We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together. . . .Not Ever

It was an amazing experience! I just spent the weekend with Taylor Swift! We sang her new song together over and over and over! And over and over and over. Okay, well, maybe I wasn’t really with Taylor Swift. But it sure did seem like it.

Because I was with some of the greatest jr high students in the world singing Taylor Swift’s new song, “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together,” pretty much across the entire state of Missouri (from corner to corner) and back again.

We left Thursday afternoon for the GetAway conference at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO. It was a fabulous weekend! The worship band, Axios, (a great group of guys you should definitely have on your radar) did a beyond excellent job of leading us in worship. They also went out of their way to connect with each and every one of the 900+ students they could, plus they are good friends with one of our sons! Our speaker, Dusty Frizzell, used his gifts of humor, speaking and great life stories, added them to God’s even greater stories helping students recognize their need for Him and their part in His plan. Our group was also blessed to spend a day volunteering at the Watered Gardens shelter in downtown Joplin, hang out with some amazing college students, eat some Chick Fil A (most for the very first time) and get in a quick trip to an Orange Leaf (also a first). Boom! Gotta love the Jr Hi church trip experiences!

But, back to Taylor. Back to the song.

We sang it with the windows up. We blasted it with the windows down. We sang it in an Arby’s parking lot. We sang it to the boys van. We sang this song (and a couple of others) a zillion times—did I mention we had over 14 hours on the road—so, yeah, uh huh, we had a lot of time to sing.

And the more we sang that song the more I was convinced that it could become one our new anthems. You see, the girls and I had a great “God moment” when we talked about how Taylor’s attitude towards, well towards, perhaps, someone who used to be one of the someone’s who used to be a part of her life, could and even should be our attitude towards sin and temptation. We talked about how there comes a point in our life when we know that there are habits, attitudes, thoughts and actions in our life that need to go. But we flirt with them, go back to them, believe their false promises, and completely exhaust ourselves staying with something that is just wrong for us. We need to know that to really be free; we need to take some serious breakin’ up action.

We need to draw a clear line, and we need to be ready to say, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.” We need to say to gossip, backstabbing, dishonesty, insecurity, doubt, fear, you name it, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.” We need to recognize that temptation will “go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me,” but that we are strong enough to respond with a passionate, “But we are never, ever, ever getting back together.”

If we sang that line in our hearts until it was part of our heart, the truth of the truth that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ would begin to define all that we do.

Taylor is right. The back and forth is just exhausting. As we talked, the girls and I decided that when we are tempted to go back to an old habit or sin, we would remember this weekend, we would remember that song, and we would remember that because of Christ we are made for more. We would say good bye to those sinful habits . . . because we are ready to say with confidence, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.”

“Not ever!”

Have You Heard That Song?

I love a new song. I don’t always love it when I hear a new song, love it, and then can’t remember the name, the artist, or much of the tune. I can usually remember a bit of the chorus–that repetitive part that sticks in my mind. We all do it. It drives us crazy and we go around asking people, “Hey, Have you heard that song? You know! The new one. I don’t remember who it’s by, but the chorus goes something like this. . . .” (off key singing begins here!)

So I’m in the Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs as it seems to be called now. Either way, it’s a new song for me. I’ve always kind of avoided this book as I’m not much of a romantic, and am not particularly comfortable talking about, well, you know, the kinds of things that are in Song of Solomon. I’m still a bit baffled by some of it, and I laugh at a lot of the analogies. For example:

Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking towards Damascus.
Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead
You teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each with its twin, not one of them is alone.

Each of these could definately top the list of best pick up lines ever. But, crazy compliments aside, there seems to be a chorus in this book, and it goes something like this.

“Do not awaken love until it so desires.”

This chorus in Solomon’s song is found three times–in chapter 2, verse 7; chapter 3, verse 5; and chapter 8 verse 4.
Since Solomon knew a lot about women, well, let at least he knew a lot of women, it seems to reason there is a good reason for these words to be in here. And whether you hold to the camp that Solomon wrote the book or it was written about Solomon, it appears that someone observed (long before Diana Ross’s momma) that you can’t hurry love, you just have to wait, and perhaps thought others would be needing the warning. By the way, I love when God does that–you know, shows us that way back then He was thinking about what we would need to be hearing right about now-love that!

We are living in times when we are most definately awakening love before it so desires. It’s as though we are sounding alarms to wake it up, yet can’t figure out why we are so darn tootin tired all the time. We wake it up through the way we dress, style our hair, put on our makeup, the words we use, the people we use them around as we head out into the world–looking for love in all the wrong places. Out of our loneliness, we hurry love, rather than letting it rest until the right time. And we jump right out of loneliness. . . into loneliness. And it looks like people were living in those same kind of times even back in Solomon’s day.

In teaching preteens, teens and women’s ministry, it is often my advice to simply put God first. Seek God, as the Proverb says,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbe 3:4-5

Seek Him and He will lead you to a romantic love, if that is where He desires you to go. But seek romantic love first, and it will most often lead you away from God, which is the greatest loneliness of all.

I spoke with someone once about this concept. Their reply, “If I just surrender and trust God, He’s going to change my plans.” My reply, “Maybe, but if you surrender and trust God, you won’t care if He changes your plans.” I believe that with all my heart. It’s not just words to say that His ways are best, right, and truthworthy, it’s truth. It may not always be easy, but it is always worth it.

By hurrying love, by waking it up before it’s time, we open a door to heartache, hurt, sin, loneliness, baggage (or luggage, if your fancy!) that is not God’s plan for us at all. So start singing that chorus, or if “don’t awaken love before it’s time” isn’t sticking in your head, you can always remember Diana Ross and the Supremes, whose mommas told them, “You can’t hurry love, no you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy. It’s a game of give and take.” Motown’s spin on the Song of Solomon, have you heard that song?

David and Goliath

Only a Boy Named David

Our KidZChoiR did their little number on the bells yesterday at church. It was great!!! Simply a blessing. Peace like a river was flowing through our sanctuary, along with joy like a fountain and love like an ocean. I think God was pleased with the sincerity of their hearts and their willingness to not only use their talents for Him, but their willingness to have learned a new method to share Him with others.

Our HiSKidZ theme virtue this month has been HONOR, and yesterday’s big idea was to honor God in front of others. I loved how their special in music fit so well the truth we were teaching in our classes. God is so cool like that.

Our lessons all month have centered around David. We started out with the boy David. Gotta love the David songs:

“out in the fields watchin’ over his sheep, with a sling and a crook just like Little Bo Peep. Went into battle with a giant man. With one shot he knocked him in the garbage can.”

Okay, so maybe it’s not the “Only a Boy Named David” you remember singing when you were a kid. But we love our “Davey, Davey” version, and we do sing the old classic, too.

Well, we also covered teenager David and his BFF Jonathan, David the Dad and his son with great hair (and abs–ABSalom!), and King David and his grouchy, keepin’ life size idols in the house wife. The guy had quite a life. I tell ya what, He may have been only a boy, but there is so much we can learn from his ups and downs.

David’s life holds with it so many of the qualities we want to see instilled in our children today–in our society today. Off the top of my head here are my top 10 favorites. (The list started out as “a few of my favorites”–but there were just too many!!)

1–David knew God. Straight up. He knew Him well. He talked to Him, wrote songs to Him, and was transparantly honest with Him, and it touches every area of his life.
2–David trusted God. This lion killin, bear killin, giant killin man knew that God was the One behind his successes, and that God could be behind everyone’s.
3–David had a giant size perspective on life. He understood that our problems, no matter how big, aren’t the focus. God is. He knew the truth behind the phrase, “Don’t tell God how big your giant is, tell the giant how big your God is.”
4–David was bold and courageous.. David wasn’t afraid to say what needed to be said when it needed to be said, to go when it was time to go, and to fight when it was time to fight. He understood that courage came from knowing God was going before you, coming up behind you and had you covered on all sides.
5–David understood honor. David honored his God, his family, his best friend, his King, his children, and the people of his kingdom.
6–David was humble. Knowing there was currently a king in power, and knowing that he would someday be the king in power. He let God set the timetable, even when that king wanted to to pin him to the wall.
7–David kept his promises. I love the story of David going back to find Jonathan’s son and bringing him to his table, keeping a boyhood promise to his BFF through Jonathan’s handicapped son.
8–David could admit his mistakes. If you remember the story of the David and the bathtub lady, you remember David did on occassion make some “royal mistakes.” However, when pointed out to him, he owned up, repented and kept going. He let God’s grace, not his past mistakes define Him.
9–David wasn’t only a boy. He grew up. He owned up. He manned up. He put the boyhood things aside and became the man of God he was called to be.
10–David was faithful to the end. He finished well. He ran his race, played his game, and his did it til the end.

As we raise our children, influence our families, and make our mark in our communities, it would do us much good to live out, pour in and hold onto the character and virtues we see from David’s life. Not only do we need a few more boys like David, we could use a few good men like him as well.