Monday, May 30, 2011

Going Back In Time

Here is a video of me and the Saturate band playing 'Your Name'. Saturate is the 20Something's gathering at LCBC Church. I'm not gonna lie, it's an old video. Have fun watching a clip from yesteryear!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Discouragement Management

     If you have ever had a manager that said things like, “Yeah, well if you think THAT’S bad, wait till…” or, “I remember a time when something similar happened to ME! Listen to this story…” you know what it means to be subject to management discouragement. I just wanted to drop a quick bit of encouragement to all of you who feel put down, undermined, discouraged or even downright frustrated in your position of subordination.
     It won’t last. It’s ok. This is not your forever.
     One of two things will happen. 1) You will get sick of it and quit or begin lashing out and underperforming leading to your dismissal. 2) You will realize that your manager is insecure and his or her actions will become so small in your mind, a mind focused on the big picture, that you’ll grow past that person. Both outcomes rely HEAVILY on your response. Don’t be that guy that everybody hates to be around because you are constantly whining about your boss.
     Be positive. Be the one that is casting vision. Serve your co-workers. 
     It will pay off. You may still be working under that person a year from now, but you will be happier and more fulfilled as an individual and therefore more valuable to your organization.
     The best way to handle a discouraging manager is to manage your own discouragement with grace and peace. TMF

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How Faces Melt - Part Three

     The best way to melt faces, point 'em to God. He will melt their heart. Here are the lyrics to a song I co-wrote with my friend, Jeff Culp. Best attempt at pointing people to God. If you've been to LCBC Church recently, you might have heard this song. It's one I'm pretty proud of.
     Also the songs I co-write are always better than the ones I write on my own. A rare, vulnerable, humble moment. Cherish it. Tomorrow, I go back to melting faces with the strength of my rock.

Savior Called
Michael Ferrari, Jeff Culp
2009 LCBC

Verse 1
Look what love I’ve found;
So complete, so secure, so sweet.
Look what hands I hold driven through with nails,
Hands so strong holding hands so frail.
Look what love I’ve found!

Verse 2
Look what joy I’ve found; I’m made new,
I’m redeemed through and through.
Laughter fills my heart when I recall
The day you became my all in all.
Look what joy I’ve found!

Verse 3
Look what peace I’ve found;
I am still, I can rest in your will.
I’m falling to my knees at the thought
That I’ve been saved I’ve been bought.
Look what peace I’ve found!

Your love’s the perfect measure
For what my heart should treasure
You lift my head up. You lift my head up.
My salvation story
I sing to bring you glory
I lift my hands up. I lift my hands up.


Verse 4
Savior called to me and
Hands once bound have been untied
And freedom found.
These feet have been set free rom shackles’ hold
Now they run to calling Savior‘s fold.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tomorrow Will Take Care Of Itself

Today I woke up early and found myself worrying about things. Money, buying our house, and a few other odds and ends. I began thinking in 'what ifs'. Immediately I was reminded of what we talked about last night at band rehearsal for LCBC_CTY (Lives Changed By Christ church, City Campus). The convo revolved around God's provision for us and what our fears and expectations are with regard to having and wanting (sounds like a Friends episode). My mind jumped to Matthew Chapter 6 (NLT). Ima post it here for you so you can read it as well and be encouraged. I love these words. They are like a how-to manual for christian living. Simple. True. Hope you have a great day. Don't worry about today. And certainly dont worry about tomorrow - tomorrow will take care of itself.

Matthew 6

Teaching about Giving to the Needy

1 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Prayer and Fasting

5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

9 Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.

10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,

12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Money and Possessions

19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Faces Melt - Part Two

Need I say anything, really?

How Faces Melt - Part One

Witness the power of this fully armed and operational battle station! - My effects deck in its most recent regeneration. Winning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Trash, Your Treasure and Vice Versa

Yesterday at LCBC Church, we heard Dr. David Ashcraft talk about trusting God even in times where we feel stuck, lost, empty, crushed, or devoid of feelings all together (GREAT message and series, by the way. You can listen to the whole thing HERE:
During an illustration using the Bible story of Abram and Sarah's ill-conception (Genesis 16), He mentioned that Abram's vast fortune would be left to his servant, Eliezer, because Abram had no offspring. (Genesis 15:2 - 2 But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth.)
The story goes on to explain that God promises Abram that he will have children and his descendants will be to numerous to count. 
My imagination was captured by the character, Eliezer. Eliezer had probably been with Abram for a very long time and therefore was the senior-most servant on Abram's staff. I wonder if thru all of those years he began to harbor a secret hope the Abram would never have children. Abram's mis-fortune would mean that he, Eliezer, would have un unbelievable payday upon Abram's death. I'm sure he was a dutiful and respectful servant whom carried out his responsibilities with excellence, otherwise he would have been the heir to Abram's wealth. I'm not calling Eliezer's character into question, but even the most upright person is subject to hopes and dreams. Did he dream of being an independent man? Did he dream of being affluent enough to be respected as more than a servant? If it had been me, I think I would have unwittingly set up an idealized potential future for myself, in my mind, that included the unfortunate outcome for Abram and Sarah of not ever having any children. 
Meanwhile, Abram would have been hoping for an outcome that would impact my desires for myself, no matter how secret. 
What I'm really talking about here is expectation. Expectations are a tricky thing because they are directly linked to my desires. When I find myself in "The Land Between", stuck between where I was and where I want to be, I should ask myself, "Am i feeling stuck because I'm not getting where I want to go?" AND, "Is where I want to go based upon what I want or what God wants for me?" Would I be content to stay where I am if that is the outcome God had in mind all along, even if it means never getting to the outcome that I envisioned for myself? These are questions that can only be answered with time and just living. That frustrates the crap out of a results-based laborer like myself. But they are realities I have to face. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

When We Don't Talk

When we don’t talk it’s impossible
to rephrase all the things we don’t say
Comes as a shock but it’s logical
You can’t lose if you’re refusing to play
     Haul in the reigns , stop on the plains
     Circle the wagons so you don’t go insane.
     Look at the clock it’s unstoppable
     but you’re surely gonna try anyway.

When we don’t relate it’s improbable
that relationships will start on their own
Do what it takes to make the honor role
Just make sure your cover doesn’t get blown
Haul in the souls, heap on the coals
Help ‘em work harder to achieve all the goals
Put out the bait in a sugar bowl
If they bite you’re one step closer to home.

Do what you need
Heaven will bleed
Isn't it true that you will reap what you sow?
You plant the seed
give it some feed
It's not your job to help it to grow

When we don’t love cause it’s unfashionable
We destroy the chance for love in return
When push comes to shove it’s acceptable
To withhold the love even if we burn
Harbor the fears, do it for years
Let no one see you when you’re shedding your tears
It comes from above and it’s credible
That the Mighty One is mighty concerned

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Grandma's Turn

We all die. We take turns. This time it's my grandma's. Today I'm visiting her like I did so many times growing up. Her house. Then her apartment. Now her continuing care home. She lives on the eighth floor. The dementia ward. I meet my mom in the lobby. I'm glad she is here. As lost as I feel, I cant imagine being here alone with just grandma. She doesn't really know who I am. I would've been visiting my past. At least with my mom here I can avoid my memories. Memories of who my grandma was. How every summer, my brother and I would go to her house in Allentown and do every fun thing. Eat candy. Buy things we didn't need. But, I'm glad I'm not thinking about those times. If I did, I might feel sad at the realization of the contrast between the lady in my memory and the frail, skeletal, pale shadow lying in the bed in front of me. She's falling asleep. It's time to go. I don't want to go. I don't want to stay. I want to hold her hand a second longer. The fool inside believes that if I hold her hand, there will be a reversal of the slow, vicious, steady decline of mind and body - and the will to live. It's time to go. We are walking out. Thru the halls, to the elevator. We have to weave left and right as we go to avoid bumping into the other grandmas and grandpas sitting in wheelchairs and rolling beds. I feel overwhelmed. As we wait for the elevator, I stand behind my mom and watch as she waves and smiles to the other residents and some of the nurses. I am five years old again. I'm glad my mom is here. We get in the elevator and start making small talk. It smells like piss. In the lobby again, I give my badge to the attendant at the desk. As we walk along the sidewalk to our cars, my mom says, "I guess I always just felt that my mom would be around". Then I realize - she feel the same as me. Lost. Sad. Five. I'm pretty sure I said, "Bye Grandma" for the last time in my life.