to not have the disease of self in me anymore. I know that there are those who would say that I already have the victory in Jesus and I have all I need. And I understand that, and I am glad that the cancer is being managed, but the truth is, this cancer of self will not completely be purged until I cross over to the other side. Much like my mother-in-law’s cancer was not purged from her until after her death, this cancer of self is simply a part of who I am here.

Chorus:
• Obviously, the first part of the chorus is a play on what Paul said about doing the things he didn’t want to do. But then my favorite part of the whole song is right here: “This only serves to confirm my suspicions—that I’m still a man in need of a savior.”
• Sweet Jesus, I need you to be my light because I have no light on my own. I need you to be my salvation. All I want is to be in your light.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Hymns and Songs

 

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