Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hey Cranky Pants

Today I find myself battling that same old anger. I've been angry with my wife. I've been angry with my son. I don't really want to talk to my best friend, because we work together, and I figure he's going to want something from me that I'm not ready to deliver yet. I've just flat been angry.

Something I identified at the "No Matter the Cost" men's retreat by Band of Brothers a few weeks back is that I've struggled with being angry, and it has caused me shame. It's something I laid down there, but was warned that shame tends to pop back up again. I suppose this is it.

Here's the deal. I get angry when I'm having trouble accepting my calling. The Lord has called me to be a worship leader-prophet. I am one who is to lead others into the presence of the Lord, and to deliver to them what the Lord has to say. This has real-world application in the unsaved world, as well as in the church...which makes sense, because I've always walked the line between a musician and outspoken person, between the world and the church.

Today, Father hit me up with the "verse of the day" from BibleGateway.com...which seemed all too convenient, so I tried to shrug it off.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
(1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)
So, I suppose I must not only admit this, but follow it further and make application in my life.

Passage: 1 Peter 5 (NLT)
Advice for Elders and Young Men
1 And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.
 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”[a]
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
 8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[b] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 11 All power to him forever! Amen. 
Peter’s Final Greetings
 12 I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas,[c] whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
13 Your sister church here in Babylon[d] sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet each other with a kiss of love.
Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
Footnotes:
a 5:5 Prov 3:34 (Greek version).
b 5:9 Greek your brotherhood.
c 5:12 Greek Silvanus.
d 5:13 Greek The elect one in Babylon. Babylon was probably symbolic for Rome.

It's worth noting that the "Advice for Elders and Young Men" was added into the New Living Translation as a way of helping to quickly gain context, but it was not in the original text. So, this text should not be interpreted as being exclusively applicable to only Elders within the Church, and "young men".

Do you think about the fact that if you're a child of God, there's an enemy that's daily looking for a way to entrap you? What about if you're not a "religious" person, and you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you think there might actually be an orchestrated effort behind the mess you call your life...an effort to keep you from knowing the truth, that there's actually a blueprint for your life? That there's more than a "man in the sky", but instead there's a real God, a loving Father, who is inviting you to live a life on His terms, because they're better than your own?

We were meant for more than this life. I love the words of Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, in the song "Meant to Live" (lyrics), when he sings "We want more than this world's got to offer..."

Christian, are you not in the same position as I am? Didn't God give you a small group of people whom you can speak into their lives? We are to willingly speak into their lives, not go about our daily tasks or job with a chip on our shoulder because your boss is an ass. She may very well be...but do what you need to do, because a bad attitude doesn't help anyone, and people may even perish because of it! If we're so eager to serve God, then it had better show up in the workplace. If you want a reward from God for your "good behavior", do something that matters in the here and now. Lord, help me!

We can't afford to be proud about this. My friend Stephen Adams speaks to my heart in his "I Was Just Thinking" podcast, episode 2, "We Are Jonah". We're on this journey together, and we need each other to fulfill the calling God has placed upon our lives. Let us be humble and honest about our frailty before God, man, and an enemy that wants to destroy us. Life is tough, and we often screw things up. We agree to do what God has called, turn back at times, refuse to obey, and then eventually get around to it. In this life, we suffer...sometimes from our own actions, sometimes for others', and often for reasons we simply don't know or understand right now.

Here's what you can take to the bank. God is aware of all of this! He's not surpised in the least. He knows your failings, and your pride, yet He calls us to repentance, and then to daily die to ourselves. If we will humble ourselves, we can begin to see that our Father is pursuing us because He loves us. He hasn't left us alone. If you've surrendered yourself to Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Spend time with Him. Look at the example set by Jesus. God came in the flesh to demonstrate the sort of life we are to live, and so Jesus would be the "firstborn among many brothers" (See Romans 8:29). In fact, if you truly want to see how you fit into the bigger picture, go read the whole 8th chapter of the book of Romans.

Don't let this world and its mess get you down and cranky like I've been. God has a purpose in it, and it's good from a loving Father.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

James & Russ @ "The Taste of Arnold"


Come join my buddy Russ and I as we support a great cause, and churn out the hits from artists like:
The Eagles, Jim Croce, Sam Smith, Joe Jackson, Willie Nelson, Brooks & Dunn, Bryan Adams, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Buffet, Pharrel Williams, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Zach Williams, Marshall Tucker Band, Bruno Mars, John Mayer, Mumford & Sons, & more!

--

Live Music from James A. Miller & Russ Wellington

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
5pm-8pm (food served 5pm-7pm)
Arnold Eagles
1725 Jeffco. Blvd.
Arnold, MO 63010
[Click for Directions]

Tickets:
$15 Age 14-Adult.
$7 Children 13 and under.
Tickets on sale online at Brown Paper Tickets, in person, or by phone at Arnold Food Pantry Thrift Store (636-287-6565).

Fantastic Raffle Basket(s)
$1.00 per ticket
$5.00 for six tickets

Info: https://www.wefeedthehungry.org/taste-of-arnold

Friday, September 22, 2017

"Is the World Ending 9/23/17?"

Just in case you're worried about this fake prophecy that some are passing around, saying the world is going to end tomorrow, 9/23/17, you should read 2 Thessalonians 2. There are certain things that must take place before the end of the world...

First off, there must be a great turning away from God before Jesus' return. We've seen much of that in Europe already. The underground church is growing in parts of the world it is persecuted in. The U.S. is becoming more post-Christian by the day, especially with the rise of the Millenials.

Before Jesus returns the Man of Evil must appear. The Man of Evil will declare himself to be God, trumping all of the world's religions. He is going to sit in the temple...which requires there to be a temple for God in Jerusalem first.

Now in the days that Paul wrote his two letters to Christians in Thessalonica, it had become a real problem that people weren't being productive in life anymore. Hopefully you can see the same danger today in your own life if you were to believe such foolish false prophecies as the world ending on 9/23. Paul instead urged that the Thessalonians, and in turn, us, must go about life, being productive citizens, because that day has not come yet, however, even then, as well as now, the powers of evil are working through the world's governments, and religions, to bring to world power the antichrist, through the power of Satan.

As for right now, this man of evil is being held back. When he does show up, you should take notice for who it really is, because he is going to perform great works via false miracles, signs, and wonders. God will allow it so that everyone has a free will choice to make. There are some, even within the church, who have believed a lie of Satan, that we have no free will choice to respond to the Holy Spirit calling us to Salvation through Jesus Christ. Many of them believe each person is destined to either salvation, or damnation, but it is not true as I will explain shortly. Instead, God desires that as His Holy Spirit draws you to consider the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that you repent and believe the Truth. In other words, change your mind and your direction entirely. Let "Jesus take the wheel" so to speak in your life. Then respond in saving faith - that is faith beyond the evidence that God has presented to you. That is how any relationship begins.

What if you choose not to believe? Then you will be deceived, because your choice will be made sure. The Bible is clear that those who hate the truth will be deceived. It also promises if you reject, you will die...and it will be your own choice. Yes, I know this is polarizing. There is nothing more polarizing than the Bible. If will offend you until you submit to Jesus, and then you'll be more thankful than I can describe, because you will know you have found salvation in the only one who can give it. Jesus Christ.

(9/26/17 Edit: Pasted scripture text below.)

2 Thessalonians 2 (ESV)
The Man of Lawlessness
2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Stand Firm

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits[d] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
Footnotes:
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 13, 15 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Some manuscripts sin
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Greek the son of perdition (a Hebrew idiom)
2 Thessalonians 2:13 Some manuscripts chose you from the beginning

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Friday, August 04, 2017

SPARK

I'm happy to be leading worship music and providing audio services to the SPARK marriage seminar this weekend. :-)


Invest in your marriage… one day of fun, fellowship, and learning conveniently located at CCC!
Register for Spark today!
When: Saturday, August 5th from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Cost: $45 per couple (lunch included)
Deadline: July 16th
Childcare will be available.
 http://chesterfieldcommunity.org/events/spark/

Monday, June 05, 2017

Limiting Our Freedom

I thought this had to be one of the best devotionals I've seen to make application of this scripture. It comes from the "Parenting by Design Daily Devotional" in the YouVersion Bible app. The original only referenced verse 9, but I thought it fitting to include a bit more for context.

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many "gods" and many "Lords"— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:4‭-‬13 ESV - http://bible.com/59/1co.8.4-13.ESV)

Many people believe a "good" Christian lives by many rules. In fact, the opposite is true. A strong believer doesn't need a lot of rules. He needs only a few guiding Biblical principles he can apply to any situation. It is actually the weaker Christian who needs more rules because he doesn't have the wisdom and discernment necessary to apply Godly principles to difficult situations.
But, a strong Christian may give up some freedom and follow more restrictive rules so a weaker Christian will not misinterpret his actions. In parenting, we might consider staying away from activities that could become stumbling blocks when seen through our kids' immature eyes. This passage should influence our choices about alcohol, the movies we watch and even the jokes we tell. Although we might be able to maintain a healthy balance, we don't know where our kids may be especially vulnerable to temptation. We should sacrifice some of our privileges until our kids have the maturity to know when, where, and why to abstain.
Being a good example may require you to give up some of your freedom until your children are wise enough to exercise the same discretion.
Obviously, as this devotional is directed at parenting, it has application there, but it's really just an application of scripture with much more broad application opportunity. I've looked at this scripture today from my own perspective and continue to make application; as a Christian, a man, father, husband, public performer, artist, etc. The religions of the world require many lists of rules. The heavenly Father gives very few that are necessary if we are walking with Him.

Thank You, Lord, for your simple Truths.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Returning to Viviano's, Chesterfield

Hey all, I'm excited to be returning to Viviano's Festa Italiano, in Chesterfield, from 6-8pm, the following dates:

  • Saturday, 5/20
  • Saturday, 6/10
  • Saturday, 6/17
Viviano's is a spot my wife and I like to drop in for a tasty meal. We've most often been there for lunch, but recently learned it's a great place for dinner, and entertainment. Aaaaand now I'm part of the entertainment. It's a recipe for a great Saturday night - a family friendly establishment with good food & drinks, and the best tiramisu in STL. Give it a try.

Oh yeah, and the music isn't bad either. ;-)  Hope to see you there.


Friday, April 14, 2017

2017 4-8 @ Viviano's Festa Italiano, Chesterfield




It sure felt good to be playing out again. It has been quite a while since I've played an outside gig...outside church music that is. Of course I've done a LOT of that in the past 3 & 1/2 years. I've DJ'ed quite a few events too. Despite all of that, I was very pleasantly surprised at how many friends came out to support the music in this neat, tiny little venue. There were at least 25 of you that came out, + regulars. Now, that may not be a lot for plenty of folks, and not even compared to the several hundred that have shown up at some gigs I've played....but the fact that 25 of you actually showed up to support me...that excites me. I'm so happy to get to share this gift of music that God has given us. It's a blast!

That being said, I'm working on some new cover songs, and tooling up for an entire new show that I hope to be bringing to you very soon. Additionally, there's the potential for some musical partnerships too. I'll report more when I have something nailed down.

Thanks a lot. Hope to see you out again soon.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Last Night @ Viviano's Festa Italiano - Fenton, MO

Wow! Last night was a blast! My friend Russ Wellington invited me to sit in with his duo, "The Other Brothers" (himself, & Bob Nicholson) @ Viviano's Festa Italiano, Fenton location (http://www.vivianosmarket.com/). "The Other Brothers" are lots of fun, and make great music. Oh yeah, and the food was delicious too. It was a perfect night for a laid-back double date, and making music with friends.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

On Post-Inauguration Liberal Violence


Recently I shared a video on social media showing violent acts by those protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump. I happened to be busy, and didn't really pay attention to the thread that exploded over the next couple of days. At that point, I felt it right to make a response. This is a synopsis of what I want to convey to all of my friends across the political spectrum.

I stated that the ideology of Liberalism brings violence - and I mean that, if it is followed to it's potential from the presently observed form by those that espouse it's representative political party in the United States of America. Meanwhile, I believe we each adopt some areas of classical Liberalism in this nation. The problem is that Liberalism followed to it's nth degree is inherently godless, denies natural law, and brings destruction by throwing off all boundaries, rather than freedom. Certainly I mean no injury or insult toward anyone. I made the original post because of the appalling actions of a few, demonstrating my point. Some didn't understand my aim, instead taking personal insult, so I thought it better to state my intention.

In the same time period, there was also a women's march upon Washington D.C.. I have some thoughts on that as well, but I'll save those for a different post, as I believe a female friend of mine has already stated mirroring thoughts, much better than I can. Aaaand she's a woman. So, there's that...

Here's the reality of the situation that drives me as I try to navigate the multi-faceted political spectrum. I know I have friends and family on all sides of this thing. I don't love any of you any less, regardless of where you may be. I also know this:

If we believe there are human and political solutions that will truly fix humanity's brokenness, we show the love of the Father is not in us. (1 John 2:15-16) Those same misguided passions give rise to violence, & further complicate the broken human condition. That means Republicans can't fix it either. We are, after all, sinful people, trying to rule ourselves, with varying degrees of effectiveness, as a stop-gap measure until we submit ourselves in repentance toward Jesus Christ. It is only when we follow Christ than we have the power individually to resist the sin that pervades us all. In our natural state we are perhaps not fully corrupt, but all aspects of our being are corrupted. This is sin...the human condition. In that state we seek after and love the desires of the flesh, the things we see, and exercise wrongful pride in what we have. None of that comes from God.

Politics can never be a replacement for the rule of Almighty God. He has allowed this for a time, even manipulating the rise and fall of nations, and those in power, so that all may have an opportunity to come to Him in repentance. (Acts 17:24-34)

If you would like to see further context what God has to say on this matter, read the book of Acts, chapter 17, and perhaps the surrounding context.

Thank you. I wish peace to you all - specifically the deep peace that you will only ever know by coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ.