“So Help Me God” by DC Talk


An oldie, but a goodie.

If you really think about the lyrics in the chorus, it is a bit of an interesting paradox. Essentially, it is asking for HELP from God to put FAITH in God. At first glance, that might seem strange, but in reality, building more faith in God is something that is really beyond our natural, human capabilities. In essence, we have to have faith that God will help us have more faith in Him. It is a beautiful cycle if you really let it sink in.


When “This is TOO Easy!” Equals Death

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it.  How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 (HCSB)

Being something of a “brainiac” is a blessing and a curse. Yes, I can still do complex mathematics in my head, even years after graduating with my Ph.D. But, it also has a tendency to make a person lazy. I had learned to “skate by” without really thinking about things substantially.

So it was with my “Christian” persona. I had learned every conceivable method of prestidigitation to make myself appear to be the Christian everyone thought I was. I was a regular David Copperfield (the magician, not the literary character), using a very crafty sleights of hand (and mind) to make myself appear as something I was not. I could call upon my vast knowledge of scripture, biblical history, and Christian “language” in order to prop myself up as a “humble brother in Christ.”

But one of the many many many MANY (read: “many”) things that constantly set my teeth on edge was how “easy” things felt. Like I had in so many of my high school and college classes, I was skating by on the so-called Christian life with very little resistance. Yeah, as a family we had PUH-LENTY troubles, but I also realized that the bulk of those troubles were not the result of “Spiritual warfare,” but rather, a result of my own internal disobedience to the Word of God.

I was a pretty crummy husband.

Certainly not a great father.

Spent lots of time pursuing my own interests and almost none seeking after the heart and will of God.

And it all came so easily. In fact, it came so easily and naturally that I had fooled myself into believing my own bill of goods. I had convinced myself that I was a phenomenal Christian, serving Him in as many ways as I could find.

That probably should have been a huge red-flag. Why was everything so easy? Jesus was very clear in Matthew Chapter 7 that the way to life eternal was a long, narrow road, and the road that leads to destruction is exactly the opposite: broad, smooth, probably even a slight downhill grade for lazy people like me.

But that’s exactly what Satan wants. He wants our spiritual muscles to atrophy by guiding us down the path of least resistance. Body builders use resistance training to focus on certain muscles (or groups of muscles) that they wish to build. When the resistance isn’t strong enough, the result is little to no improvement in strength or muscle tone. When there IS no resistance, muscles can actually weaken through atrophy.

Christians who aren’t experiencing any resistance should start to ask the most important question:

“Why not???”

The Commedia dell’Arte of My Church Persona

I learned a great deal from my high school drama teacher, Kathy Breeden. Boistrous, delightful, and sometimes fear-inducing (“Commit!!!”), she was a shining beacon at Chillicothe High School. Aside from being a wonderful Christian woman, she also had an unbelievable command of the history and traditions of the theatre. We spent much of the year in “Drama I” learning about the Greek and Roman roots of modern day theatre. Some of the concepts I learned from her that continue to endure in my mind are:

  • Hamartia is the Greek word for a “fatal flaw.” Generally protagonists in tragedies have a hamartia.
  • Hubris is the Greek word for extreme pride. In many cases, in a Greek tragedy, the protagonist’s hamartia is hubris.
  • Deus ex machina, or “God from the machine,” was a device at the end of some Greek plays where something “miraculous” would happen to “save the day.” Literally,  in some cases, a Greek god would descend to the stage from a crane-like machine and resolve the plot of the play.

English: Commedia dell'arte masks

In addition to these Greek theatrical terms, we also learned about Commedia dell’Arte. Obviously, you can do a quick Google or Wikipedia search and find out more about what Commedia dell’Arte is, but the nutshell version is that it was a primarily Italian theatrical motif that featured a great deal of improvisational humor that was performed by sometimes masked performers who represented caricatured characters. For instance, there would be a “bumbling elderly man,” “typically overblown heroic males,” and “crafty, conniving servants.”

The actors in a Commedia dell’Arte troupe had to be very versatile, able to play any of the stereotypical roles with equal adeptness.

My Christian “walk” had become a one-man Commedia dell’Arte (of sorts) and I had become an extremely versatile “player.” Did our church need someone to serve in the hospitality ministry? I just needed to don my hospitality mask and play the hospitable servant. Did our church need someone to go on mission to Panama? I could whip out the missionary mask and play the part of the humble, evangelical missionary. Did our church need someone to teach a class on Wednesday nights? Hold on…let me just dig out the teacher mask and play the part of the wise teacher who knows the Bible forwards and backwards–well, forwards at least.

Thirty years of experience playing the part of dutiful Christian. That’s what I had. And you better believe that the longer it went on, the degree of difficulty increased as well. I was a “chameleon,” changing my color when the situation called for it. I could transform at the drop of a hat into whatever was needed.

And boy, was I good at it.

Funny thing about my little private Commedia dell’Arte…it was neither comedy, nor art. In retrospect it was despicable. Jesus tell the church in Laodicea:

 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. —Revelation 3:15-16 (HCSB)

I don’t know about you, but that is one of the straight-up freakiest verses in the Bible.  I mean, think about it. Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, says that if we straddle the fence and try to be “lukewarm” or indifferent instead of on fire or cold towards Him, he’s going to vomit us out of His mouth.

Truth was, during that 30-year stretch I went from warm to lukewarm to cool-ish to cold, all while maintaining an “on fire for Jesus” exterior. But no matter how talented a deceiver I was, everything would eventually collapse under the weight of all the lies and trickery I had devised.

And eventually, it did…

Keep coming back as I detail more of my journey from someone with a gleaming “religious resume” to someone who fell into the arms of the Savior, exposing my long period of deceit.

“Meteor Shower” by Owl City


Yes, that’s right. I’m posting an Owl City song on “The REboot” journal. For those of you who don’t know, Adam Young, the man behind Owl City, is a Christian, and while he doesn’t necessarily write a lot of songs with overt Christ-centered messages in them, he does record some on occasion. And, along with my posting of 2 Corinthians 5:17 today, this song follows the theme perfectly of a “new creation in Christ.”

“My Passion” by Travis Cottrell


This is a very simple song with a very powerful message that speaks to me with great power every time I hear it. It is a song of thanksgiving and devotion, and if you are a believer and can listen to it without being overcome with tremendous emotion, head on over to the ER and have them bust out the defibrillator.