What About Close Calls?

During my lifetime I have had several close calls.

When I was in first or second grade I almost drowned at a backyard end-of-the-year school party for my class at St. John’s in Encinitas, California. A few years later my oldest brother, Mike, yelled at me to get out of the road in Leucadia near the corner of Hygeia and (what is now) Leucadia Blvd. and a car passed by very close as I stepped out of the way.

A couple years later I fell off my bike at age 12 as I transitioned from the road to the sidewalk on my way to St. John’s school when it was on Melrose. I landed on my face and could have easily broken my neck. Instead, I changed my two front teeth forever and now I have permanent caps over what can only be described as “nubs”. Less than two years later I fell off a skateboard on a very steep hill and landed on my face (again) and people were amazed (again) that I didn’t break my neck.

These are just some of the incidents that stand out in my memory. Perhaps you’ve had similar close calls in your life.

Why do some people survive and others, like a high school classmate who drowned in a flash flood in Valley Center, not survive? I can’t answer that question easily. I’m sure you can find books on the subject. One book that has a lot of great insight for believers is Dallas Willard’s Divine Conspiracy. Some people find him too intellectual, so if that’s the case, I recommend books by John Ortberg. He sometimes half-jokingly refers to himself as “Dallas Willard for Dummies”.

Today Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary under President George W. Bush, was in a restroom instead of at baggage claim while the gunman was shooting. He said, “Thank God I had to make a pit stop.”

This sort of phenomenon is happening every day for someone, not just in my past or your past.

I guess I believe that God still has more work for Ari Fleischer and me to do.

One of the things we can do is pray. I prayed soon after reading about the incident for the victims and their families and I prayed for the shooter’s heart to change.

I am coming to believe that God calls us to do more than pray sometimes and I’m also believing that sometimes God reveals to us what that is.

IF we are listening to God. Please keep listening to Jesus.

God bless you and keep you!

More About Music To Connect You To The Holy Spirit

Not too long after my last post about music and the Holy Spirit someone close to me asked me to make the modern equivalent of a mix tape for her.  Because I’ve known her for her entire life I’m going to see what I can do.

BUT, what is ideal is for you to find your own music.  It’s great to check out stuff I mention and maybe some of that will have an big impact for you.  In fact, I think I’ll start adding a tune to most posts so it’s a little bit more convenient for you. You will have to see how each piece of music works for you.  

Each one of us is unique. My experiences make some music more impactful for me. The eight songs I mentioned previously have a history for me.

“You Are My Hiding Place” is a song from my time at Westminster Presbyterian Church In Escondido in the 1980’s. I was in a great high school group, the Sonseekers, for most of my senior year and the beginning of my college career. We sang songs every week and continued singing when we graduated to the college group, Hesedians. I had a wonderful college group experience and over the years I have come to realize how rare that is.

Around that same time I liked the new music of the late ’70s and early ’80s, especially what we now call alternative. I loved U2 and saw them debut on David Letterman singing “I Will Follow” before VCRs were in widespread use. I’ll share more about that song in a future post. I wasn’t a big fan of Amy Grant and shared that in a presentation on U2 in my History of Jazz and Rock ‘N’ Roll[!] class at Palomar College. That was until she released “El Shaddai” and it was a big and wonderful surprise. I had never heard this name for God before. As far as I’m concerned, if that were the only song she ever released it would have been enough to put her in whatever appropriate Hall of Fame she fits in.

“Spirit In The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum is another I’ll share more about another time. There were more songs that mentioned God on secular radio in the late ’60s and early ’70s than there would be later. That guitar will wake you up as you start the day. “A Church Not Made With Hands” reminds me of words like 2 Corinthians 5:1 which you can read by clicking on the verse. Also, it really soars with their signature sound.

“The King of Glory” and “Day By Day” are songs I remember from the early 1970s when our family attended St. John’s Catholic Church in Encinitas. The first was primarily sung on Palm Sunday and the second was from the musical “Godspell”. There’s a sweet/silly video of “The King of Glory” if you search it and the words “Stephen Colbert” on Youtube.

I think I first heard “In Moments Like These” at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, but my wife says she’s not familiar with it so maybe not. I really like the third time that you sing the words “I love you Lord” where the emphasis is on the word “you”.

Last, but certainly not least is “Michael Row The Boat Ashore”. This song was originally sung by slaves in the 1800s and Pete Seeger shared it with audiences early in his career. It’s almost always sung with audience participation. This song reminds me of the Christians and others involved in social change in the 1960s. If you really listen to and think about the words you can hear stuff that’s worth remembering your entire life.

Here’s a video of U2’s 40, which is based on Psalm 40:

Be filled with wonder!

Charlie