Back into Praise Music

When it comes to praise music, I'm old school. I grew up on Maranatha! praise music (you can tell I know my stuff because I put an exclamation mark after Maranatha!--there, I did it again), but then lost interest during the whole Integrity/HillSong era, which featured some decent songs, but got a little soft for me. I like my praise music with a little more umph. Besides, my wife and I joined a Presbyterian church, and the only praise music they knew was the old stuff, mainly Maranatha! and Integrity songs.

That's the way it was until we got a new music director in our church, and he began introducing some of the newer praise music, in particular the songs of Chris Tomlin. I started perking up my ears on such songs as "Indescribable" and "How Great Is Our God." Then I found out that Tomlin was part of the Passion Conferences, and that impressed me. So I decided to purchase both of his worship CDs on iTunes, and that's all I've been listening to lately. The music is great, and the lyrics are very God-centered.

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Tags | Music

When Tragedy Strikes Home

Just as the fires in California were being extinguished, a horrible tragedy took place in North Carolina. Seven college students were killed when a fire raced through the beach house they were staying in over the weekend. The loss of life is about equal to the number of people killed in California as a direct result of the fires that burned more than half a million acres, but the North Carolina devastation is much more personal. There are faces to this freak accident. These were young friends in the prime of their lives.

As I read about the North Carolina fire, I thought about the families and the unspeakable grief they must be experiencing. Then I glanced at some of the comments posted next to the article, a feature in today's social media world. Most were warmly supportive, offering prayers and condolences. But there was one that stood out, and I couldn't help but read it. I wish I had not.

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Tags | Belief

Do Fires Teach Us?

The recent fires in Southern California gripped the nation as the horrific images of houses and forests being consumed indiscriminately appeared on television and on the Web. Half a million people fled their homes (including two of my friends who were evacuated from their senior residential communities in San Diego), about 2,000 homes were lost, and a half dozen people lost their lives. Even though tragedies like this hit this region every few years, you just never get used to it. And, it seems, you're never prepared for the devastation.

Some people say these fires are the price we pay for living where we do. This part of the world is hot and dry (and getting hotter and drier), and they keep building more and more houses in places where the fires thrive if given a chance. I don't really have an opinion on that, because you could probably apply that argument to just about every region of the country. If you shouldn't live where wildfires are a reality, then you shouldn't build houses in hurricane zones. You shouldn't live where earthquakes are imminent. You shouldn't live where men still have mullets. The list could go on.

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