Monday, November 25, 2013

Where does my help come from?

I was able to share a song I had written with my church family two weekends ago.  The name of the song is 'Where does my help come from?' It will probably be one of the songs I record in March.
If you'd like to hear it, here you go>> LISTEN to 'Where does my help come from' HERE <<

I penned the song, inspired by personal events taking place in my life, and a Psalm that God led me to on a day that I really needed to read it. If you'd like to read the Psalm, here you go>>PSALM 121<<

Without getting into all the details, my family was going through a really difficult time.  We were in the middle of our trial (roughly 3 years in - I think).  Over the course of our trial and challenges, God proved Himself faithful to send the help that we needed to get us through our challenges.  Furthermore, God not only has gotten us through, but is giving us the grace to overcome and have victory.

As I've contemplated the help that God brings to those of us that ask; and His manifold grace - I could write a book on the many ways that God helped my family and I over the past 6 years (and maybe someday I will!)  After sharing the song, and some of the story behind it - I continue to reflect back on what I'm about to share.

During our family struggles, at times I had the same mentality that Naaman had.  (Read Naaman's story)
I wanted God's help on my terms and in the way that I had thought would 'bring Jesus the most glory.'

But God had and always has His own terms.

What I found through my experience was that God brought the help in a way that was different than I had "planned" or expected Him to.  I had a predisposition about how God brought help.  Looking back now, I'm pretty sure that at times my predisposition actually got in the way of God getting my family the help that we needed.  But God showed us grace and was patient with me.  Now I'm learning to receive God's help on His terms day by day, and moment by moment.

So... if you're reading this... do you need God's help today? (trick question.. :)...) Seriously though...

If you do need help, and are asking the Lord for it- are you predisposed to how He should bring it?  Furthermore, are you predisposed at how you're willing to receive His help?

I leave you with this..  I didn't realize how much my religious predispositions were able to influence my ability to receive the Savior's help.  According to the gospels, there were a lot of men who had religious predispositions, and were unable to receive the Savior's help too.

God help us to receive your help and healing on Your terms, and in the best way possible.  Your way.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our songs will be forgotten....I hope.

I have the privilege of sharing my music a few times this coming week.  Thursday, I'll be heading back to the city I grew up in to lead an evening of worship.  Saturday and Sunday, I'll be sharing one of my songs with my church family at their two weekend worship services.  As I'm preparing copies of a demo takeaway to bring with me, I'm forced to contemplate the vision of what I believe God is sending me to do through this ministry; and contemplate that eventually the songs that I'm sharing will be forgotten.  I hope to accomplish (very briefly) 2 things in this blog today.

#1 - Introduce you to the objectives/vision of this music ministry
#2 - Make a good argument why our songs will be forgotten

Q: Why should I share the objectives?
A: So you can pray for me to be faithful with what I believe God has entrusted to me.  Every church website seems to have 'What is our vision?' or 'the mission of....'  They have an objective that God has entrusted into their care to manage and execute (with God's help).  I believe God will use the vision/mission sort of like the bumpers on the bowling alley that helps the ball hit the pins.

Q: Why do I need to argue that our songs will be forgotten?
A: Because they should be.  What should be remembered or asked is 'how did God use the songs (whatever they may be) to make Jesus more famous and to advance His work in the lives of others?'  Frankly, the songs ought to be a small branch that grows off of the trunk of the ministry taking place. The songs should bear fruit that expresses the Root that supplies the nourishment to bring it to bear.

I pray that these objectives would work in beautiful harmony to make me and my music forgettable - and make Jesus completely memorable. 

1. Refresh the saints - (Acts 3:19, 2 Cor. 1:3-4) I hope that God refreshes the bride that He loves so much by (a) allowing us to encounter His presence in such a way that refreshes our souls and (b) allow my hardships and how He comforted me through them to be used to comfort those in the midst of hardship.

2. Build community -  (Acts 2:46) I hope that God uses the evenings of worship, and all ministry resources to build relationships.  Strong relationships equal strong community.  Strong Christian community equals advancement of God's work in the lives of others.

3. Bring low a culture of 'worship leader worship' & lift high the Name, the Work, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ - (John 3:30) Remember that part about making my music forgettable - and making Jesus completely memorable. John set the standard for every worship leader.  "He must increase, but I must decrease".

4.Touch lives - (Isaiah 61:4) If God shows mercy to bless the objective of 'Building community', the outcome will be a growing number of lives that are touched.

5.Rescue souls - (Acts 16:31) 19th century evangelist, D.L. Moody is quoted saying these two separate quotes. (1.) "The voice of sin is loud, but the voice of forgiveness is louder." And (2.) "Real true faith is man's weakness leaning on God's strength."  I hope two things happen as a result of this music ministry in this area of ministry objective.  When someone is listening to this music ministry in their car, on the computer, at a worship service - I hope that the sound of God's forgiveness would overwhelm the inward shame that keeps them from coming to God, and a recognition of their weakness would resound to their open confession of a need for a strong Savior to rescue them.

So there you have it.  The objective of the 'Ian Zumback music ministry'.  

Now for a brief summary of the 'argumentation' part that I promised in this blog.  Why should any of the music that I'm writing and sharing matter - if these objectives are not being accomplished?  I might have a good hook or a memorable lyric; but how is that meaningful in light of eternal matters?  That's why my music should be forgettable.  If God chooses to use the music as a vehicle to stimulate, support, or accomplish making Jesus memorable to others - that's where this music can find meaning in light of eternal matters.

In short paraphrasing, Rich Mullins shared at a concert once that God chose to speak to Balaam through a donkey.  So if God chooses to speak through you or your music - before you esteem yourself too highly; consider the company that you now keep that God chooses to speak through.

I hope that you'll pray for my family and I to stay faithful in these matters.
Thanks for letting me share!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

JESUS...(Messiah, Lord, Quarterback) ..a parable..

Hi and welcome back (or just welcome if its your first visit) to doing life together in my area of internet real estate.  I woke up yesterday having a dialogue with myself about how Jesus was like my quarterback and that I was His wide receiver.  <<PAUSE + DISCLAIMER>> If you haven't read my introductory blog entry - now would be a good time before you read any further Introductions - CLICK HERE... I can't wear a mask here in my own blog after I wrote about masks MASKS - not the Halloween type..  So expect transparency here.  Without it, we're just not going to be able to get to know each other.

Moving forward...  Yes!  I woke up having this dialogue in my own head about Jesus being like a football quarterback and me being his wide receiver.  

I took to the prayer closet (which most days happens to be our family bathroom) and began to prayerfully seek and contemplate 'Jesus being my QB'.

Here's what I came away with from my initial prayer time...

1.     Jesus is calling the plays. If I want to hear where He needs me on the field to catch His pass, my eyes need to be on Him.  My ears need to be attentive to His play action calls.

2.     When I'm in position rightfully, the coverage will be intact.  Right???

3. If I catch the pass, and the play goes the way He called it - I should be able to make the play that He called - and the credit for the execution of the play should go back to Jesus, the QB. 

Ok.  Since I’m writing my best attempt at a parable – here’s the part where I personally process this parable attempt (some would call this the self-discovery portion of today’s blog)...

The field is my life.  The plays are God’s direction and will for my family and I.  In order to see and hear God’s direction and will for us, I need to watch Him and listen to Him to discern the plays. 

If I’m discerning the plays correctly, and my teammates are helping me discern the plays – I ought to catch the pass, advance the ball (sometimes to an endzone), and make Jesus more famous, right?

So what about the times, when I know I’ve discerned correctly.  My eyes are watching.  My ears are open.  Direction is confirmed.  I step out expecting my coverage to be intact and WHAM! 

I get hit.   

I usually get up, get back into the huddle,  try not to get hurt, get in right position, watch for the ball…

BAM!  It happens again.
I’m on my back.

Man!!!  I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing!   My eyes are on Jesus.  I’m praying.  I’m studying God’s word.  I’m learning to honor God more and more in my day to day life – but the coverage keeps on getting busted, and I’m on my back again.

Now I’m getting sore and a little headshy.
A little less likely to reach out for the ball…

That is until I begin to contemplate my teammates and former ‘wide receivers’. 
Teammates Saeed and Nagmeh Abedini.  Teammate Richard Wurmbrand.  Teammate Wang Zhiming.  High level “wide receivers”. 

I needed to replace a hot water heater today.  Nagmeh Abedini doesn’t know if her husband is even alive.  I was barely ‘hit’ today.

But when I do get hit hard, getting hit doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not discerning the play correctly.  1 Corinthians 16:9 does indicate that God has adversaries that set themselves against His work, right?  Maybe I’ll be used sometimes to get the ball in to the end zone, but it was still the QB who deserves the credit for calling and executing the play.   

OK.  I think I’ll reach out for the ball again today, and say yes to being Jesus’ wide receiver.

How about you?


These opinions expressed in this blog are not endorsed by the NFL.  They would be endorsed by Tim Tebow (I think.)