Sunday, March 29, 2009

Musical Opportunity

Recently a good friend of mine, Asher Harris aka Point Ash, told me that he wanted me to be on his album (he is soon releasing a Christian hip hop album). He explained that he wanted me to do a "Dave Clark voicemail style" album intro. I like to be creative with the voicemail messages on my phone, so I am changing it every few months or so with silly songs and catchy little "ditties." I was a little nervous about it at first. When I create a voicemail song no one has to like it, and it's just supposed to be silly. However, since this was for his album I felt the pressure to come up with something unique. I took one of my voicemail tunes and changed the lyrics to reflect his album title. I just tried to be corny and silly and creative and I think it worked (at least Ash was pleased with it). It was really cool to be in the studio with him and to see how much work goes into each song. It was intense work they were doing, but at the same time we laughed till our faces hurt.

His album is really going to be nice. You can check out his music at or He is a good brother in the Lord. He is real authentic, desires to grow, and loves to encourage and build with other brothers.

I wanted to somehow link the audio of the intro to this site, but I am still trying to figure out how to do that. I really feel like this intro could open up other doors for me:) I want to give a shout out to my mom for the gift of writing silly poems and songs...What up Colin?!! (love you mom)

Friday, March 27, 2009

What's in a name?

I can't remember when the first time was that someone, after I had introduced myself as Dave Clark, responded with a question and/or a joke about the Dave Clark 5 (rock group from the 60s). I know at some point my parents explained to me what they (older adults) were referring to. I still get it to this day. Most recently, I was at a youth event in the suburbs as a guest judge for a speech competition. When I introduced myself to the woman coordinating the event, she smiled did a little "shimmy" and asked me about the band. I usually smile and say something like, "we retired" or "I'm not doing music anymore."

Here is a tribute clip to the Dave Clark 5. Consider it a "fun pass" for the weekend. I dare you to try and watch this video and not smile.

The Fab 5 Influence

Nuff said.

The Fab 5

I watched some more tournament games tonight. After this weekend the field will be down to 8. I spoke with my brother on the phone today and we were reminiscing about previous tournaments and Michigan players. I am convinced there will never be another Fab 5. They left their mark on college basketball, time out or not time out. As freshman and sophomores on the Paw Paw High School freshman and jv basketball team, we shaved our heads and wore black socks. The baggier shorts were hard to come by.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

From Bondage To Liberation

Galatians 1:10
An I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I read this verse a few times last week, and it really got me thinking. I am a bridge-builder/peacemaker type (in many ways we are all called to be this in Christ). God has made me this way, I believe for His good. I don't like to see conflict. I like to see people getting along, living harmoniously. I am disturbed by divisions in the church - across racial lines, economic/class lines, political lines, etc. This type of division and conflict and strife erks me (my Holy Discontent - probably another blog forthcoming). In many ways this is a great trait. I know that God can use this (and has by His grace). However, on the flip slide there can be some weaknesses in being a bridge builder/peacemaker type. It can lead to people pleasing. It can lead to not rocking the boat, even though the boat needs to be rocked. It can also lead to a type of bondage. People pleasing can be an exhausting game of futility. Pleasing everyone is just not possible (nor should it be desired). The danger in this is that the farther I have gone in ministry the more people I have built relationships with(supporters, churches, co-workers, peers, students, teachers, etc.) - and the more people to potentially "please." If the Lord gives me a family someday, I realize I will never be able to please everyone.

Paul says, "If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." He seems to be stating that you can't be a "man pleaser" and be a servant of Christ. The two don't mesh. Although that might seem almost too challenging, there is great hope in those words. Serving Christ and seeking to please Him can provide liberation from the bondage of people pleasing. By God's grace He has grown me in this area in my life, and I trust that He will continue to grow me (to liberate me).

I was reminded of Jason Eskridge's song "Liberator." It is a powerful song. Here are some of the lyrics.

Your hand of freedom
Reached into my situation
Breaking my binding chains and granting me liberation
I once was bound to myself, the worst of penalties
Couldn't escape from my sin, until You rescued me
But now...

You are my liberator
Your love set me free
You are my emancipator
With Your blood You bought me
Now I am free

Not going back to that place again
Where my mind and my body are enslaved to sin
Through Your life and Your death and Your life again
Taking this dead man and making me breathe again


I'm set free, I'm set free

Does anybody else struggle with this? Chime in.

Be Careful Of Turning Aside

I recently read through the book of Judges. It is definitely an interesting book. There is some crazy stuff in the book of Judges. One of the more familiar stories from this book is the story of Samson. This is a story that is told in many Sunday school classrooms and is even preached from occasionally. Some things jumped out at me this time, that hadn't jumped out at me before. Let me share some of my observations. First of all, Samson had made a Nazirite vow. In a nutshell, Samson was set apart (or his life was set apart) for the Lord and His purposes. However, Samson had some character weaknesses that were exposed. It begins in chapter 14 where Samson "turns aside" to look at a lion's carcass. He scooped some honey out of the carcass because it looked sweet. He discovered that it tasted sweet too. However, this "secret" act was a violation of the laws that he was to live according to. This initial "turning aside," I believe opened him up to further "slippage." In chapter 16 it says that "he saw" a prostitute and then went after her and got with her. Three verses later he meets and "falls in love" with Delilah. Most of us know the rest of the story...destruction for Samson.

I see a connectedness between these acts in the life of Samson. Samson's life was set apart for the purposes of God until a simple act of "turning aside" for something that looked and tasted sweet led him down a slippery slope of destruction. He became easily distracted from the things of God, and from God's purpose for his life. As my roommate Paul's grandmother used to tell him growing up, "Sin always takes you further than you want to go."

I was reminded of times in my life when an "innocent" turning aside led to additional turning asides. I also asked God to reveal any areas where I might currently be turning aside. Psalm 139:23-24. We are all in need of God's grace to keep us following after Him, and looking to Him and not elsewhere.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Madness

The first NCAA tournament that I remember watching was in 1987. I was nine years old at the time, and I remember the final game in which Indiana beat Syracuse on a clutch shot by Keith Smart. The following year I remember watching Danny Manning and the Kansas Jayhawks defeat Stacey King and Mookie Blaylock and the Oklahoma Sooners. 1989 was probably my favorite year, as the Michigan Wolverines led by Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson beat the Seton Hall Pirates (featuring Ramon Ramos and Andrew Gaze) in the final game (I have been a Michigan basketball fan ever since).

Each year I looked forward to selection Sunday. My brother John and I sometimes would even map out the bracket onto a large poster board. We would fill it in as we watched the selection show, and then post it prominently on the wall next to the television. Then the first weekend of the NCAA tournament (this weekend) all we would to is watch the games, eat, and possibly head outside to our basketball court (no matter how cold it was) for some inspired shooting.

I haven't been able to follow college basketball like I used to (I don't have cable at my house.), but I still love March Madness. I have attached a video of the "One Shining Moment" song and highlight video that they play each year after the conclusion. I look forward to watching it every year.

What is your favorite tournament moment? Which games do you remember? Players?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Impact of A Life of Service

Last night, one of my supporters, Paul Merrill, went home to be with the Lord. He had been battling various health issues for the past two years or so. My memory of Mr. Merrill goes back a long ways. He was one of my "children's church" teachers when I was in my early elementary years. I remember him teaching us Bible stories and using his various magic tricks as illustrations. As I got a little bit older, I remember he and his wife Judy working with me at AWANA club to memorize verses (many of which I still remember today). When I graduated high school I remember them writing a note to me in my graduation card, encouraging me in the Lord, even though at the time I wasn't walking with the Lord. When I first raised support to do a summer internship with Sunshine during the summer of 2002, Paul & Judy were some of my first financial supporters. They were crucial supporters during my early years with Sunshine because not only did they give financially, and not only were they faithful in prayer, but I always knew they believed in me and in the work that God had called me to. During the last several months, Paul's health difficulties have kept him away from church at Lawton EMC. However, when I preached there on Sunday February 8th, he was there with Judy. He looked very frail, and was in a wheel chair, but it was great to see him as I canned the faces in the sanctuary as I preached.

Yesterday morning I had a meeting with a colleague of mine focusing on leadership development curriculum. We spoke about how crucial it is for elementary/grade school students to have role model figures in their lives, who encourage them and cast vision for them and believe in them. As I reflected on that in my own life, I have been blessed to have several people who have come alongside me at different stages growing up and been that person for me. Mr. Merrill was one of "those people" for me when I was a very shy and timid elementary school student. On Saturday we will celebrate his life. He faithfully served in children's ministry for many years. Even as his health began to fail in his latter years, he served faithfully in his ministry of interceding for others. As her persevered through various procedures and treatments, and through much discomfort, he faithfully served the Lord till the end.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sufficient for Today

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I ask of you O Lord
Do not refuse me before I die
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches
but give me only my daily bread
Otherwise I may have too much and disown You and say, "who is the LORD?"
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Matthew 6:9-11
This then is how you should pray
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread

Pressing In

I'm in a weird place right now so to speak. I am doing a lot of self-reflection and self examination. I am reflecting on where I'm at in life, where I'm at in ministry, where I'm at in my walk with the Lord. In some ways this is a scary and uncomfortable process. At the same time it is a purifying and good process.

I remember when my good friend Aaron told me that a pastor in Chattanooga TN told him that when things are cloudy or when things seem uncertain to "press in" meaning to press into the Lord, to cling to Him, to trust Him. That is what I am seeking the grace to do right now. I recently memorized Psalm 139:23-24 which says, "Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

In this process, I am asking God for the grace to more fully trust Him.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Celebrating God At Work

First of all, thanks to Kevin Gwin for putting me on to this video.

As I have spoke with people about how God is using the art form of Christian hip hop, especially when speaking to those who don't have "an ear for it," I have told them how much theological depth and content can be placed in each song. The format of the music allows for this. It is also ideal for testimonial type songs, again because of the format of the music.

This video is a perfect example of that. This is Dwayne Tryumf, a rapper from the UK, who I saw for the first time at the Legacy Conference last year. God is doing amazing things within the sub-culture of hip hop! Whether we have "an ear" for hip hop or not, and whether or not we appreciate the art form or not, we need to celebrate the way God is using it to reveal Himself and to strengthen His followers.