Day Dreaming or Daily Depression

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams and listening to others about their dreams. When Brene Brown (famous TEDx speaker and therapist researcher) speaks, it’s like God herself spoke through the prophet! In one of her books, she makes the case that when we squander our gifts and dreams, we become depressed and anxious.

People don’t dream because they may be afraid of failing, which makes them anxious and maybe a little depressed.

But if we don’t listen to our dreams or nurture our gifts, there’s a high probability that we will experience anxiety and depression.

A few years ago, I’d get home from work and think to myself, “Is this all there is to life? Go to work, come home, do the family routine, and go to bed?” I was depressed. I didn’t realize it at the time until I found myself crying one day with a friend.

None of what I’ve said is the major point of this post. But it provides some context for this: “be generous with your life…” (Eugene Peterson).

What is your source in life that is guiding and leading you, your dreams, gifts, and hopes? What or who do you turn to when trying to make sense of this life and world? As I write this, I am hoping you picture me saying these words with fervor, passion, hands opened as a plea to think deeply about this.

The God I can reading about and introduced to through Jesus in the Gospels keeps telling me to let my life shine by being generous to others, by opening up my life to others and that something supernatural happens in the exchange: The Generous God is present and things change.

The other day, I was meeting with a Gen Z’r (someone born between 1995 and 2014). His big concern was financial and work stability. He was only 22 years old and was having anxiety about this. Sociologists have made this observation with this generation.

So we talked about their dreams and aspirations. Nothing came up. So we prayed for a little bit and the person said, “I think I’m so afraid of not having stability that I’ve stopped dreaming! I need to figure this out.”

There was a sense of awe and that something bigger was happening in the room. So we dug deeper, asked more questions, prayed more, listened, and there was more awe.

The Generous God is saying to dream and to be generous with others! Give your talents, dreams, and gifts away to others. Something “AWE” is waiting to happen!

Urbana18: Nothing new in Revelation

[NOTE:  This year, I have the opportunity to play drums for the Urbana conference and be the band chaplain.  From their site:

Urbana is a catalytic event bringing together a diverse mix of college and graduate students, faculty, recent graduates, pastors, church and ministry leaders, missions organizations and schools.

I’m posting thoughts/reflections on being musicians, ministers, and mission-minded that are shaped by scripture, tradition, and our own experiences.  This year, Urbana has chosen the theme “Faithful Witness” and the book of Revelation to discern our role in God’s mission for the world.  I’m also using a rubric of character, competency, chemistry, and culture to organize thoughts and ideas.]

Eugene Peterson says that there is nothing new being said in the book of Revelation.  I found that deeply profound given that my pentecostal/dispensationalist background gave me a sense that Revelation was about futuristic, catastrophic events occurring on earth.  Rapture.  Wars.  Famine.  Earthquakes.  The Anti-Christ (Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev, The Pope, Barak Obama, Trump).

So when I read Psalm 93:1,25, I was yet again reminded of Peterson’s adage:  there’s nothing new being said.  God has been saying it “…in the beginning”.

The team has been thinking about Revelation 4-5, which has been dubbed “The Throne room scene”.  What John saw then is what the Psalmist says thousands of years prior:

1 The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;

the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.

2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
    holiness adorns your house
    for endless days.

Why does the Lord reign?  And why is that good news?  And how does the Lord rule and reign?  That’s probably the most important question for me.  In other words, whose in charge and are they worthy of leading?

In the marketplace, a company takes its shape and form from the leaders (those who rule and reign).  The manner of leading trickles down the pike and influences each person.  Leadership is very important.  It sets vision and values which impact the culture of a company.

As Christians, we profess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  He rules and reigns with justice, mercy, and unfailing love.  That’s a great description of a leader!

As musicians leading people in worship, I’m a bit holy-scared!  How and why is that God would choose to use some rag-tag people with unclean lips and impure hearts to lead people into His throne room?  I’m not trying to paint a sad picture of our depravity, but in some ways, God’s presence doesn’t allow me to stay unexposed.  All things are brought to the light and because he rules with justice and mercy, I’m in good hands.

Someone taught early on my musician formation that we play because we motivated and compelled to worship the living God.  When I play at church, people come up to me and say, “I knew it was you playing today…I could feel you.”  That means a lot to me because I want every beat to a passionate prose of worship to the living God.  I’m captivated by this Jesus as King figure!  I’m moved by His love for me and for you.  And I want the music to reflect it.