Saturday, January 28, 2012

Afraid of Nothing... But Forgetfulness

I truly am not.

Not when I trace the working of God in boyish cursive now 15 years old...
Not when I ask a question, hear in His gentle whisper a familiar strain, and then find the original answer... Written 7 years ago, to the week. 7 years before I asked.

Not when I can understand in retrospect (as if it were the simplest thing in the world) why there was always reason to praise through bleeding days. Always.

I promise you, if you can't trust Him with your today, it's because you've already forgotten yesterday.

Write. Read. Remember.

You can't tell the future. That's why God has given you your past.

Go get yourself a journal.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Relentless Men

Luther. Tyndale. Huss.
Lenin. Stalin. Hitler.
Winston Churchil. William Wilberforce. William Pitt (the Younger)...

Names all that ring down the halls of history.
World changers.

Extraordinary? Certainly.
All particularly advantaged, talented, clever, wealthy and wise?

But they shook the world. Their tread resounded across the borders of countries and continents. In their day, greatly loved or greatly feared. In ours, household names.

They brought the horror of great darkness, or returned the people to light.

And they all had this in common:
They faced unbelievable odds, and failed more times than you and I have tried.

But they were relentless men.
Relentless men.

There is a reason my iPhone chimes at 11:00 am on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays reminding me to go outside and run. And it's not because I don't have other things to do. Ok, so exercise is good. But for this pilgrim, there's way more strategy in it than just that.

I'm a mercy-loving man. But sensitivity being one of my stronger points, in my natural personality I sometimes have far too much mercy on myself...

I need to learn relentlessness. Just as thoroughly as I study what it means to be a world-class gentleman. Or, . . . never be a world-changer.

So I've set out to do just that.

That's why I get up when I do.
That's why I put on neon-blue Nike+ shoes and run 8 miles, Sun, Tues, Thurs...
Every week.

I don't love running that much.
That's exactly my problem...

What makes us think God is going to train us for service while we sit here?
God has no intentions of doing for us what we can do for ourselves.
Grace enables.
You decide.

Yes, you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Strength is Song

Oh Lord our God, little children praise you perfectly,
And so would we. 
And so would we.

Some songs keep singing long after the baton is back in its sleeve.

Jared Westbrook
I awake early to two simultaneous trains of thought, perhaps leftover from the night's dreams...

In one, my heart strains after more perfect service, and my lips silent form the morning's plea.
In the other, the lyrics to my all-time favorite choral anthem run over and over; warm, fill.

I roll out of bed.

My thoughts merge on the 8th Psalm. I play the words of the incredulous poet over in my head.

"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings has thou ordained..."

What's the word?
Neato (the iPad) comes into service. I memorized the 8th Psalm as a boy, but perhaps it was a different version.

"...Hast thou ordained strength."

Hey, were did my praise word go?
I switch to Strongs.

The word is Strength. The word is also Praise.

Same word.
Same thing?
I squint at the screen, thinking, not seeing. My finger dances at the edge of discovery.

Strength and song go together.

"The LORD is my strength and song..."
"Give unto the LORD glory and strength."

Wait... Give Him strength? Make that praise.

"Give unto the LORD...glory and strength."
"Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing..."
"Sing aloud unto God our strength..."
"Thou art the glory of their strength."
"For the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song"

I lean back in the futon, satisfied.

Praise is strength. Song is strength.

It "stills the enemy and the avenger." (Ps. 8)
That's perfect service.

Both trains of thought are satisfied.
To praise Him perfectly is to serve Him perfectly.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Irresistible Road

All the way down row 12 on an MD90 homeward bound, laps are filled with open Bibles-- still, at 11:00 am.
We are totally sold on this Gospel of the Kingdom. Totally sold.
This ship sails, and clouds slip silently beneath us, the only indication that miles pass quickly by.
We sail with a plane load of strangers all going to the same place, but for totally different reasons...

Our hearts remember cold so cold the lungs reject your first breath when stepping out the door. We remember handshakes long, embraces warm, faces eager, Bibles open, questions cards, brunch lines, and hearts softened by the Spirit...
Including our own.

Our hearts, our prayers soar, and the world gets strangely distant below us... behind us. A glance earthward reminds me time is slipping quickly by. 
We leave a gym full of friends going to the same place, for the same reason: 
This world is not our home.

This road is beautiful in solitude, irresistible in company.

So glad we can travel it with friends...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We Never Would Have Guessed...

We never would have guessed...
We've laughed, and cried, and struck palms to foreheads over the songs you love. All 83 of them.
They'll never fit on 5 CDs, but we're going to start.
In one month.
Start praying for us... :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Because We Love the Songs You Love. [Next CD Project]

Quiet, I watch jays and juncos flutter through freshly fallen snow in search of seed.
I hear in their contented chirps a song I've been learning over months of treasure hunts my own--

His way is peace... and perfect freedom.

I heard the same thing in the summer when the birds sang at dusk as well as dawn
(We've got a few lessons to learn.)

We do a fair bit of singing in this house. (epic understatement.)
And not because it's always sunny... 
It's because it fills our sails for the storm. 

Actually, when we're all together on one level, 2 minutes is often the most we go between snatches of some sonnet.
And that is grace to us... Because we also often feel like we're sailing high seas in half a cider barrel a piece. 

Oh, we've swallowed our share of salt water to be sure... 
But we're learning to laugh at the waves. 

And somehow, these cider barrels are proving unsinkable.

But see, that's why the song means so much to us...
_ _ _

So we've got a question. Next month marks a year since I Cannot Tell was tracked in our basement studio. And next month, we will be recording again... We've got a list of songs our hearts love to sing, but we want to hear the list your hearts love.

And they could be songs you've heard us sing, or favorites we've never heard before...

Just do one of three things. :)

1.)  Comment on this blogpost with your requests/suggestions
2.)  Post a comment in Google+ with the same (if you're reading from there)
3.)  Drop us an email at thenebblettfamily[at]gmail[dot]com

As a little thank you, we'll put your names in a hat and when the CD is done in a few months time, we will give away a dozen copies. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

City of Miracles

From home to Houston, and back again.
The words of my brother Sebastian ring in my ears still--

It's a new day.
It's a new day...

What a way to start the year.
My stare rests blank on blank journal pages... Empty lines pleading to be filled with the fullness of days behind me.

Of waking high up, under Hilton-branded down, exhausted. Of learning to trust each new logistical catastrophe with the Ultimate Authority. Of joy overflowing while directing thousands of people through registration line. Of listening to 7,000 people sing I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go right at my feet. (There is nothing, nothing like it in the world.) Of praying with seasoned soldiers, and nervous musicians. Of watching eyes water at God's goodness. Of investing in beautiful young lives. Of having my burdens lifted by the Merciful God through my humble, brilliant team. Of hearing God's name praised over my broken efforts. Of 190 voices and instruments singing Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!
Of quieter moments. Behind a lens. Behind the stage. Discussing purpose with one friend, and the 85 Prime with another. Of grabbing my little sister's arm every time I saw her. Of the joy of walking back over to the Hilton and finding 5 other Nebbletts in the room at random in the middle of the day (if only for 45 seconds). Of sunrise over Houston from the skyline patio 23 floors up. Of words-- words from old friends and new that gripped; moved; changed.

My spine tingles.
And that's not even the start. I don't know where to start.
So I won't even try... not now.

I'll just tell you the bottom line. The thing I most want to remember from GYC 2011.
You've heard of Murphy's law, no doubt?
I've learned there's one greater.

Maybe we should call it Houston's law.
Houston: City of Miracles. Where almost every dept. encountered some kind of logistical catastrophe, but nobody ever noticed. But called it instead the conference of conferences...

Because when the enemy is against it, but God is in it--

Anything that can go wrong, will be extra fuel for Glory.

It's a new day.

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