Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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Time to share a new song!

I’m not sure if I heard someone first use the phrase or if it just came to me one day. But the idea of “failing forward” has become an important part of how I view my walk with Christ.  This is a balanced approach instead of doing what many Christians do – tend towards extremes.

Some see their love walk with God as a mission, a goal to be attained and an end to be reached. Did my daily bible reading – check. Prayed for at least 15 minutes – check. Didn’t cuss, drink, smoke or have gay sex – check. Now what’s on TV? The problem with task-oriented Christianity is that Christianity, by nature, is not a task. Its a relationship. Spouses who treat their significant others as items on a to-do list have marriage problems. Similarly, Christians who treat their walk with God as a daily objective won’t ever get as close to Him as their hearts desire. Its not what’s He’s asking for and they’ll never be happy because they’ll always fall short of the self-imposed chores they’ve created.

Which brings us to our next extreme: the spiritually lazy. These folks have realized that they will never be able to keep the list of rules needed to be a “good Christian” so they quit. I’ve heard this sometimes referred to as “greasy grace” where someone just does what they want and just assumes the “grace” of God will cover it. Of course what they really are counting on is mercy, not grace, but its an unbiblical mercy. They have learned to not be task oriented (that’s good) but instead they are content with no spiritual growth (that’s bad).

Instead of these two extremes, I believe God is calling us to live a life “failing forward.” With this mentality, the Christian understands that they can never please God with a check list and knows they will make mistakes. However, instead of wallowing in their shortcomings, they choose to embrace the love relationship Jesus provided (thru scriptural grace) and continue moving forward through their shortcomings. This way the objective is not perfection, but movement in the right direction. This is what will bring true growth.

So I wrote a song about it! Music and lyrics are below. It’s just a rough home demo so don’t expect the quality of my EP or anything. I hope it ministers to you!

Failing Forward

//

It’s OK to not be OK

It’s all right to not be all right

Your father knows your frame is dust

So now He’s asking you to trust

//

Jesus sees us

As we are in Him, covered by His blood

Jesus meets us

Right where we are, offering His love

And His grace is our reward

As we run to Him failing forward

//

Don’t count your sins, repent and then forget them

Come on, get back up and don’t lose your momentum

‘Cause God’s not shocked and does not get worried

He already knows you fall short of His glory

//

It’s a process that I’ll never quite complete

But still I seek His holiness in me

And if I fall I’ll crawl until I’m on my feet

Because there’s only one direction toward only One I need:

Forward, failing forward

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Time to share another song! This one is called “We Are Yours” and is intended to be a declaration of being “all in” when it comes to God. I wanted to supply words for the congregation, youth group and retreat attendees that had made the quality decision that their lives are going to be spent seeking the face of God. One of my friends who previewed the song for me said that it sounded surprisingly “dark” compared to my other stuff. It was a great compliment. 🙂 With all the things of the world vying for our attention and affection, I think its time for the church to get a little intense and shake off the things that hold us back. After all the declarations are said and done, the bridge brings the song together with a heartfelt prayer for more of Him. I hope you like it!

To all my music snob friends: yes, I know the bass is sharp. Yes, I know the drums are too busy on the 2nd verse. Yes, the tempo is a tad fast. And yes it needs some solo work on the after-chorus turnarounds. Thanks. 🙂

Enjoy!

We Are Yours

We are the seekers; we are chasing after You

We are relentless; we’ll never cease in our pursuit

We are forgiven; we are the objects of Your grace and mercy

And now we’re hungry for more than what our natural eyes can see

We are an army; our weapons are the ways of love

We are expecting to see Your Kingdom flood the earth

We are so thankful, relieved and grateful that You’ve saved our lives

And now we’re ready to be a people that reflect Heaven’s light

//

We are Yours, We are Yours

We are Yours, We are Yours alone, Lord

//

We are the restless; we’ll persevere until we see

We are rejecting all that the world is offering

We are Your children, we’ve seen Your heart and we have felt Your hand

And now we’re asking, give us the power to fulfill Your plan

//

All consuming fire, loose Your flame among us

Burn a new desire, let Your glory fill us

My home church, Victory Fellowship Church, has just released a new worship album! It’s called “So Close to Me” and features 79 minutes of music and 13 songs.

The CD was recorded live at the church during a night of praise and worship and features many original songs among other favorites of our congregation. This is an actual live album – not one that was recorded live then re-recorded in the studio. A few things were fixed here and there in post-production but there are no overdubs and you can find mistakes if you’re looking for them!

I’m so proud of the praise team at VFC. They are truly a group of servants who genuinely want nothing more than to please the Father. It’s rare to find authentic worship musicians with no pride or ulterior motives and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to lead this team! We pray that as you listen and worship along with us, the same thickness of His presence we felt in our sanctuary that night would find you right where you listen. Check out one the songs on the CD called “Alabaster Jar” below.

We are asking for $10 donations for this CD in order to raise money for new sound equipment. If you’d like to get a copy, they are available at our church or just click HERE to donate $10 (Paypal, Credit/Debit) and pay to have it shipped directly to you.

Have you ever wondered if there is some secret to Christianity that you haven’t uncovered yet? Maybe you see other Christians hearing from God all the time, confident in their faith and doing great while you feel like you’re barely getting by. Some Christians they feel like they’re on the outside looking in. Everyone else “gets it” while they struggle. Everyone else wears their Christianity like a perfectly sized coat while their spiritual clothes just don’t fit right. So many feel that if they could just uncover that special truth, have that one mountaintop experience, or understand that one eye-opening concept – then they’d finally feel like the rest.

Well, I am here to tell you today that I, Jamie Nunnally, posses that super special secret. Are you ready? Really, ready? Cause this could change your life. You’re sure? OK, here it is:

THERE IS NO SECRET.

Seriously. The secret to Christianity is that there is no secret to Christianity. There’s no bestseller book by the latest Christian author you have to read, no sermon you must hear and no divine revelation you must receive. Being a Christian is done by faith. By sheer definition, faith means you don’t always “get it” but you’re willing to trust anyway. It means you don’t always feel like a Christian but you still believe Jesus is saving you. We are called believers, after all!

So if there is no secret, how come we don’t always feel like its working for us but working for others? Well first off, your walk with God is not based on what you feel – its based on constant interaction with God regardless of how you feel. This is the essence of Christianity: Get up in the morning. Spend some time with God (worship+word). Go to work/school/whatever God has set before you and do it as an act of worship to Him. Love (serve) others as best you can. Call on God when you fail. Share Him when you feel prompted. Enjoy your life. Go to bed. Get up in the morning. Wash, rinse repeat.

That’s it. The life of a Christian is a life of being constantly aware of God in your daily life, asking Him to guide you and obeying the best you can. There’s no secret that all the other “good” Christians have. They’ve either been at it longer than you so they’ve had more practice or they’re faking it. Either way, don’t compare yourself to others. That’s not fair to you since you know all your faults but you only know about others what they let you see.

So that’s the secret: there is no secret. Don’t spend your Christian walk chasing after an unattainable benchmark. Just sync up with your Father, through Jesus, and learn to let the Holy Spirit lead you. Do it consistently, everyday and watch how God begins to move in your life.

Whats the deal with the word Xmas? Is it just another way to spell Christmas or part of a sinister plot to remove Christ from the holiday?

Several years ago I was quickly typing up the worship set list for our church’s Christmas program. We were doing a Christmas-themed song that shared a name with a regular worship song we also did routinely. So to differentiate between the two, I typed the name of the song and next to it put “Xmas” in parenthesis to alleviate confusion. I brought the list to the praise team and someone (I honestly can’t remember who anymore) with shock said, “Jamie! Are you trying to take Jesus’ name out of Christmas?!” Huh?  No, I am not currently trying to do anything bad to Jesus, I thought to myself. I asked for more clarification. They said, “You used ‘Xmas.’ You took Christ out of Christmas and replaced it with an X. You ‘X’ed’ Him out. That’s what Atheists want to do.” Hmm. Hadn’t really thought about it. The truth is, the word “Christmas” wouldn’t fit on one line and I was trying to save space. I shook it off and went about my merry way, saying something brilliant like “whatever, dude.”

But it stayed with me. I felt bad. I didn’t wanna X-out Jesus (whatever that means). But the more I thought about it, the more it made me mad. So all the time I spent building a relationship with God was nullified because of an abbreviation? I was rejecting him because of my use of a letter? Its seemed so shallow and silly. So I did a little research and found some really cool information:

1) The letter X has been used for centuries by Christians as a symbol to represent Christ. X is used because the Greek word for Christ is Χριστός and starts with an X. Oftentimes, the word “Christian” was written “Xian” and more recently “Xtian” to differentiate between the Chinese city. Many historians report that Christians would put an X symbol above their door to secretly identify themselves to each other during times of persecution. Furthermore, early Christians used the letters X and P (the first two letters of Christ in Greek) to form a symbol for Jesus called the Chi-Rho. This symbol became synonymous with Christianity and was seen as a respectful reference to Jesus, not a way to replace Him.

2) Xmas is not pronounced “ex-mas.” The X is an abbreviation and doesn’t change the pronunciation. You don’t call Dr. Jones “Dee Are Jones.” The Dr. abbreviation is pronounced like the actual word that it is abbreviating.  In the same way, you pronounce “Xmas” just like you would the word “Christmas.”

3) Only recently, in the English language has the letter X held negative replacement connotations, like to “X’ something out. In the past it was used to highlight the importance of something by marking an X next to it. Today, it commonly represents the word “cross.” Ever seen a “Ped Xing” sign?

So whats the conclusion? Xmas is a logical abbreviation with sound Christian history, not a disrespectful way to exclude Christ from a word – or more importantly, Jesus from Christmas. Are there some who purposely and antagonistically use the abbreviation to exclude the word Christ? Sure. But the joke’s on them. They are replacing the word Christ with the sacred symbol for Christ. Sorry folks, you just can’t take Christ out of Christmas no matter how hard you try!

So should Christians use Xmas as an abbreviation when writing? Sure, why not? Do you write out the word Mister or use the Mr. abbreviation? Look, Christians need to quit finding things to get offended at. If you get forwarded an email chain about how those nasty mean ol’ atheists are trying to exclude Jesus by using Xmas, don’t resolve to show them who’s boss by pronouncing it “CHRIST-mas.” Instead, volunteer for a soup kitchen, encourage someone struggling in their faith and make a point to love someone who seems unlovable. The Kingdom of God is advanced, not by making a big deal of the darkness, but by making a big deal of the Light. The world is full of sinners and sinners sin. Big deal. Go be different.

Last week I was once again selecting songs for a Christmas service and I used Xmas on purpose. It felt cool in an ancient, connect-with-those-who-have-gone-before kind of way. Maybe we should consider being more reverent with His sacred name anyway instead of slapping it on everything in site.

So next time you see Xmas used, don’t get offended. Remember those who were persecuted who had to write their faith in symbol. Remember that X doesn’t replace but represents Jesus. And remember that the world is lost and waiting on someone who is not all hung up on abbreviations to demonstrate God’s love to them.

God bless and Merry Xmas!

Merry Xmas from the BFCC (Big Fat Christmas Cat)

To say music is a passion of mine would be a gross understatement. Music basically consumes my mind at all times. There is never a point in time when I don’t have a song, a rhythm or melody playing in my head. Never. When I wake up in the middle of the night it’s always loud in my head. You’d think it would get annoying but it doesn’t – I love it. The only time it gets irritating is when I just want to enjoy a song in its simplicity but my brain tries to take it apart layer by layer.

As I’ve studied, performed, written and obsessed over music through the years, I’ve learned that music is a spiritual medium. What do I mean by that? Well, a medium is a means by which a message is carried. Television is a medium that uses our senses of hearing and sight to get a message across to us. In the same way, I believe music is a spiritual medium. Of course, it uses sound to convey its message to our minds, but I believe it is also a gateway to our spirits. When music is heard, our inner being also comprehends and processes the spiritual message found within the music.

No doubt, music can illicit amazing emotional responses. But I’m not talking about emotion. I’m talking about receiving spiritual information. See, I believe music can be a point-in-time contact – a gateway into the spiritual realm. Want a verse? Check out what Elisha says when he is asked to give some kings a prophetic word and begrudgingly obliges in 2 Kings 3:15:

And Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you. But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him. (ESV)

Elisha clearly did not want to help these kings. But when he decided he would consult God for them anyway, he asked for a musician to play. Only once the musician played did the “hand of the Lord” come on him and he was able to prophesy. Of course, humans can’t prophesy without being empowered by the Holy Spirit and in this case, the Holy Spirit didn’t empower one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament until music was played. When Elisha asked for a musician, he knew that music was a spiritual medium and it would provide access into the spirit world for him.

So what does this mean for us? Well first of all it should hopefully scare the living crap out worship leaders. The job of a worship leader is not to gather their congregation and prepare them to hear from God during the upcoming sermon. That is akin to using the Bible as a doorstop – it’s utilizing music so far below its potential. No, worship in itself can be the very method by which we hear from God. Its a point of spiritual contact and that’s a big deal. This realization of the power of music should also tip Christians off to the fact that worship should be a regular part of your personal interaction with God. If all you do is read a devotion or a few chapters of the Bible when you spend time with God, then you’re missing out. I encourage you to lower the lights, get comfy and worship to one of your favorite worship CDs. Just make sure its the real stuff where you can sense the presence of God when you listen.

In addition, this information should give God-seekers pause that while music is a fun thing, it does carry spiritual messages and we do have to be wise when choosing what information we send to our spirits. Do I think the A chord carries spiritual weight? No. Its just a combination of notes. But music will always bear the spiritual signature of its composer and performer. Ever heard a song done by one Christian artist that seems just OK, yet another Christian artist can do the same song and its like Heaven found its way to earth? Whats the difference? The chords, melody and tempo can be the same but much like an artist signs their painting, so does a composer and performer leave their spiritual mark on their music.

I know there is a whole group of believers out there that think music is not redeemable and has never been commissioned for use by God in the church. They sing acapella and attempt to keep their worship more “holy” by keeping music out of it. I really feel for them. God not only commissioned music all throughout the bible (Psalm 150 is a great place to start), but we also know from scripture that our worship will be accompanied by music in heaven (Revelation 15:2-3). Lets not deny ourselves access to the Father because of the traditions of men.

Thank you, God, for the awesome gift of music – an access point into the supernatural where we can draw closer to You!

I gotta admit, I still roll my eyes every time I’m channel-surfing and I see poker on ESPN. Sorry, it just doesn’t seem to qualify as a sport in my book. Although I haven’t bought into the recent Texas Hold ‘Em craze, I do enjoy playing poker. I remember being in middle school spending the night at a friend’s house and we’d play poker until the wee hours of the morning using M&M’s as poker chips. Of course, in keeping with the classic M&M’s commercial of the 80’s the green ones were worth the most. We would usually play five card draw (where players can trade in cards for new ones) because seven card stud (where you are stuck with the seven you were originally dealt) just didn’t seem as fun.

Recently, I was counseling a young man who had been through a lot of past hurt – most of it from no fault of his own – and I realized life can be a lot like a game of poker. We have all been dealt our cards – the Dealer handed them out when we were born, beginning our game. The problem is, many times we’ve drawn a bad hand. What makes this seem so unfair is that we had no control over which cards we got. Which one of you chose who gave birth to you or in which country you would be born? Do you remember meeting with God about which talents and abilities you’d have, your appearance, race, gender, your spiritual upbringing or what your socioeconomic status would be growing up? Of course not. We had no say in these things – they were just dealt to us. Some of us drew great cards while many of us drew cards of broken families, abuse, poverty and pain and there was nothing we could do about it.

But here’s the good news: God plays five card draw. See, you are not stuck with the cards you were originally dealt. You don’t have to hold onto bitterness and unforgiveness from the pain you went through. You don’t have to live under the shadow the past that you couldn’t help. God allows, and even wants you to turn in those bad cards so He can replace them with good ones.

Whats more, God will take those things we didn’t choose  – those “bad cards” we don’t like about ourselves – and change our circumstances so that they become a good cards. Imagine you’re dealt a three of clubs – it doesn’t have a lot of value by itself like a face card. But when you draw and that three of clubs is paired with four other clubs or a four, five, six, and seven, its turns into a flush or a straight – both excellent hands. In the same way, God can redeem the cards we’ve been dealt and make them a part of a great hand.

So how to we “draw” new cards? 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 puts it this way:

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (NLT)

When you repent and turn to God – yielding to His will and His ways, the veil of sin is removed and you’re given spiritual freedom. With this freedom, you can now see Him clearly – “face to face” as it says in The Message. And as we spend time with Him, becoming more and more like Him, we begin to draw His cards.

I encourage you to seek God and if you’ve been dealt a bad hand in life, don’t get angry and dwell on those cards you wish you didn’t have. He has already made a way for you to win. Throw yourself into an intimate relationship with Him and turn your cards in for new ones – because God’s cards always produce a winning hand.