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The 2017 Rotary International Convention

The 2017 Rotary International (RI) Convention in Atlanta adjourned yesterday.

It was quite amazing to see and be around fellow Rotarians from around the world who share similar ideals about doing good to improve our world. All of the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences bonding together around the same cause and mission is beautiful.

Fellowship, friendship, and celebration abounded right here in Atlanta. Peace, service, and goodwill were common themes in most of my conversations. That, too, is beautiful. Our world is not as hate-filled as the news magnifies it to be. In fact, I wish more cameras would have captured the harmony and unity emanating at the Convention.

International issues, such as eradicating polio and ending sex trafficking, were central matters discussed. Progress of how Rotary is combating these issues around were shared.

I will not go into the millions of dollars invested and lives changed due to Rotary International's efforts around the world.

Atlanta Ma…
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Luke 2: Where the Unqualified Come First

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  Glory to God is the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" - Luke 2:13-14
Here is what we often neglect about this scene...
This celebrated and glorious song is rendered to an audience of social outcasts: Shepherds.
During the time of Jesus' birth, shepherds were banned from testifying in court and looked down upon by the religious and political leaders and the power structure of the Roman state. They were marginalized, disadvantaged, and nomadic.
Perhaps that is exactly why they are the first at-large group to hear the Good News of the Lamb of God's birth.
First, one angel shares the good news with the shepherds (v. 9). But, seemingly the word was so good that the heavens could not contain the joy of the message and bursts into a multi-angel chorus.
Let's grasp this truth: shepherds heard the good news of Christ's birth first. The word of Jesus'…

Luke 1: The Introduction of Radical Reversal

"And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord." - Luke 1:46
Upon hearing that John leaps in her cousin Elizabeth's womb, Mary bursts into song.

The song she sings in Luke 1:46-55 is prophetic, theological, and filled with wisdom beyond her years. Her lyrics are about the child she is about to give birth to.

"He has put down the mighty... and exalted the lowly" (v. 52).
"He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty." (v. 53).
These two Scriptures, and the song itself, speaks to the radical reversal that Jesus will usher in. In this approaching reversed world, the unqualified will be qualified; the unloved and unlovable will be loved; the forsaken and neglected will be remembered; the sick will be cured; the unforgivable will be forgiven; the hurt will be healed.

In the new reversed world, there will be a solution for every offense, shortcoming, and handicap by God's grace through the salvation that Jesus the Christ will …

Luke: The Gospel of Amazement

"And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying 'This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'" - Luke 22:19
Earlier this week I completed Michael Card's commentary on the book of Luke, Luke: The Gospel of Amazement. 
Not only is this the very first biblical commentary I have ever completely read and "worked" through, but it has set the bar high for any other commentaries I pick up.
A big reason why I enjoyed this study of Luke is due to how passages of Scripture are broken up into digestible parts. This is not your average commentary. 
Most commentaries are broken out on a Scripture-by-Scripture basis, whereas Card's commentary is passage-based. This structure allows readers to look at passages as part of a larger story. 
Several themes stand out: Jesus was just a human as you and IJesus was drawn, like a magnet, to those in need, especially the poor, overlooked, and marginalizedJesus served with hea…

Making the Investment

It feels great to be back into production. It is a craft that I have missed and let lay dormant for far too long.

The hiatus between '12-'14 was not without cause. I focused on piano, improving our music department at church, and growing as a jazz student.

But there is nothing like turning a simple melody into a creative masterpiece in a studio setting. There is a sense of intimacy and diligence in studios that cannot be replicated on a live stage.

Another interesting facet of studio life is the equipment used to create and shape music.

Propellerheads just completed their May Blowout Sale on Rack Extensions and Refills.

I purchased 4 rack extensions: A-List Acoustic Guitarist, PX7 FM Synethesizer, Rotor Rotary Speaker, and PMS-20 Analogue HP/LP Filter, all for the grand total of $148. It would have been an arm and a leg at regular price.

So far I have been very pleased with all four rack extensions and glad to have them in my arsenal for creative possibilities.

That leads me to…

Assurance in Sifting

"And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." - Luke 22:31-32
The first time in the Bible where Satan asks permission to "sift" someone is in the first two chapters of Job.
Clearly, Satan must get permission from God for his attack on Job.
The same is here in Luke at the time of Passover.
Why must Satan ask? Because God is sovereign. Paul later writes in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
If you are being "sifted" right now, this passage means two comforting words for you. God is sovereign, even over all our suffering. God knows our limits, trust Him.Jesus Himself is praying for us, like He prayed for Simon. Satan wants you to crack under the circumstances, but put your trust in Jesus, who the Word assures "makes intercession …

Springtime Music

Just how Spring is that season of the year for refreshing, renewal, and rebirth, so there are songs that communicate or remind us of the same message.

These songs give me that feeling; that vibe of newness and a fresh start.

I hope you take the time to listen, enjoy, and be refreshed!

1. Puzzles- 4Him

2. The Beauty of the Cross- Crystal Lewis

3. Awake My Love- I Am They

4. Future- Knowdaverbs

5. O'Lord- Lauren Daigle

6. If I Know God- New Identity

7. Meditate- Out of Eden

8. Jesus Makes Me Happy- Take 6

9. Sonshine- Take 6

10. Inspiration- Tonex