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Forgiveness

Monday, April 27, 2009

There is a daily struggle that goes on inside of me. It probably happens in you, too. To forgive or not to forgive. Why should I be motivated to forgive? What if holding someone's sins close to my heart is the only power I have? What do I have left if I let that prize loose?

Here are a couple of things I've learned about forgiveness, but not from a book. I gained this knowledge through an intimate, nurturing relationship with my wounds.

  • Forgiveness is more for the forgiver than the forgiven
  • Unforgiveness chains you to the un-forgiven one

Luke 4:18 says that Jesus came to set the captives free...

"to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness" (Is 42:7).

Everything Jesus did and commands is for our healing and freedom

He is the Redeemer, the One Who paid the price to ransom us from slavery. God the Father "rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. Through Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins" (Col 1:13-14).

In Luke 6:37 Jesus said:
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Here's what's at stake: Freedom.

Forgiveness is about your freedom or your imprisonment.

Book Review: The Noticer

image Book title: The Noticer
Author: Andy Andrews
Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2009
Number of pages: including reader’s guide, 167

Your current situation is not the problem. The problem is that you need perspective. Jones, Andy Andrews’ main character has a gift of making unique observations about people and then helping them make the adjustments necessary to get back on track. For the man fearful about his impending death, he needed to learn that the best was yet to come. For the man so driven to succeed that he abused everyone in his life, he needed to know that his death was right around the corner. Giving people a new perspective was Jones gift to them. He helped them make healthy, hopeful changes.

Everybody in the Gulf Coast town the story was set in had something to say about Jones. Jones always showed up at the most unexpected but most necessary times. He met people at the cross roads in their lives. He helped them pick the path they needed to go down. Not the easy path, but the most essential one.

The way Andrews brought Jones to life is intriguing. I couldn’t wait to read the sage words Jones would dispense to his listeners. He’s a humble teacher. He knows he’s been given truth as a tool to turn lives around and he gives his gift away generously and tirelessly.

Where you are is where you need to be. This is the place you will be most receptive and teachable; most willing to implement the changes that will bring effective change.

Jones is a compelling character. The people he talks to are believable. They’re you’re neighbors, your coworkers, and you go to church with them. If they make the changes Jones advises, life will be so much better. But the changes that are so obvious to the outside observer elude the person so tangled in his own circumstances. But a little perspective goes a long way.

Andrews introduces the reader to a series of people just like the people you know. Just like you. Some people need a little work. Some people need a lot.

This book emphasizes productive and fruitful interaction between people. It’s from your relationships with people that opportunities and encouragement come. People have to want to be around you in order for opportunity and encouragement to come your way. Will you make the changes that need to be made?

Those who enjoyed The Shack or the Dream Giver will enjoy this book. Self improvement and business books that handle many of same topics abound. But Andrews’ narrative style gets the message across without preaching. I can’t wait to give this book away because I know it will be enjoyed.

The book will be released Tuesday, April 28, 2009.

Visit http://www.thenoticerproject.com for more information about "The Noticer Project."

Check out these videos featuring Andy Andrews and The Noticer:

A Letter from Jail

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Philippians and jail go hand-in-hand with Saint Paul. Paul wrote this letter from jail in Rome. If Paul didn't want the Philippians to look to outside circumstances as their source of well being, that's exactly what he demonstrated in his life; joy through adversity.

Often Paul's work for the Lord landed him in jail. While in jail Paul sang songs about God. He sang them to God, but everybody present in the jailhouse listened in. A strong earthquake shook the jail so hard that all the doors popped open. But Paul stayed in his cell which convinced a sleepy, suicidal jailer from killing himself. Instead, he converted to Christ. This was the beginning of the church at Philippi.

Paul learned that total self-abandonment to Christ is not only the only way to live, it has an incredible by-product: joy. Joy is the theme of his epistle to the Philippians. Joy is why Paul is a bottomless well of encouragement. Circumstances do not dictate Paul's mood or commitment.

Jesus Christ is a never ending source of both joy and encouragement and Paul is a conduit delivering both.

Paul doesn't derive joy from titles, although he's earned many. In his letter to the Philippians, he puts himself and Timothy, his pupil in ministry and the faith, on equal ground as servants. Paul addresses the leaders of the church in Philippi as elders and deacons; as leaders he submits himself to. Paul set an example for the leaders of the church and for Timothy, the young pastor in training that joy comes from being a servant to all, even those you lead and or are training.

Paul trademark opening in his letters are the words "grace and peace." It's been said that there can not be peace with God until you've experienced the grace of God.

Paul states that grace and peace flow from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a theological point that cannot be overlooked. The way he connects God the Father with Jesus Christ in this sentence puts the Father and the Son on equal ground. Grace and peace flows from both. It's significant because Paul was schooled as a Pharisee. Paul was an authority in the Jewish Scriptures and knew exactly what he was doing when he connected Father and Son with the conjunction AND. He made them equal just as he made Timothy and he equal servants. The Father and Jesus are equally God.

Joy is the product of a relationship with Christ. It can only come through experiencing grace and peace with God. When possessions and material riches are stripped away, joy abides if Christ is present in one's life. When titles like "apostle" or "king" are replaced with titles like "slave" or "servant," then joy present. It is the demonstration that Christ is indeed real and relevant in a person's life and deeds.

The motivation to serve and go deeper with Christ comes from encouragement and deep joy rather than loading burdens on someone's back or by heaping guilt. Which do we see at work more often in modern religious culture? Encouragement or belittling? Announcing joy or burdening with guilt? What are the techniques you practice: prayer or manipulation? Trust or sin management?

Philippians is a book of joy. The first time Paul was in prison, he was miraculously released. This time in prison, as he pens this epistle he is not. Miracles are not our source of joy. God is.

Jars of Clay Awarded at Doves for Blood:Water Mission Efforts in Africa : Blood Water Mission

image 

More than entertainers...

(Nashville, Tenn.) April 23, 2009 – Jars of Clay, who launched its 10th project The Long Fall Back To Earth on Tuesday and performed at a fundraiser for the African Children’s Choir with Big Kenny, Faith Hill, Third Day, Keith Urban and others last night, has long been known for its innovative, intellectual brand of rock music, but it’s equally known and respected for its humanitarian efforts, specifically those that serve the continent and people of Africa.  Tonight, live at Nashville’s Opry House during the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards, the band was honored with the Gospel Music Channel’s “Gospel Angels Award” for its tireless efforts.
[continued]

from gospelmusicchannel.com

Jars of Clay Awarded at Doves for Blood:Water Mission Efforts in Africa : Blood Water Mission

Baby Shaker Game

Thursday, April 23, 2009

image File this under "things that make me want to throw up." Some brilliant young mind created this iPhone app called "Baby Shaker." The game loads an image of a crying baby onto your phone and you shake the phone until the baby stops crying. Red x's covering your baby's eyes indicates your success. Here's a video:

The game was designed by Sikalosoft, designer of $.99 downloads.

Thankfully, public outcry against this company is at a fever pitch. I hope this company never makes another dime. This was not a mistake; it was a choice. A bad one.

It's awesome to use technology to create.

It's deplorable to use technology to pervert and to keep violence and wickedness in circulation. Execs at Siklasoft should spend time with victims of shaken baby syndrome. I could arrange it.

Back and Forth

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We've made it half way. Allie has had her A frame cast on for three of six weeks. We all are doing much better than we thought; Allie is adjusting fine and the charming and beautiful Susan and I have not killed each other or even disemboweled one another. I think that's a good thing.

We have date for the cast to come off: May 8. Allie started back to physical, occupational and speech therapies today. She seemed happy to see everybody down at the Children's Therapy place on Indiantown Road.

We also wanted to say thank you to everybody that brought us food while we were in the hospital and since we've been home. So thanks Dave and Leyette, Lyndsey and Andrew, Jim, Yolanda, Jessica and Bob, Lindsey and Robin, Joyce, Luann, and Julia for making cookies. And some of you still owe us some food. You know who you are. And if I forgot you, sorry about that. You know who you are.

Allie had her stitches removed last Friday. But the incisions got infected so we've been back and forth to the doctor. They're getting better.

The easiest thing about this has been lovin' on Allie. She's so loveable.

Oxymoron

Monday, April 20, 2009

image Today it was reported on Headline News that a Canadian warship apprehended pirates in the hot zone surrounding the Gulf of Aden.

Those are two words that sound weird in the same sentence: "Canadian" and "warship."

Overheard...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rachael had this to say about Bobby Michaels...

"Nothing has changed about God because Bobby died."

Newest Mondok!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

image My new nephew! Rene Daniel Mondok. Congratulations Daniel and Lindsey.

Overheard...

Jim McAnlis had this to say about Bobby Michaels:

Bobby helped people discover that life begins when you begin to give your life away.

So long...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

image Yesterday we said good-bye to THE MOST positive guy I've EVER known. A memorial service was held for Christian recording artist Bobby Michaels. Pastor Dan Plourde officiated. Pastor Dan was Bobby's pastor and obviously had deep affection and tremendous respect for Bobby. Dan made us miss Bobby all the more, but he also lead us in celebration of his life, the lives Bobby touched, and Bobby's ultimate destination: the presence of Jesus.

We took the opportunity to show our love for the family. Pray for Lee, Bobby's beloved wife. Even at the funeral of her husband, Lee was full of poise and encouragement for others.

Pray for the future of Musicianaries, Inc. It was announced by a board member that the ministry will continue. Bobby paved the way for ministry into many countries: Cambodia, Cuba, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa just to name a few. Pray how you might be a part of this continuing effort to reach the world for Christ.

Fitness Orb Antics

Sunday, April 12, 2009

So what hidden talents do you possess. My son has many. Some of them may even be marketable. Not this one. But maybe some others.

Amazingly Resilient

Thursday, April 09, 2009

IMG_1109

This kid has been pretty happy the past couple of days. Every day gets better. Dr. Bayhnam said that kids are "amazingly resilient" after these operations, but we didn't believe him. We stand corrected.IMG_1106

Above is Allie in her new wagon from Grandpa Jim. 

This is from this morning:

First Weekend

Monday, April 06, 2009

image Our first weekend home from the hospital went way more smoothly than we expected. Caring for Allie has not been the post-operative nightmare we thought it was going to be.

Dr. Baynham did say that kids are amazingly resilient after these operations, but we just thought he was painting a rosy picture for us. You know, giving us hope or something crazy like that. To which we rolled our eyes and politely nodded.

But we stand corrected.

Dr. Baynham didn't have to do all the work he set out to do, thankfully. One of the steps he thought he would have to take in the operation was breaking Allie's pelvic bone and reshaping her little hip sockets. After he lengthened her muscles and reshaped her femur bones, everything went right into place. The payoff: a thigh-high instead of waist-high cast. Allie's mobility is much greater making our lives and her recovery much easier.

We attribute these fantastic results to prayers answered and the fantastic skill of our doctor. In that order.

Bobby Michaels' Memorial Celebration Service

Sunday, April 05, 2009

jesusDear Precious Friends,

We have so been comforted and moved by your expressions of love for Bobby and our family during these past weeks!  We would love to include you in our plans to remember Bobby's life and what he meant to all of us by requesting your presence at the Memorial Celebration Service in honor of our dear husband, father, friend, mentor, teacher and singer, Bobby Michaels, on Tuesday, April 14th, at 2:00pm. 

The service will be held at Christ Fellowship Church, located at 5343 Northlake Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418. 

The Musicianaries' office has arranged for a special rate of $89/night at the Hilton Garden Inn, Palm Beach Gardens for our out-of-town guests.  The hotel is located at 3505 Kyoto Gardens Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.  Their telephone number is 561.694.5833.  Please tell them this is under the "Group Name" -- Bobby Michaels.  If you have any questions or problems please contact Ellie Wyatt at the hotel. 

We are planning a reception after the Memorial Service and request that RSVP's be made ONLY to John Clark at john@musicianaries.org, so we can get an accurate count for the catering. 

In lieu of flowers, a bereavement fund has been established to help support Bobby's wife.  Those wanting to contribute to the fund may send a gift to Lee Michaels, PO Box 31868, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420.

Again, we appreciate your love, support and friendship!  It would be an honor to see you there to celebrate our Papa's life with us!  May the Lord richly bless you!

Rachel Esterhuyse and Jeff Gordley

Bobby and Lee's children

Buzzing Terrorists

image We're still figuring out our sleeping arrangements around our house. We have Allie in our bed with her A frame cast. That only leaves room for one and a quarter adults to share the bed. So one of us has to sleep on the couch. We take turns throughout the night.

We usually have the house opened up because we have such a great breeze blowing through most of the time. But my first night (Friday night), on the couch, the wind died making way for a mosquito (an al Qaeda infiltrator no doubt) to make my life hell all night. It was a hot, sticky, itchy night exploited to the max by this cursed little beast.

I, naturally, complained about it to my wife. We closed up last night and it was much more comfortable. It was my turn to sleep with Allie.

Unfortunately that wretched insect got closed up inside our house. Unfortunate for him, that is. The charming and beautiful Susan had his twisted, broken body prominently on display this morning as a present to me and a warning to all other would-be terrorists that find themselves trespassing in our humble abode.

Home

Friday, April 03, 2009

IMG_1099 Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home. At least that's what Allie seems to think.

We're delighted that Allie didn't have to have her pelvic region operated on. That means the cast is shorter than we anticipated and the payoff is huge. Allie can sit up, she can ride in the car, we can hold her. Ultimately, she's not nearly as limited (and, thus, neither are we) as we expected.

Let me just say that the eight day hospital stay was torturous. I've drafted a ripping criticism of that hospital, but it will probably stay unpublished. But I will probably refine and rework the draft for therapy's sake. The hospital stay was brutal.

Below is a video of me working some tangles out of Allie's hair. There was no way to wash her hair in the hospital and since all she did was lay on her back, her hair on the back of her head is twisted and tangled into dreadlocks. The charming and beautiful Susan is threatening to cut them out, but I'm determined to untangle them.

Book Review: Unfashionable

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Here's the latest book review I've written as it appears in the Good News of South Florida

image Pastor Tullian Tchividjian pushes back against the cult of cool in his new book, “Unfashionable,” to be released this month.

Tchividjian (pronounced “Cha-vi-jin”), 36, says that living for God is uncool. Counter-culture. The way up is down; the way in is out.

“Seekers today aren’t looking for something appealing and trendy. They’re looking for something deeper than what’s currently in fashion,” Tchividjian says.
Tchividjian grew up in a Christian home but pursued everything but God. One Sunday morning he woke up dazed after a night of drunken carousing. With a hazy head and hungry heart, Tchividian staggered to his feet and out the door to church for the first time in years.

The rumpled clothes he slept in were his Sunday best. Although the church service that morning was not notable, he sensed the transcendent presence of God, and it changed him. The experience was the catalyst for “Unfashionable.”
“Ironically, our culture’s rejection of absolute truth is stoking an unprecedented hunger for truth,” writes Tchividjian.

God’s people are called to live lives that put God’s truth on display.
God’s people are not called to be popular; they’re commanded to be faithful. That can mean that Christ’s followers will be mocked, criticized or persecuted. They’re unfashionable, because they’re different.

“We transform this world by being God’s unfashionable society,” Tchividjian writes.

It takes courage to be different from the world, and even the Church has difficulty interfacing with culture. Often, it relies on conventional wisdom rather than biblical discernment when dealing with culture.

Christians usually choose one of three methods when responding to culture. They bunch up into groups or “cocoon,” as Tchividjian puts it, keeping with their own kind. In contrast, other Christians clash with culture through “combat.” The culture war is their battle cry. The other option Christians use is to merge with the culture and “conform.” When this happens, the children of God are indistinguishable from the people of the world.

The bottom line, according to Tchividian, is we must make “contact” with the world. Salt and light, by design, make contact to preserve and illuminate. Without contact, neither have any value.

How is it then that Christians influence others? Should we focus only on political, social or economic avenues? Or is there a higher, perhaps less fashionable way to bring God’s Kingdom to earth?

Tchividjian says that Christ followers need to practice “double listening.” Christians must listen to the questions of the world while listening to the answers from God’s Word. These will give the Christian discernment to initiate change that’s transcendent rather than trendy.

“Because [God has] enlisted Christians to join him in this work, the difference we can make in this world is neither small nor insignificant; it’s a cosmic difference,” Tchividjian writes in “Unfashionable.”

Tchividjian definitely has a talent for turning a phrase. His words have a tendency to stick in the memory like Velcro. “Unfashionable” helps sort it all out.

If the flash and marketing that’s crept into the church has left you a little uneasy but you don’t know why, “Unfashionable” will help make some sense of things. If Madison Avenue’s influence on church practice and culture doesn’t make a difference to you, give Tchividjian’s book a read. It will help bring your perspective from the temporal back to the eternal.

After all, “[Jesus] calls on people to live for what is timeless and not trendy, to take up the cross and follow him, even when it means going against social norms,” as Tchividjian writes in “Unfashionable.”

via: Good News

Nothin' is Easy

IMG_1092 The only thing that comes easy with Allie is love. She is unbelievably loveable. She gives and receives love easier than any person I know.

But she's having it tough. She contracted Strep B while in the hospital. Doctors believe colonies of the bacteria were present on the tip of the catheter and stowed away when inserted during the operation. So the amazing team of St. Mary's medical pros is watching Allie around the clock in the PICU.

The charming and beautiful Susan and I are spending most of our time with her. We alternate taking a break for a few hours each day to go home and get cleaned up and refreshed.

Thanks for all the love you've been showing us through your visits, notes, emails, and meals delivered. You're kindness is keeping our heads above water.

'And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these dmy brothers, you did it to me.’ 
Matt. 25:39, 40 (ESV)

Send it to Rachel...

rachel Dear Precious Friends,

Our family seriously cannot express how thankful we are for all of the emails of condolences and memories of our Precious Bobby!  I promise what each person saw and loved in him is TRULY who he was at home too!  He has left quite the legacy!!!!

We want you to know that we would love to respond to each email personally but at this time, we are not able to.  We have read each and every email though that is sent.  We will continue to add each of your emails to a book we are making.

We would ask that you would pray for our family during this time as we are all still in shock and quite numb.  Our emotions are raw and we know that it will take a while to heal.  The good news is, we know the ultimate Healer and we know that He is still GOOD and He is still God!  Just because Papa is gone, doesn't change ANY of the Lord's characteristics!

As much as Bobby loved the people of this world so well and with such compassion, we know that he is in the presence of our Most Holy Lord and wouldn't change that for anything!

We also ask that you pray for us as we are making arrangements for all of us to get home to Florida and for the arrangements for Bobby's Celebration Service!  Once we know details regarding his Celebration service, we will let you know and be posting them on his website www.bobbymichaels.com

One other request, Mom would love a copy of any pictures you have of Bobby.  He will FOREVER be the Love of her life, as I know she was FOREVER the Love of his life!  If you would please send those to us at Musicianaries Int'l Inc, PO Box 31868, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33477 USA -- we would greatly appreciate it!

May the Lord touch each of you in a very personal and real way as we all grieve the loss of a man so precious and amazing!

Rachel

 

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