Even in the Everyday

I read this article recently by indie music entrepreneur Derek Sivers.  It’s about a lecture he went to where the idea of the story – the rise and fall of drama – is illustrated and explained.  He talks about how we love stories because the pendulum swings so wildly from misery to exceeding joy.  Drama is exciting.  The problem, he infers from the lecture, is that everybody wants their lives to be like this.  But, in reality, our lives are mostly mundane and, well, boring.  He gives this as the reason why people start fights and create drama; so we can live more of the stories we love so much.

I disagree with his conclusion.

My father-in-law has been Olivia’s and my pastor since we were married.  One of my favorite things that he says about a life following Jesus is that it is a great adventure (not to quote old school Steven Curtis Chapman or anything).  It’s true.  When the Holy Spirit is in you, you live a life that is not even imaginable without Him.  You do things that make the world (and even many Christians) go, “Huh?”

Scripture says, “His ways are higher than our ways” so sometimes things don’t always seem logical, but you are persuaded to go, to follow.  Jesus tells us that the Spirit is like the wind – you don’t know where it came from or where it’s going.  We are supposed to be like that.

Like I shared last week, sometimes you’re just living everyday life and God drops someone in your way, changing all your plans.

Sometimes He tells you to give someone a call, or a hug, or money.  Sometimes He tells you to move across the country, or the world.  He’s always working in people’s lives.  He’s always orchestrating His plans and He wants to use you.  He wants to use me.

Sign me up.

Because I don’t want a storyless life.  I want to know God and I want to see Him move in amazing, supernatural ways in unbelievable places with fascinating people.

Even in the everyday.

I’m Hungry

youtube sessions

This week, I’ve got a wonderful worship song that I hope you’ll enjoy.  I love doing it in this slow, contemplative way.  I could sing it for hours! (thanks Harold Greene).  It was written by Kathryn Scott from the Vineyard in Ireland (we’re getting intenational here).

Download here.  Play here:[audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/Hungry.mp3|titles=Hungry|artists=Ben Ward]

There’s Still a Fight in Me

youtube sessions

New song this week written with one of my favorite people in the world, Anje Dowler, and Katie Dean.  It’s got a “James Taylor Moment” in the middle where the key goes up and I have to move the capo in a split second.  Watch for it 🙂

Download here.

      Fight-in-Me - Ben Ward

Fight In Me
Ben Ward, Anje Dowler, Katie Dean

You’re the cigarette I’m not smoking
You’re the whiskey I’m not pouring
Anymore….Why can’t I close the door

You’re the hit I’m not taking
You’re the judgment I’m not making
It’s not over yet…Too hard to forget

CHORUS:
I’ve got more needs
Than the comfort you bring
You hold my hand
But you’re not holding on to me
I’ve got some doubts
But I’m feeling my way out
In the end I believe
There’s still a fight in me

Maybe I fall too quickly
Maybe I’m my own worst enemy
It’s so easy…You never leave me

CHORUS

I’ll overcome where I’ve come from
Undo the damage I’ve done

CHORUS

Football Movies

So, I like football movies…

I only played for a couple years, but I think back on that time with a lot of fondness.  Maybe because the practices was so incredibly grueling.  I know that seems weird…you are sure that you are going to die right there on the field from pure exhaustion…I remember being so thirsty that I would suck on my sweat soaked jersey.  But you don’t die, you get a water break and nasty garden-hose-pvc-pipe water tastes like Evian.  The feeling afterward of having accomplished something is nothing short of exhilarating.

So, back to  football movies…

I watched The Express recently and was reminded of something that I want to be a part of my life now: The head coach in the movie (Dennis Quaid) talks about how they can beat the other teams by being more prepared — by the quality they produce.

In my songwriting I want to keep pushing through until I have a song that is the absolute best it can be.  There is a part of music that is intangible and you can’t control, but the part I have responsibility for, I want to be exceptional.

In my singing and guitar/keys playing I want to play the best parts possible for me.  I don’t want to just play chords…I want to write parts that I have to practice!  (I can’t believe I’m writing this down…)  It doesn’t have to be complicated, just right.  Sometimes the simplest things can be the most beautiful.  But I don’t want to just settle for something because it’s just good enough.

In my  relationship with God I want to press on and experience all that He has for me.  I don’t want to just get by and know that I’m a Christian.  I want to know more of Him.  I want to see and hear things I can’t even imagine.  I want Him to use me to do great things.  What He designates as great — not necessarily what the world thinks is significant.  I want to see Him move and touch people and shower them with grace and mercy like He has throughout history…I want to be a part of great stories that people tell years from now.

So, yeah, I like football movies…how about you?

You’ve Been Activated

Have you seen the movie Eagle Eye?  Two seemingly random people are thrown together by a mysterious voice that keeps calling them with instructions.  They end up working this wildly elaborate plot in supposed service to their country.  I won’t ruin the ending for you (and it’s not relevant to my point).

The thing that caught my attention is the when the voice calls them for the first time.  She gives them a directive and then says, “You’ve been activated.”

They are unsuspecting, normal people whose services are needed because they are in the right place at the right time.

I think God calls on us in the same way sometimes.  We are going about our daily routines and “bam,” we’re called into service.

“You’ve been activated”

Last week I was heading to work when I got on the subway at the normal time and normal place.  An older gentleman sat down and began to talk to me.  Now, if you are familiar with NYC subways, you realize that no one talks to each other…usually ever…especially in the morning.  The thing about this man is that he wasn’t annoying.  He was 73 and he had chronic pain in his back.  He was on his way to physical therapy in Jersey City where the doctors do not have any other options for him except live with the pain.  He kept saying “I just don’t know what else I can do.”

Almost immediately I knew that God said, “You’ve been activated.”  I thought, “Lord, You don’t want me to pray for this man on the quiet train, do You???”

It got even better when the man explained that he had seen a preacher on TV the night before talking about healing and he had called, but couldn’t decide whether to go…he wanted to know if I believed things like that could happen.  First, I thought about how the Lord has a sense of humor.  I told him I knew God could heal Him and give him a miracle.  I have seen it myself.

I still didn’t know if I should pray for him on the train, but it turned out he just needed someone to tell him he should go to the church.  Sometimes God just needs us to give people a prod.

You just never know when you’ll be activated.  But, rest assured, God has activated others for you and He will use you if you are willing.  If you and me are paying attention.

Do you have an “activation” story?