Sweet Flower: An Armenian Woman Who Understood The Power Of Forgiveness

SPECIAL EDITION POST: Today commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocides that took place under the Ottoman Turks at the turn of the last century. My father-in-law is Armenian, and my wife, children, and relatives are all of Armenian descent. In our home, today is a day we remember someone who deeply impacted all of our lives – a woman who was one of the last living survivors of this great tragedy, and a hero to us all.

Sweet Flower

My wife’s Grandmother, Siranouche Husnian, was a survivor of the Armenian Death Marches. She died at the age of 95, and was a great friend and mentor to me. At her graveside funeral, I recounted her sitting with me and teaching me powerful lessons about family, life, and hope.

Once, when her eyes were failing, she held my face close in her hands, and nose-to-nose told me how much she loved me. Etched in my memory, like her tender voice and her soft accent, is what she taught me about forgiveness.

Here, in brief, is her story.

5 Reasons Lament And Praise Must Stand Together In Worship

I lead worship every week for my community, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – as well as disease, unemployment, divorce, and many other struggles – are always in the room with us.

5 Reasons Lament

If a theology of resurrection (the empty tomb, renewal, personal transformation, healing, miracles) does not stand together in worship with a theology of suffering (the full cross, intercession, trouble, sorrow, struggle), then I contend our worship is out of accord with both the Scriptures and the daily news.

Worship That Is Both “Now” And “Not Yet”

The Kingdom of God is both “now” (among us), and “not yet” (to come in its fullness one day in the future). Our worship life should reflect this tension, or I contend we misrepresent Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom.

Yes, post-resurrection all things are being made new. Yes, we are a people of praise, thanks, and joy. Yes, Joy is the major theme. But also, yes, suffering is the minor theme, and is everywhere – from the masses being slaughtered by radical groups today, to the struggles you and I will have with relationships, jobs, and emotional and physical health. Jesus said we will have trouble.

We must be present to this as leaders, and it must shape our language. This is the “now” and the “not yet” of the Kingdom of God, and we live in the tension – the radical middle.

The following article is precious to me, and is written by my brother-in-law, Ed Gentry. I hope it impacts you as much as it has impacted me.

8 Ways A Worship Leader Can Be A Good Host At Rehearsal

A worship rehearsal is about to happen. Band members begin to roll in, to get set up for downbeat time. As they come in the door, the worship leader is there, already set up and prepared, ready to help them bring in gear. Sounds crazy? Maybe.

The 1-2

Simple phrases like “Thanks for coming,” “How was the zoo you call an office today?” and “Here are your (correct) charts… oh, and a bottle of water” are heard. The stage is generally cleaned up, and lights and sound are live. After a brief prayer, the rehearsal starts, and moves quickly with laughter and friendship. That’s the first scenario. Maybe that sounds like overkill to you. Or maybe you relate more to the second (like I often do).

My Response To “5 Reasons Jimmy Fallon Is One Of The Best Worship Leaders In The World”

My daughter showed me the post someone shared on Facebook. I’ll be honest; when I saw the title, I was angry. I even ranted in our kitchen. The title (and, I assumed, the post that would follow) was taking another pop-culture hunk out of the high calling of worship leadership. She said, “It’s viral; people really love it.” I said, “Of course they do.”

The 1-2-2

“Why do they love it?” I went on. “The writer put the name ‘Jimmy Fallon’ in the title, the URL, and his face in the header image. Can you say ‘SEO win?’ Jimmy is popular.” That’s not a judgement on the author; it was just my observation in a cranky moment with a title I didn’t like.

That was all before I actually read the post. I promised my daughter I would not respond until after I had read the post.

Now, I can respond.

The Power Of Communion: Where Past & Future Meet [Mark 14:12-26]

This is, perhaps, the most important message I’ve ever taught on Communion/The Eucharist. The unusual part is that it was a last minute message; our pastor was sick and I was asked to fill in. What came out of my heart, less filtered than normal, is in this message audio.

Wilt Communion Past Future