Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

Doing The Christian Walk With A Funky Strut

Sweetly broken

Beginning to truly appreciate and be thankful for trial in my life.  This year’s been full of “growing pains” as a Christian.  I’m definitely out of the “baby” stage now and the bar’s been raised accordingly.  I can see where God’s digging to the root of certain thought patterns and behaviors–and while it’s uncomfortable, I see the wisdom at work, the fruit that results, and the bondage I am getting released from.  I’m learning to get “It’s unfair” out of my vocabulary.   He has great plans for me, and I need the depth of character to stay in Him when He takes me to the next level.  The trials this year have been exposing character issues left and right, and different levels of them.  I’m thankful for the revelation and the cleansing.  And I’m thankful He’s not done.   Through the tears, the anger, the frustration, I will come out better than I was, and He’ll have shown Himself faithful by taking me through it.

No one ever promised the Christian life would be an easy one.  But I’ve found it to be the richest, most fulfilling one.

Your will be done, Father.

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Pasture-ized

Sort of working into a daily groove, think sheep just laying in the pasture munching grass and wiggling ears to keep the flies off.  Some random observances:

–Recent dust-up with my manager at work and some spiritual teaching finally led me to actually do what I’ve heard taught for some time…instead of talking smack about someone who’s hurt you, pray for them.  And hey, you know what?  There’s a reason God commands it.  There’s a reason it’s taught.  IT WORKS.  Even if they don’t change one iota, it’s hard to stay peeved at someone when you intercede for them on a daily basis.   Makes it a whole lot easier to dispense grace.

Obedience.  Oh how amazing, are the results.

–New perspective on credit cards.  I’m going to go out on a limb and call them the devil’s provision.   God supplies all our needs, as we need them.  Credit cards enable us to basically say, “God, I’m not satisfied with Your timing, or what You say is right for me to have.  I want what I want (or THINK I need)  and I want it NOW.”   Now, I, as a cardholder, have a choice.  I can wait on God’s provision, or I can receive the devil’s provision and the headaches that come with it.  The interest.  The bills.  The postponing of oh so much because of the debt load.

If something comes up and I don’t have cash to hand, I need to think about who my true Provider is, and trust Him to either provide at that time or help me make do for a while without.   I’m done receiving provision from the devil.

(for a certain someone who may read this–no, I did not cave in and order the Sadowsky.  😛 )

–Getting more bass practice in.  Paying dividends.  So why am I having a hard time talking myself into it tonight?  Gonna be one of those “press past feelings” nights, I don’t FEEL like doing a stuffin’ thing, but I have plenty I could and should be doing.

So let me get right on that.

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Just cuz…practice notes

There’s certain praise and worship tracks I LOVE to play.  I think I’ve found a new one.

‘Sweeter’, written by Israel Houghton et al.  The Lakewood Church recording has an infectious groove to it.  One that I can actually play.  Man, did I have FUN practicing that one tonight.  If we could just cop that feel on Sunday…well, I’m ready to bring da funk in any case.  Complete with David-in-his-skivvies-shameless dancing.  🙂

Heh.  If my dear grandmother could see this.  Fun.  Loud.  Movin’ and groovin’.  For CHURCH MUSIC.  Oh, the humanity!!!  LOL

Thankful to have a place to use and grow my gift…and have a blast doing it.

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Bye, comfort zone.

So.  Earlier posts addressed my fixation on a 5-string bass and how I wasn’t allowed to peep up about it anymore.  New mantra is “Do More With 4”, right?

Weeeeellllllll…

Went through this week’s setlist this evening.  Knew we were doing ‘In The Sanctuary’ with an additional key modulation to usual, didn’t think too much about it…

…until I actually looked at the chord chart, and it confirmed what I kind of expected.  To play the usual hook in the new key, would mean drop tuning, since I don’t have that B string.  I don’t have a Hipshot on any of my basses.  I’ve done manual drop tune in church before, but it’s been on a week where everything was kind of laid back arrangement wise, and I could just leave it in that tuning and transpose accordingly, the fingers didn’t have to be in a hurry.

I don’t have that luxury this week.  At least not to my feeble mind.

So, if I can’t drop…gotta bump.  Up an octave.  And this is where my comfort level gets tested.

I typically hang out in the ‘money frets’ ‘cuz I like to bring the thunder.  I don’t get up the neck much.  To jump an octave and still have some beef to the tone, gotta go waaaayyy up the neck.

12th fret and beyond!!!!  EEEEEK!!!

*laughs*

But it actually worked out OK.  Turns out it’s easier to play that hook up in that space, once I get used to what’s where.  Hopefully my different register to usual will sit in the mix alright with the band on Sunday.  If not…ummmmm….*grimacing smile*

Funny how this involvement with Worship Team is prodding me to higher skill levels without trying.  🙂

 

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Burning wool

Just when I think it can’t get any hotter in the furnace…some more fuel gets thrown in.  This week, they threw in a truckload.

I get it.  This whole year is shaping up to be a “refining season”.  Patience is built under trial.  I’m finding new, higher levels of tolerance.

Praising Him through pain is very effective spiritual warfare.  It enabled me, today, to hang on by the remaining frayed thread of energy and joy I had left.  Recent circumstances have worn me completely out mentally and emotionally, which is affecting me physically and spiritually.  Had a particular event happen today that zapped me of any remaining reserve.  But I didn’t break down this time.

I dropped everything in the middle of my workday and just prayed.

Pleaded for strength…then praised Him for everything I could think of.  Then released the situation completely to His hands, trusting Him to exact justice.  Then forgave the person.  Then praised God some more.

The effect was amazing.  It felt like something out of an action flick…where the hero is dangling off some precipice over a yawning chasm and some nasty uber-monster is standing above, belching fire down…the hero’s fingers are losing their grip on the edge…

…then the camera focuses on the hero’s face…the steel determination in the eyes…

…the determination that says, “I don’t care WHAT you do to me, I’M NOT GOING DOWN!!!”

Exhausted, outmatched, beaten, bloody…but every fiber of the being still fighting and refusing to quit.

Think the Spirit in me got ignited with a bit of that furnace fuel.  I’ve dug in my heels and found a deeper level of faith to stand on.

God’s got this.

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The stage update

Stairs and carpet!  They make us sound better, right team?  😉

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Baaaa?

I am one confused sheep right now.

Got word a couple hours ago of my grandfather passing away.

And I feel…nothing.

“Oh, OK.”–is pretty much how I reacted.

I’m more bothered by the fact that I feel zero sense of loss  or pain, than I’m bothered about his passing.  Shouldn’t I be feeling something?  He is my own flesh and blood.

When I lost a co-worker earlier this year, I was an emotional wreck for weeks.  Broke down crying at the drop of a hat.

When I lost a sister in Christ in July, more tears were shed.  I still grieve that loss.  I still can’t listen to Building 429’s “Where I Belong” without thinking of her and losing it.

But Grandpa?  I’m thankful he died peacefully, and I know he’s home with the Lord, but I feel nothing beyond that.  And I somehow feel less “Christian” for that.

Shouldn’t there be at least something stirring in me?

There was no bad blood or anything…we were just never close.  I hardly knew him and he hardly knew me.  We saw each other very infrequently, especially over the last 15 years.

But even so, he’s family…shouldn’t I feel at least a twinge?

Focus for prayer in the coming days…

 

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No.

No, I will not let out the primal yell brewing in me over yet ANOTHER expensive possession breaking down.

No, I will not raid that chess pie in the refrigerator for some good ol’ emotional eating.

No, I will not use this as an excuse to blow whatever money I feel like “cause I’ll never get out of debt anyway, the devil won’t leave me alone”.

No, I will not sit up all night on the Internet trying to numb my brain.

No, I will not sit on here and rant like a lunatic all night.

No, I will not allow this to cause my faith to waver.

 

God’s got this.

 

 

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Amazing pasture

Chicago ROCKS.  I am so thankful to live here.  Last night, took in some of the Chicago Jazz Festival.  I’ve been to a number of music venues in a number of cities.  Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park is among the best of the best.  And because I live in a city that supports the arts, I got to see a couple of great acts on a great stage…for FREE.  Happy to pay whatever taxes support that, and hoping to get a membership to the Jazz Institute of Chicago in the not-too-distant future, to keep the programming rolling.

Then today, got to chill out with some Word in another crown jewel of Chicago’s park system–Osaka Garden at Jackson Park.  The pictures will speak the peace I experienced.

Have I mentioned I love living here?

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