Tenth Avenue North


Tenth Avenue North - Jason, Jeff, Mike & Scott

Tenth Avenue North - Jason, Jeff, Mike & Scott

I just can’t say enough about these guys. I was blessed when Mike & Jeff came in to my life. Yet this bittersweet symphony has led them to move on to bigger & better things thus leaving my quaint rental house! (Check it out HERE!

I’ve written about the band before HERE and how their song, Beloved, gave me back my relationship with Christ. But since I met Mike & Kelly (his beautiful wife) for coffee on Monday, I’ve been restless to share more about them.  

Mike is a rare soul. A prolific artist, writer & teacher. His true calling to lead people to Christ with his music is unmistakable. Listening to some of their music tonight, I was touched. Just like the first time I listened to Beloved , it resonated with me so much that it brought me to tears. 

The song is called By Your Side, which is on their latest album, Over and Underneath

Why are you striving these days

Why are you trying to earn grace

Why are you crying, let me lift up your face

     Just don’t turn away

Why are you looking for love

Why are you still searching as if I’m not enough

To where will you go child, Tell me where will you run

     To where will you run

Cause I’ll be at your side, wherever you fall

In the dead of night, whenever you call

And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you

    My hands are holding you

If any of you read my blog fairly consistently then you will know that one of the things I’ve struggled with is letting God be enough. I’ve been working on that part of my life for a while now. But recently, I’ve began to slack off. Partly because I’m not running as much and that was my designated chat with God.  It’s also because I’ve stopped seeking and searching as diligently as I was a month ago. Why? I’m not sure. I’ve been distracted, busy, stressed. And although it’s these times that we often pray the most for God’s assistance, I haven’t been. And when I don’t seek Him, I feel it. And I end up like this song… striving, crying, searching as if He is not enough. 

What hit home for me tonight is the chorus. Isn’t it so wonderfully true? He is with us. He is waiting patiently for us to call on Him. No matter the circumstances in our lives, no matter the time of day. He is here. He is with me. And what do we do… we fight it. We resist the urge to give ourselves to Him. We defy being vulnerable and needy. We fear obedience and submission. So we fight the One who can bring us healing and peace like we have never know. We want love and acceptance and acknowledgement. We crave someone to hold us and remind us that we matter, that we are loved. Still we fight.

I must admit, I’ve struggled, but I’m tired. I’m so tired of fighting. So tired of the pursuit of love. So tired of trying to make sense of what rambles around in my head and my heart because of what genetics gave me and the world has taught me. It’s time. It’s time to lay down the bitterness, the brokeness, the emptiness. All of it, not just the easy parts. It’s time to let Him love me. The way He intended. 

As I started this post I just wanted to share with you a few thoughts and it’s turned in to a thesis. But here is the best part. Mike and the entire band are writing (blogging/journaling) on their website. I’ve pulled out a post Mike wrote recently and attached it below. Read more of Mike’s blog/journal HERE

Have you heard the new Coldplay record?  You really should, it’s absolutely beautiful.  And there’s this line towards the end of the record where Chris Martin exclaims, “I don’t want to cycle and recycle revenge, I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends….”

And a line like that will get you thinking. Coupled with the fact that I just got done leading a small group all week at a middle school camp in NJ, it’s got me thinking. We dealt a lot with the idea of returning evil with good, meanness with kindness, hatred with love. In middle school terms, we likened grace to buying a soda for someone who calls you names; treating someone better than they deserve. Or to put it in grown up terms, absorbing more pain than I inflict.”

As Christians, we are called to break the cycle of revenge. More so than any other group of people, because we see that that is exactly what Christ has done for us.  In the middle of his suffering under the weight of our sins’ judgment, He cries, “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Man oh man, most of the time that seems like the greatest impossibility that I could imagine.

To be a willing door mat to those who take advantage? To treat those who would never treat me?
To buy a soda for the bully who takes my lunch money? To wash Judas’ feet?

Coldplay and Jesus are reminding me of my privilege of a Christian today.
The privilege to forgive.The privilege to show grace. The privilege to break the cycle of revenge.

I don’t want to believe the lie today that being bitter towards those who have wronged me will change things.  I don’t want to believe the lie that I need to show people how they’ve hurt my feelings.  I don’t want to believe the lie that a prison of being offended is better than the freedom of forgiveness. I don’t want to cycle and recycle revenge. I don’t want to follow death and all of his friends. 

God give us grace to give grace.

Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Peace Friends,  Mike

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