Dead Inside

Muse is probably my favorite band.  The trio, consisting of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme, and Dominic Howard, formed in 1994.  Their first song I remember hearing was “Time Is Running Out”.  I picked up the album with that single in high school and played it to death in my first car.

They recently released Drones, their first record to hit number 1. Val got it for me for my birthday and I’m loving the entire thing. Bellamy has been interviewed saying the album is autobiographical. The first big track from it is titled, “Dead Inside.” You can see the video here:

At first listen, the meaning is clear.  Bellamy had dated actress Kate Hudson for a few years, ending the relationship during the making of the album.  The lyrics are the story of a toxic relationship.  He sings of giving everything and being unable to give anymore, of a love seeming ablaze and alive, but being dead inside.

The dance in the music video is symbolic.  The female dancer plays the dark half of the relationship that, after struggle and pain, takes over.  Innocence dies.

How many of us live like this?

We chase passions and pursuits. We find targets that seem necessary. Our views of success shift. Our influences change.   We read, in Ecclesiastes, of Solomon saying that everything is meaningless.  He had every need met a thousand times over, but it didn’t matter.

Jesus tells us to switch the equation. To be Dead Outside.  To die to ourselves on a daily basis.

What matters now is the inside, where we stand in the grace of salvation found in Jesus. The passion we have is for others.  Our giving and service is what makes us ablaze and alive.

This week ask yourself what you can do to switch the equation and make a difference in your marriage, family, and community.


Birthday Favorites for 7/3/2015

Tomorrow I’ll celebrate another year of life. I remember when turning thirty freaked me out.  Now, making my way through my thirties, it has truly been a refining few years.  I’ve felt like I was nearing the end of one season in life and starting a new one. The plot of my family had taken plenty of turns and things are starting to, slowly but surely, clear.

The clouds are lifting.  The journey isn’t over and we are finally seeing progress.

There are still things on the horizon and, I pray, our paths will be straight. I’m thankful for a time of professional, personal, and spiritual development.

Here’s a quick review of the last year and some of my favorites:

Favorite Post:

Why I Believe

Favorite Worship Song(s):

I have a few to pick from so here’s a pair of them:

Promises I lean on:

Jeremiah 29:11-“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 3:5-6-“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Family Loss:

Hazel Shaner, “Princess,” my grandmother.  She was the matriarch of our family and lived a full 98 years of life.  She was a great woman and embodied the love of God.  Princess, you will be missed and I know I’ll see you again one day.

Church Tragedy:

The motorcycle accident that took the life of our pastor’s wife Lynn Koch and landed our pastor Bryan Koch in ICU.  This occurred just last month and has caused numerous deep conversations within our family and friends about struggle, suffering, and grace.  You can see one of my posts about it by clicking here.

Looking Forward:

My current book project about poverty and activism in the city of Reading, Pennsylvania (Poorest city in the US in 2011) is in the draft editing phase. I’m excited to lay it out, tighten it up, and get it in front of publishers! It is a non-profit project and I can’t wait to see what God will do with it! There are other developments shaping up to make this next year a big one for us.

I’ve decided to dedicate my writing to God, to give it back to the cause of changing our community, society, and the world.

I dedicate this year to:

~My wife and sons.  Thank you for putting up with a dreamer, father, and husband working to be the best man he can be.  I am nothing without you.

~My audience.  The writing, all of this, is for you to celebrate faith and life in action.  I pray you find hope here, that the words resonate with you and you know, deep in your heart, that you are not alone.

~The dreamers.  The ones looking to do worship, church, creativity, and community differently.  Now is the time for a shift, for open doors and changed lives. Now is a time for authentic service, for unity and hands raised in triumph over hate, discrimination, and violence.

~The writers. If you are making this writing journey with me, I dedicate this next year to you.  We are a community, drawn in by the pen/pencil/keyboard and we do this together.  Never stop writing.

~The soldiers. To everyone I’ve met compiling this book on Reading, this next year is for you.  For the men and women on the front lines of the fight against poverty, this is for you.  For the ones who wake up every morning to serve those in need, this year is for you.  My prayer is that this book shines light on your actions and inspires support through increased volunteers, funding, and effort from an audience around the world.

For everyone that’s taken the time to read my thoughts, thank you for being a part of this community and spending time with me every week.  I’m honored that you stop in and I promise you more content, stories, actions and real connection.

Tomorrow is a new year for me, this blog, and my writing. Come with me and we’ll make the journey together.