Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 5

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Before we get started, I need to do a shameless plug for the album that these devotionals are based on.  It is now available on CD baby here.  I have not been asked to endorse it and receive no compensation for mentioning it, but it is really an amazing album!  Support the work and ministry of The Salvation Army by buying one today!

You Can’t Steer a Parked Car

Play track 5 of “Majestic” entitled “Go.”  You can stream it live here.
Can anyone remember their first experience driving?  The feel of the steering wheel and the roar of the engine (I was in a mini-van, so it was more of a purr) were intoxicating.  I knew at that instant that my world had been changed.  My boundaries had been expanded.  I could go further.  Do more!  See more!  It was my first taste of true freedom!
And, oh, was I careful in those days!  I checked the tires, the mirrors, the seat belt, the gas tank, the turn signals!  I had my hands at “10 and 2.”  You know what I am talking about!  I was ready to take on the world!  I adjusted my mirrors one last time.  I check my hand position.  I looked both ways.  I smoothly accelerated the car and… Nothing!  The car revved up!  I went nowhere!  I rechecked the gauges.  I made sure that I had fuel in the tank.  I was perfectly positioned to drive.  I touched the accelerator and engine responded, but nothing!  Yes, you guessed it.  I still had it in “park.”  Stupid letter if you ask me!
In Matthew 14:22-33, we find the disciples have already launched out from the shore and are a good distance away.  The boat began to have trouble.  Scripture says that Jesus “came toward them, walking on the water” (vs. 25).  Not only did He simply walk out on the water, but He did it at 3am!  I can’t navigate my own house at 3am, much less walk on water!  I usually save that until after I have had some caffeine.  We see that the disciples were “terrified” (v. 26).  They thought He was a ghost!
After Jesus talks to them and calms them down, Peter calls out, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water” (v. 28).  And, we have heard many stories about Peter trying, failing, trying, succeeding!  We know we are supposed to keep our eyes on Jesus!  I am not thinking about Peter today!  I want to know about the rest of the disciples.
Peter was not alone on the boat and, yet, he was the only one who got out of the boat!  Let me share the description of one of my favorite books:
Out on the risky waters of faith, Jesus is waiting to meet you in ways that will change you forever, deepening your character and your trust in God. The experience is terrifying. It’s thrilling beyond belief. It’s everything you’d expect of someone worthy to be called Lord. The choice is yours to know him as only a water-walker can, aligning yourself with God’s purpose for your life in the process. There’s just one requirement: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
There may be many reason why we do not want to get out of the boat.  Maybe, we are too busy preparing to go that we don’t go!  Maybe, we fear the unknown!  Maybe, we are concerned about what other people might think or say about us!  Maybe, we have never done it like this before!
If we want to GO and “tell every soul, the lost and the dying that He is alive and we have hope”, then we have to get out of the boat.  We have to move our car out of park, and into drive.
If we want to GO and we really believe that this “is the time weʼve been created for”
and that “itʼs time we do whatʼs written in Godʼs word”, then we have to get out of the boat.  We have to move our car out of park, and into drive.
We need to “get up and GO!”
“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” (v. 27)
Soli Deo Gloria!
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Picture Worth a Thousand and One Words

Like seeing a mother holding a newborn baby and a rescue worker cradling a survivor, pictures have always had the ability to conjure up emotions deeper and more complex than they appear on the surface.  Now, QR codes have given us the ability to conjure up, not emotions and feelings, but tons of information.  Basically, they can show a thousand and one words!

Business meCard (as of 5/15/11)

Business meCard (as of 5/15/11)

Here is a QR code that contains my business/ministry information.  When you scan this image with your smartphone, you will receive the following information:

  • Douglas McClure
  • 229-435-1428
  • douglas_mcclure@uss.salvationarmy.org
  • http://salvationarmyalbany.org
  • 304 West 2nd Avenue Albany GA USA
  • Rank-Captain; Title-Corps Officer

I have outlined some various uses of QR codes and how they can be used for your church/ministry/small group, etc.  The subject links take you to a web site called QuickMark, which is what I use to generate QR codes on the computer.

  1. Web site – you can use this coding to direct people to a particular web site.  This can be used to advertise a special event or new group or a new teaching series or whatever else you want people’s attention drawn to.
  2. Bookmark – this coding provides a title and web site which can operate like a bookmark for your browser.
  3. Phone call – having this code will direct you to a phone number to be dialed.
  4. Send SMS – utilizing this QR code will send a text of whatever you write to whatever number you designate.  This could be used to let your teens or young adults respond with a response to a question, ie. vote on a movie, answer to a question, etc.
  5. Send email – same as the SMS coding.  This code will designate an email address, subject, and a message of your choice.  Same use as SMS.
  6. meCard – a meCard will include your name, phone number, email, url, text note, birthday, and address.  Include on a business card or flyer for a program to provide a contact.
  7. vCard – the vCard encoding operates like the meCard, but contains more information and is more universally recognized on systems.  Same use as meCard.
  8. Text – this QR code is a free text field.  This could be a quick shout about a lesson/sermon, a message to your members, or note of encouragement.

    Scan this for a special message for you!

  9. Location – you can utilize a QR code to specify an actual location.

There are various smartphone QR code readers for iOS (Apple), Android, and RIM (Blackberry).

However you use these codes to help your ministry, remember that although they can include a thousand and one words, make sure they are the thousand and one words you want people to see from you!

Soli Deo Gloria!

chord (god.notes)

Chord-3 or 4 notes played simultaneously in harmony.

Psalm 27:17 NLT-“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

According to Wikipedia: In music, a chord is any set of harmonically-related notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously (a “harmonic simultaneity”). The most frequently encountered chords in theory and music are triads: major and minor and then the augmented and diminished triads. The descriptions “major”, “minor”, “augmented” and “diminished” are referred to collectively as chordal “quality”.

We are meant to live in fellowship.  In Genesis, God said that man was made His image.  More importantly, He said let us make man in our own image.  We were made to be in God’s plural image.  We were made to be in fellowship like the godhead.

It takes at least 3 notes to make a chord.  There are many different C chords:

  1. C major (C, E, G)
  2. C minor (C, Eb, G)
  3. C diminished (C, Eb, Gb)
  4. C augmented (C, E, G#)

If think of God as the root, us as the fifth (the third note in the sets above), and our communication as the middle note.  We might change and our relationship to others might change, but God never changes.  James 1:17 NLT says, “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

Our key verse Psalm 27:17 tells us that we are to “sharpen” each other.  We are to work together to become what God wants us to be.

Questions to think about:

  1. How is my relationship with God?
  2. How am I “sharpening” others in their walk with God?
  3. When my relationship “sounds” different, do I blame God or myself?  How can I react differently?

Saving time through Phone Apps! Thanks to @wbrucemoore

Saving time through Phone Apps!.

Here is a quick post from Bruce at 1year2live.com.  He outlines three phone apps that he uses on a regular basis to help him with his studies and preparation.  He stresses the time-saving nature of these apps and how they help him.

You can follow Bruce Moore on Twitter at: Bruce Moore  His Facebook page is here.

Along with these apps, I wanted to quickly add a couple of my own which are extremely helpful in my work:

Please comment and add more if you have some!

From other viewers:

Soli Deo Gloria!

10 tips for using Twitter if you’re new to it from @digitalchrist

10 tips for using Twitter if you’re new to it.

Here is a great post that was written for people new to Twitter, but also a nice refresher for those who have been using it awhile.

Take my advice when it comes to social media!  People follow people!  Pay attention to tip #7 about getting a good picture of yourself as your avatar.

If you are interested in getting deeper into social media for your ministry of group, you might want to check out developing a Gravatar.  A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar that “graphically” speaks out who you are.  It can be a cartoon you, you in a movie, you at work, you with someone famous, etc.  But, it needs to be you!  People will think your kids are cute, but they might never see the pictures if they have no idea whose avatar it is!  I also do not recommend changing your avatar/profile picture to support a cause.  Shout out, tweet up, post all about it!  But, once again, if someone has no idea who you are, they might not listen!

Listen up, my tweeps!  Rule #1 for social media is like the answer on how to get to Carnegie Hall.  Practice, practice, practice!  Try something new!  Post it a different way!  Catch people’s eye!

If I can use the inspiration of the Lord in the NDV (New Doug Version):

Repost online always. I will say it again: Repost! (found in SocialMinistry 4:4)

My “blasphemy” aside, be consistent!  Share yourself!  More importantly, share who Jesus is through you!

Can I get a “retweet”?  Holla!

Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 4

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Gift from Heaven

Play track 4 of “Majestic” entitled “Melody of Love.”  You can stream it live here.

“I have a song that Jesus gave me”

I have heard people say that they prefer to give gifts than to receive them.  I hear stories about the looks on people’s faces and the joy that it brings them.  I may be the only person to admit this but I like getting presents.  I like the look in my own eyes and I like the joy it brings me!  Don’t get me wrong!  I enjoy giving gifts, but I like getting them as well.  What I don’t like doing is telling people what I want!  It makes me feel weird.  This puts me in a difficult position.  I like getting presents, but I do not like telling people what I want.  So, guess what I want already!  My wife says that I am difficult to buy things for.  She is probably right.

If I can be honest with you, one of the reasons that I cannot tell people what I want is because I usually do not know myself!  I do not have a list of things I want or need running through my head.  I am horrible when I go shopping!  I look at something and if I need it I’ll get it.  If I don’t, I sometimes get it just in case I might need it.  You could almost say that I do not know what I need or what is best for me.

1 Corinthians 12:7  – A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

Scripture tells us that God has given everyone a gift(s).  He decides what gifts he gives to what people.  The important thing to remember is that our gifts were given to help each other.

And with my life I sing Your melody

Our lives should “sing out” with our gifts.  When our gifts are used together, we hear “Heaven’s harmony” that was “sent from above”. Since we are given a specific gift, we are meant to depend on each other, to work with each other.  Let’s face it!  The world would be a very boring place if everyone was like me.  It would be a very good-looking place, but boring nonetheless.  Soloists are great, but give me a choir any day.  Everyone loves a hero, but what the world needs is a team, the body of Christ supporting each other with their gifts for the benefit of all!

So, my thought is this…

The true gift from God is not the gifts that He has given us, as great as they are.  The true gift from God is our ability to work together to further His kingdom.

So, with your life, will you join me in singing the melody of love?

Church Leaders Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Social Media

Original source article located here: http://dashhouse.com/2011/04/pastors-and-social-media/

Dashhouse.com released a post about pastors and social media.  In this post, the question is raised concerning interaction between pastors and church members online.

I think that avoidance of these virtual relationships is impossible and ill-advised.  I think that we ignore social media at our own risk!

In October of 2010, Mashable reported that the average teen texts 3,339 times a month.  Beyond teens, the average 18-24 year-old in the same report texts 1,630 times a month.  In January of 2010, Nielsen reported that the average person is on Facebook approximately 7 hours a month.  In January of 2011, Pew Research found that more Internet users than non-Internet users are inclined to belong to social groups and organizations.  So, the old story that people online are less likely to engage in outside social activities is not true.  So, based on these few reports alone, it seems that if the church universal wants to remain a driving force today then we must engage!

Joel Diaz, a youth minister, says that social media is very important in keeping in contact with his student members.  “And, you can quote me on that,” Joel added.

Bryan Haynes said, “social media is the most efficient and expedient means of external communication with our students.”

By the way, I got both of these comments from them through Twitter.

Dashhouse offers some good questions to consider concerning your online relationships.  I have included them here along with some of my own thoughts.

  • When interacting with members electronically am I using electronic communication and social media to enhance their life or to satisfy a personal need?  Good question.
  • What are my reasons for sharing this information with a congregant – are they professional or are they personal?
  • Is this picture or comment something I would be comfortable with my members, their parents/guardians, my supervisor, my family or the media seeing?
  • Would my peers or supervisors consider what I have posted as reasonable and professional?
  • Would I communicate this way in my community?
  • Are the photos, videos or audio recordings I am posting susceptible to misrepresentation or manipulation?  These days Photoshop manipulates all.  The most innocent pictures can be twisted.
  • Am I keeping current in my awareness and knowledge of social media technology developments to protect myself from misuse?  Here we go!  This is #1 in my book!

Based on these questions and some other work, I want to propose the following five steps to consider in online interactions.  And, then all start with “tr” for your mnemonic benefit!

  1. TRAINING – you need to know what is going on!  You need to know what the difference in cc and bcc, post and tweet, rss subscriptions vs. email subscriptions, viral (good) and virus (bad), which kind of cookies to eat, “what my lawyer means by DRM”, etc.  A good place to start is Tech Terms and NetLingo.
  2. TRUTH – just because someone types it, it doesn’t make it true!  When you find information online can it be cross-referenced in other studies and is it a reputable company.  In the earlier part of this post I quoted from Mashable, Nielsen, and Pew Research.  All three of these sources are well-known and are heavily used to authenticate.
  3. TRUST – or I should say things you can trust to happen!  If it is “out there” someone will find it.  There is no such thing as completely deletable.  Privacy settings are like locks on doors.  They are only for honest people!  Code-blocking, IP-masking, private browsers, DNS-redirects will keep out the honest people.  But, a good hacker can work through all of that!  A random Google search can bring many things to light!  If you do not trust any of these, trust this!  If you do not want everyone on the internet to see something, do not put it on the internet!
  4. TRANSPARENCY – does it matter who sees what you are posting?  People online need a huge dose of WWJP (What Would Jesus Post)!  Is this picture or comment something I would be comfortable with my members,  parents/guardians, my supervisor, my family or the media seeing?  Is it true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8 NLT)?  Notice here that Scripture says “and” and not “or”.  It needs to be all of those things, not just best 3 out of 6!
  5. TRIUMPH – the world needs “tweeters” for Jesus.  We need Facebook to love someone across the country who has lost a family member!  We need Scripture posted from here to eternity on every social media available.  Not used in condemnation, but in encouragement!  The Bible is the sword of the Spirit.  It is used against evil spirits not evil people!  Share your struggles, don’t post your criticisms!

The following video was published in 2009.  As of May 8, 2011, it has had 2,762,983 views.  Imagine what today’s numbers would reflect!

Here are some of my thoughts, comment with some of yours!

Soli Deo Gloria!

espressivo (god.notes)

Espressivo – A direction to play expressively.

Colossians 3:23-24 NLT – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”

Relying on God has to start all over everyday, as if nothing as yet been done.–C.S.Lewis

Lesson:

We were given one life and we are to live that life for God.  Our verse today says that we are to “work willingly at whatever you do.”  It does not mean what we want to do.  It does not mean what we think we can do well or get the most credit for.  It does not mean what is easiest.  It means everything you do (whether it’s vacuuming, practicing your instrument, cleaning up your room, etc.), do it as if you were doing it for God.

You probably have heard this story, but let’s listen to it one more time.

When he did arrive in England and meet the Founder, the meeting was far from cordial, Booth viewed Brengle with some scepticism calling him a dangerous man in that he had been his own boss and Booth was not sure Brengle would adhere to the discipline of The Salvation Army. Nonetheless he was accepted for training and made his home at the Salvation Army Training Barracks in London. There one of his first duties was to blacken and shine the boots of his fellow cadets, a job that was considered menial. Rather than complain he reminded himself of the fact that His Savior did not consider it beneath Himself to wash the feet of the disciples. He took on all tasks, from selling the War Cry to preaching on the streets with equal humility and zeal.

Did you catch that last part?  He reminded himself of the fact that His Savior did not consider it beneath Himself to wash the feet of the disciples

We will not all sing the solo, or score the game winning touchdown, or cure a disease, or be the president.  But, we can do everything like we are doing it for God.  We need to live our lives expressively.  We need to live them with as much expression, passion, strength, and courage that we can muster.  Whether it’s working in our house, shining other’s shoes, or being the leader, we need to do it for God.

During the Protestant Reformation, the early church leaders ascribed to five fundamental beliefs about our faith.

  • Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
  • Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
  • Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
  • Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
  • Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”)

Whatever we do should be do espressivo, soli Deo gloria, for God’s glory alone.

Questions to think about:

  1. What am I doing now that I think is too unimportant?
  2. How can I give that thing over to God’s glory?
  3. How can I praise God during the most boring part of my day?

Prayer:

Dear God, help me to turn over my complete life to you and for your glory.  You should be praised in everything that I do today, tomorrow, and forever.  Amen.

Walking in His “Majestic” Presence: Week 3

Note to reader: This is a single part of a multi-sectioned devotional series surrounding the transMission album, “Majestic.”  All of the devotionals will be filed under the category marked “Walking in His ‘Majestic’ Presence.”

Will You Catch Me, Daddy?

Play track 3 of “Majestic” entitled “Majestic.”  You can stream it live here.

Being the father of four sons provides life with many challenges, opportunities, and blessings.  Being the oldest “guy” in my house means I get to be the builder, the holder, the spotter, the thrower, the pusher, the puller, the carrier, the cleaner, and lately, the catcher.
My sons have found that jumping off of things is just about the most fun in the whole, wide world.  From beds to couches to chairs to shelves to cars, and even occasionally, the cat, our boys will jump from it.  In the pool, one of the favorite games is jumping into the pool from the side.  They do cannonballs. They do belly flops. I can even get the occasional “can opener” from the oldest.
The secret in jumping for the McClure boys is simple.  We will jump as long as you are there to watch and usually catch us.  “Watch me, Daddy!”. “Catch me, Daddy!”
To see some of their work, you can watch my twins doing “Pillow-Jumping” here.  All of my sons have played “Pillow-Jumping.”
My sons jump into my arms because they trust me.  They know I am strong enough to catch them and hold them.  They know that I will not drop them.  Of course, there is always the possibility that I might drop them, but they know with me that it is a small possibility.  We all have a need for security, for safety.  We all need someone we can depend on.  What do you think the possibility that God will drop us?
Jeremiah 32:17 NLT – O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!
“Majestic” is the title cut from this album.  “Majestic” is a beautiful number with great lyrics.  Compared to some of the other tracks from the album, the melody begins rather simply.  It has a a very gentle quality which allows the strength of the lyric to come through.
A phrase that grabs me from both of the verses is:
Thank You Lord, for Your great love
Your arm is not too short to save
What an amazing thought!  God’s great love!  God’s love for us is so great!  And, not only does He love us, His “arm” will not come up short!  When we jump into the arms of God, He will catch us.  He will not drop us!  There is no possibility that God will “drop” us.  His arm has “raised our souls up from the grave.”  He has “saved us from the hands of enemies.”
Will you catch us, Daddy?  Yes, my son or daughter, I will!
Soli Deo Gloria!

range (god.notes)

Range – A portion of the range of the instrument or voice.

Jeremiah 29:11 NLT – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

According to Wikipedia: In music, the range of a musical instrument is the distance from the lowest to the highest pitch it can play. For a singing voice, the equivalent is vocal range. The range of a musical part is the distance between its lowest and highest note.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.–St. Augustine

There is only one you.  God broke the mold when He made you.  Even if you are a twin, there is still only one person totally like you.  There is only one person with all of your experiences, all of your memories, all of your quirks.  “God made you special, and He loves you very much!”  God created you for a special purpose, a special task, a special project.  He also gave your life limits.  You can only do so much!  You can only learn so much!  You can only meet so many people!  You will live a certain amount of time!  You can only text so many people!
God already knows the plans that He has for you.  He has good stuff for you.  We have a place in the great symphony of God’s creation.  Our lives were specially designed to fit a certain “register.”  Some people may rise higher than we do.  Some people may go lower than we do.  We were created to be the person that God wants us to be.  Who we can be in God has to be explored.  We need to push out and do as much as God has planned for us.  We need to discover what we were created for.  And, it all starts with, ends at, includes, depends on, survives because, lasts while, exists because, is fulfilled by God.
Questions to think about:
  • Have we completely discovered God’s purpose for our lives?
  • Have we thanked God for His loving creation of us?
  • Now, that we have talked about how special we are, is there something that we are doing that we need to stop doing to God’s special creation?
Prayer:
Dear God, thank You for me.  Thank You for everything that You have done for me.  Thank You for the plans of my life.  Thank You for my abilities and limitations. Amen.