Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

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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

I was warped at an early age.

But it was the good kind of warping. My parents made my brother and I memorize scripture as young children. There’s a story that has reached legendary status in the Nunnally family that tells of my then four-year-old older brother being asked what his name was by a stranger at the beach. He replied, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Classic.

One of the verses I memorized as a kid was Romans 12:1. Unfortunately, there weren’t nearly as many Bible translations back then so the New King James was the most modern version around. It started “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God…” Not exactly kid-friendly vocab, huh? Who the heck says “beseech” anymore?

I was recently reading this verse again and decided to look up all of the different translations for what was originally translated “beseech.” I found that it had been replaced with urge, appeal, beg, and plead in most newer versions. The English definition for the Greek is to “summon, admonish” or “exhort.” Its almost like the translators didn’t quite know how to capture the full depth of what the writer, Paul, was trying to get at. I began thinking about this and was reminded of the “dare scale” used by children on playgrounds and adults who never grow up. As a reminder, if one of your friends wants to dare you to do something, they can employ any of the following dare options:

1. The basic dare. Ex: Dude, there’s that girl you like. I dare you to go talk to her. This is used when the dare-ee would probably do the dare without being dared to begin with. The problem with the basic dare is that it can easily be ignored.

2. The double dare. Ex: You don’t wanna talk to her? Come on, I double dare you, bro. Now we’ve taken this thing up a step. You can’t just ignore a double dare. The dare-er has just given the dare-ee something to think about.

3. The double dog dare. Ex:  You’re such a chicken. Just do it man. I double dog dare you! Ok, this has all of the sudden gotten serious. Not taking a double dog dare will subject you to ridicule for days, even weeks and is fair game for all future proof of wussiness. Game on, baby. Game on. (Note: some less civilized areas of the country use the “double dirty dog” or “double dirty dead dog” dare, but this is not recommended as I think we can all agree its beneath us.)

4. The triple dog dare. Ex: This is so ridiculous! I can’t believe you! You’re such a pansy! Go talk to her! I triple dog dare you! Ok, now we’ve reached critical mass and the triple dog dare has been used. This is essentially a kill-shot by the dare-er where they are pulling rank and demanding the dare be done.  No person in their right mind would ignore a triple dog dare. You just don’t do that. It doesn’t matter how awful the dare is, not performing a triple-dog dare is much worse.

I think the Apostle Paul is handing the Romans a triple dog dare here. He’s essentially saying Look, there’s really no other option here. Quit dragging your feet, just bite the bullet and do it already.

So now that we’ve established the importance of Paul’s triple dog dare, what is he daring us to do? Whats so important that he uses the trump card of all dares? We’ll look at that in the next post…

“You Are Wonderful” is probably the most well-received of any of the worship songs I’ve written to date. I was playing around with the verse chords one day before music practice at church and one of the singers heard it and said “ooh that’s pretty.” Later, when I  sat down to write, those chords came back to mind. The original version of this song had the exact same verse/pre-chorus music and lyrics but with a totally different chorus altogether. I had titled it “You’re a Miracle” and was trying to explore the idea of how Jesus had done the impossible for us. I excitedly played the first draft for my wife and I believe her exact words after hearing it were, “You’re a miracle – really? Sounds like the title of a Christmas musical.” Thanks, sweetheart. She was right, though – it stunk. I went back to the drawing board, hammered out some new lyrics and paired them with the  current chorus music.

Soon after its completion, I introduced it to my home church where they received it really well. Shortly after that,  I did it at a women’s conference where I lead worship annually and I remember being surprised how quickly everyone picked it up on first listen. We still do this one regularly at VFC and every year I go back to the women’s conference, someone requests it. I pray that as you listen you’ll let God captivate your heart and fascinate your soul. Special thanks to Dana King for singing alto on this recording.

You Are Wonderful

Great and mighty, awesome, holy

You are to me

Loving, gracious, just and righteous

You are, my King

//

All the earth declares Your beauty

And I proclaim who You are to me

//

You are wonderful, kind and beautiful

You captivate my heart, You fascinate my soul

You wash away the shame, Your mercy makes me whole

Jesus, You are Lord, strong and powerful

High above the earth, God of endless worth

You are wonderful

© Jamie Nunnally

Do you remember in grade school when someone would pass a “do you like me – check yes or no” note to someone they liked? Well guess what? If you passed the note to God, He would check “yes.”

God likes you.

Read that statement again. Do you really believe it? Do you merely agree with it in theory or has it worked its way into your heart yet? Christians are taught that God loves us – we’ve heard that regularly and most of us believe it, at least from a theological standpoint. But the idea that God likes us – enjoys our company and wants to be around us – is a little harder to wrap our minds around.

Most of us project our relationships with our natural parents, especially our fathers, onto God. The problem is, even the most patient, loving and enduring parent gets annoyed with their kids from time to time and needs a break from them.  But God’s not that way.  If you’re on a “break” from God, He’s waiting on you to return. He never left. He never tires of you. He likes being with you.

How do I know God likes you? What scripture can I use to prove my point? Well, I could extrapolate a few verses here and there but the best proof is in the larger picture of God’s interaction with mankind. Would you create and keep something You didn’t like? No we’d trash it. Yet God is long-suffering towards His creation. Would you die for someone you didn’t like? No way. Yet God took the full weight of the penalty our sin required – death – on Himself. If God doesn’t like you why does He do the things He does on your behalf? I mean, He’s God – its not like any one is making Him sustain your life. He wants to do it.

Of course, the fact that God likes you doesn’t mean He won’t correct you or ask you to change. He loves you too much to leave you the way you are. He cares about you too much to allow sin to destroy your life. But you don’t have to bear the weight of trying to please an annoyed God who simply puts up with you. He just doesn’t see you that way.

I encourage you to embrace the idea that God likes you. Not only is it true from a theological stand point, but its practical application to your life will allow you to live freely and passionately as you pursue the One who likes you!

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.