The stories and songs of my life, told for my 3 sons. Hoping that my journey from religion to faith and following Jesus will inform their teenage years and becoming young men.
Songs on the podcast are available as a playlist on Google Play Music: My 3 Sons
Right now you're traveling the world! You're seeing and experiencing things that are different to what you consider normal. Everything is different while people still do pretty much what we do (eat, live, sleep).
Our lives are a constant struggle for balance. Study and play, nutrition and glutton, work and living, physical and spiritual. What if they were all connected and we weren't supposed to live a compartmentalised existence?
Van Halen wrote a song that was actually two different songs written by two different people at different times that ended up being one fantastic tune. What if things we thought weren't spiritual could actually inform our faith and make our lives better?
This week I conclude this first season of the podcast. The song this week is called Greater than we Understand and I acknowledge that all things in life are much bigger than we understand. What I know now is much more than what I knew back then. But it is still a mere fraction of what there is to know!
Taking the easy way isn't always best and this is something Mum and I talk about in relation to you 3 boys and our parenting. We understand more now than when we started, but we still have to learn because we care about you 3 having great lives.
Your faith will grow as mine has, but only if you're deliberate about it. Typically people who are deliberate about things succeed! So enjoy the song and prepare for a new season, new songs, and new stories about how my life has been influenced by others.
We all need a cheerleader in life, someone who is always on our side, willing us to be better. I've had lots of people like this in my life and you'll hear some of those stories.
But really this episode is all about beginning to make your own decisions and live your own life. When I was just a teenager I had a weekend in Wellington without my Mum & Dad. Could I make sensible decisions about what I'd eat, where I'd be, and what I'd do?
Know boys that Mum & I want nothing but the best for you. Remember that others want the same, for you to have a great life. For you and your uniqueness to find your place in this world.
More than that, God wants this, wants you to experience a rich, fulfilling, and exciting life. Listen to the Newboys and their song, Entertaining Angels and think about us cheering you on.
So many times in life we accept 2nd best. We follow the world and copy what already exists. Too often we listen to what others tell us to do without testing it for ourselves. We take on what others say and take that as gospel.
Don't let others words or actions be what you end up believing. Figure out a filter so you can learn from others but be true to your faith.
This week there is another Michael W. Smith song, Live the Life. He was an artist I listened to repeatedly and had all of his albums. The lyrics and message in his music spoke to me and helped me mature.
It would be easy to reject Jesus based on the lives of others. Most of this podcast has been about others shortcomings and how I've responded to that. You might even determine with a bunch of evidence that I'm not the best follower of Jesus and my actions don't consistently reflect what I say I believe.
That is part of everybody's story and we will always make mistakes. If we can learn from others mistakes then we won't have to make them which can only be a good thing!
Why don't we consider Jesus first instead of those who claim to represent him? Why don't we discuss him, his actions, his words, his life as a starting point? Why don't we look to Jesus?
Larry Norman captured this thought in his song, why don't you look unto Jesus?
We're all wandering along through life trying to find meaning, purpose, and direction. What is it that can be a light on your path? The bible can seem archaic, barbaric, and like utter nonsense. But what if we didn't understand it in context?
People influence and guide me either through conversations, books, talks, or actions but underneath it all I try to understand the story of the bible. It is meant to make us better people, make better communities, push us forward to an incredible future. It informs my life and I want it to do the same for you so your lives are full, meaningful, and incredible!
My eclectic musical collection brings a song from Amy Grant, Thy Word. The lyrics are lifted from a verse in Psalms and paint a fantastic picture of the path we're walking being illuminated by God's word. Don't mistake what is written because you don't understand who it was for or what was happening at that moment.
I've been telling you all about not following others but we do need people in our lives. We need people we can follow, who will lead us, people we trust. We don't follow blindly but we let them guide us while still paying attention to the detail, purpose, and direction of our lives.
Listen to the story of Joshua and Jericho and how the doing the same thing might feel pointless and tiring but can lead to incredible things happening. The Imperials have a song that tells the story of Joshua and Jericho called, Jericho. Listen and let others lead into an incredible life.
Giving up is easy, coasting along fitting in with what those around you are doing is simple but it won't get you a fulfilling, meaningful, incredible life. You have to live with intent and purpose. You have to live in a way that doesn't conform to the worlds values.
I did these things in my life and regret them. I had a good life but it wasn't the best life. That only happened when I began rejecting the worlds values and following Jesus in all areas of my life.
This week you will hear another Stryper song, Keep the Fire Burning. It is a rocking guitar track that I hadn't heard for at least 15 years but talks about deliberately pursuing life. Don't give up easily, live deliberately and with purpose!
Following is easy, but what happens if you follow the wrong person? Others can help guide and direct us in life and that is great, but who are we actually following? Listen to the story of someone who had a great influence on me and my faith. In many ways I aspired to be like them and live a life like theirs. Then it all changed and I had to again decide what the foundation of my life was.
What do you do when people who are foundational to your faith, who lead you it out religion, who guide you suddenly appear to embrace religion over faith? That was a crisis I faced and in doing so discovered there is only one way. Listen to Larry Norman and his song One Way.
Most areas of our lives demand we fit in and wear the right socks. This can be a struggle, especially when you're really unique and an individual. How do you balance the tension between conforming without being religious about it all? Wanna be a Clone is a song by Steve Taylor that captures the contradiction that churches often present as they talk about faith but sometimes demonstrate religion. While the dilemma lives in my life the question remains, and you should ask yourself how to fix faith without falling into religion.
There are plenty of lies being told and sometimes we believe them. We don't mean to, it is just we get caught up in living and slowly start pursuing things that aren't any good. Money won't make you happy, I know you think you're different and it would make you happy, but possessions don't necessarily enrich our lives. Sometimes they clutter our living and keep us away from what we love.
Here a few of the lies I believed, be reminded of some of the lies you've told (they're kind of amusing), and then here a song from a band called Allies.
You've grown up listening to Mum and I talk about Jesus and the different perspective and emphasis he be to our lives. In fact you been surrounded by talk and stories of Jesus but looking me, you're going to have to decide for yourself who he is. Listen to the Michael W. Smith song, "could he be the Messiah?" and think about the question. Was Jesus just some guy from history, or somebody more? Someone who suggests a counterintuitive way to live? You get to decide.
Ever got in for trouble and realised that you were wrong? I have on plenty of occasions through the years. But one time really sticks with me. One line from the song in this episode asks, "what do we mean by Christianity?"
This is question that asked a lot when I was younger and still consider today! Surely it isn't about fitting in and looking like everyone else? I mean some Christians are kind of cool, but so many are such bores, and just a little hypocritical!
Can we follow Jesus but go against the grain of societal norms and mindless religion?
Listen to the Altar Boys song Against the Grain from the 1987 album, Against the Grain.
Is there anything good about sleeping in a public toilet? Attitude can change any situation and positivity is a characteristic that makes others want to be around you. Finding yourself and your place in the world will be a journey that requires focus. So focus on the good, we're usually totally surrounded by it.