“It’s Happening Again” updated 10/29/2018

I wrote this song in 2017 after the unspeakably horrific Las Vegas shootings. Unfortunately the epidemic of violence continues, so with a heavy heart I offer this updated version of the song in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre on Saturday October 27, 2018. I post the song because I believe when the worst comes out in one, the best comes out in more. Dear God, have mercy again.

https://youtu.be/-uKN36R6Bj0

Rick Jordan

 

Faith Coaches (Psalm 59:9,17)

Two of my faith coaches are a married couple named Dick and Barb. Dick is a paraplegic because of a vehicular accident approximately twenty years ago. He accepted his wheelchair and his limitations as a new assignment from God. He is constantly on the lookout for the signs of God’s presence, and he is constantly on the lookout for ways to build people up. Today he said to me, “You have to look for things to celebrate, and then you have to decide you will celebrate those things.” Barb is so jam-packed with life that it jumps out of her. She takes care of her husband with seemingly untiring devotion. Barb chooses to be engaged in faith and in life full-throttle. Of course they are not perfect, but their lives teach me. They remind me of a quote and a Scripture passage. The anonymous quote is, “Faith is the decision to keep your eyes open.” The Scripture passage is from Psalm 59:9 and 17. “O my Strength, I will watch for You, for You, O God, are my Fortress. O my Strength, I will sing praises to You, for You, O God, are my Fortress, the God Who shows me steadfast love.”

Grace and peace,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)

The story behind the song “Grace Has Become Your New Home”

We live in a transitional neighborhood. Several years ago, on the evening before a bulky trash pick-up, we set out on the curb a variety of items we could no longer use. Most of these items were broken. An hour later, everything was gone! People had driven by and picked everything up. Since then, I have tested this phenomenon several times. A broken aquarium…GONE. A vacuum cleaner that no longer sucked…GONE. A rusted out shower caddy…GONE. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

A song lyric came to me as I was staring at our empty front yard after the latest round – “When the curb you’ve been kicked to is where Jesus grabs you, then grace has become your new home.”

Here is how Paul puts it. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:1-10 New Living Translation)

Blessings,

Rick Jordan (one of Jesus’ ongoing reclamation projects)

https://youtu.be/dguOy_d55j8

 

New Song – “Grace Has Become Your New Home”

Here is my brand new song – “When the curb you’ve been kicked to is where Jesus grabs you, then GRACE HAS BECOME YOUR NEW HOME!!!” Words & Music by Rick Jordan 07/18/2018, Copyright #bx8TM7XWSPirwG7b.

Here is where you can watch it, listen to it, “like” it, and share it – https://youtu.be/dguOy_d55j8

THANKS!!!

Rick Jordan

Are You Waiting on the Lord for Something? (Psalm 37:7)

Are you waiting on the Lord for something? Carla and I are in a waiting season, balancing by faith the tension between confidence in a God Who holds the future and uncertainty about what the future holds.

Can anybody relate? Most people of faith I know are in between one thing and another thing. Transition was normative to the faith journeys we read about in the Bible, and that has not changed.

Carla and I are learning that, while we wait ON the Lord, we can also wait IN the Lord. For example, Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still IN the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” You can also check out Psalm 39:7, Psalm 62:5-8, Psalm 130:5, Isaiah 30:15-18, and Lamentations 3:24-26.

We all block out time for who and what matters most to us. Waiting IN the Lord means we block out time to intentionally and consciously engage Christ’s presence in us…

…by worshiping God as often as possible in as many ways as possible,

…by building relationships in a faith community,

…by marinating in the Scriptures,

…and by being fully present with the Spirit of God every single day – speaking some, listening more, and being quietly still most.

Waiting IN the Lord by intentionally engaging a conscious awareness of Christ’s presence IN us changes who we are while we wait, and that kind of spiritual core formation is God’s higher purpose for our lives. It means what Christ develops in us during the process of waiting could be superior to what we find upon arrival. And of course, waiting IN the Lord also prepares us for whatever God is preparing for us.

If only it didn’t take so blasted long, right? We want a microwave God, but we have a slow-cooking God. The results are much more satisfying.

May you and I be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for God to act.

Tick tock,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)

Here is our YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfmKSgzM6LKsI2wAqH8R_ZA/featured

 

“Powering Up God’s Way” (Isaiah 40:27-31)

What kinds of strength or power does the world recognize and reward?

  • Physical power
  • Military power
  • Athletic power
  • Persuasive power
  • Glamorous power
  • Attractive power
  • Prestigious power
  • Seductive power
  • Intimidating power
  • Charismatic power
  • Racial/ ethnic power
  • Sizable power
  • Political power
  • Financial power
  • Intellectual power
  • Social power
  • Manipulative power
  • ???

Some of these powers are intrinsically good and helpful. Some of these powers are intrinsically evil and harmful. Some of these powers are neutral – the way we use them determines their morality.

God’s power is incomparably greater than every conceivable form of human power, but human powers are more tangible and more sensory, aren’t  they? Because God’s power functions subversively we can miss it, especially when we feel powerless in this world.

Isaiah wrote this prophecy to exiles, people whose nation had been swallowed up by the dominant empire of that day – Babylon. From Israel’s desolate and conquered perspective God was disregarding their troubles and ignoring their rights (Isaiah 40:27).

It’s easy to read God that way when our faith is in a weakened condition.

In the passage, God argues otherwise. Isaiah 40:28 says God is Almighty whether we see it or not. God’s resources are never exhausted. God’s perceptiveness never dims.

Isaiah 40:29 is one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible. According to this verse, we qualify for God’s strength when we own our weakness! This reminds me of the first three steps in the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

BRILLIANT!!! We own our weakness, we choose to believe in God, and we entrust ourselves to God.

Isaiah 40:30 gives us valuable information about people who epitomize humanity at its dynamic peak. That strength eventually declines. At our very best and even with our technologically advanced powers, we cannot compete with God’s power.

Isaiah 40:31 continues that line of reasoning by presenting the alternative. “But those who wait on (hope in, trust in) the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not get weary. They will walk and not faint.”

What does it mean to wait on the Lord? We identify primarily with passive waiting, like standing in line or being put on hold. But “wait” in verse 31 refers to active waiting. We entrust ourselves to God moment by moment, wrapping ourselves around God and tenaciously leaning against the wind into the solid hope that God is still faithful to His promises and is still capable, no matter what powers in this life have destabilized us or enfeebled us.

People who live in such intentional and trusting hope “gain new strength.” This means far more than God supplying a boost or a power surge to what we already have going for us. Rather, we come to an end of ourselves and we exchange our failing strength for God’s sustainable power (verses 29 and 30).

God’s strength manifests itself in three scenarios. In the first scenario we soar high on wings like eagles. There are seasons in life when we are effortlessly and transcendently gliding. In this scenario it is all good.

In the second scenario we run without getting weary. There are seasons when life is challenging and there is resistance (like hills during a marathon), but we are making progress. We hit our pace and keep moving. In this scenario it is not all good but we are okay.

In the third scenario we walk without fainting. There are seasons when life stinks, when faith wobbles, when we are disillusioned or discouraged or deflated, and the best we can manage is to shuffle one 5,000 pound leg forward and then move the other leg in generally the same direction or in no direction we can detect. In this scenario it is not all good and we are not okay but by God’s grace we are still standing. Success is defined as not totally shutting down and giving up.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could choose which scenario or season characterizes us? The faith journey does not work that way. We do, however, get to choose the source of our strength. We do not have to settle for human strength or power that is ultimately inadequate. We can own our weakness and exchange our ebbing strength for God’s strength.

God most emphatically demonstrates divine strength in the weakness of the crucified Christ. On the cross, worldly powers were broken from the top down and humble love secured our redemption from the bottom up. God offers us that kind of strength.

Are you soaring? Are you running? Are you walking? Are you collapsing? In the grace of the Gospel we come as we are, not as we should be.

May you and I exchange our powerlessness for God’s enduring and adaptable strength.

Grace and peace,

Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, rickjordankcmo@gmail.com)