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Friday, December 04, 2009

Ready to rock? Curse of the Spider King Music, Track 1

Christopher Hopper and I are pleased to announce the official release of The Lost Ones, our new single for the Curse of the Spider King. We batted around the idea of putting it on iTunes and numerous other online providers, but felt it was better simply to offer it to you directly through our websites. For free. If you'd like to donate a dollar for the song download, that's appreciated, but please don't feel obligated. This is a small 'thank you' to all those of you who have been so faithful to help promote our works through your enthusiasm.

If nothing else, please leave a comment to let us know you've downloaded the single.

"The Lost Ones"
Music by: Christopher Hopper
Words by: Wayne Thomas Batson & Christopher Hopper
Performed, Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by: Christopher Hopper
Sprig Records 2010

DOWNLOAD "The Lost Ones" (5.9Mb)

Free Spider King for Librarians--18 copies left

If you're in the Tribe Building Contest (or even if you're not), contact a local librarian (public library or school library) and see if they'd like a copy of Curse of the Spider King. Christopher Hopper and I would like to honor our "unsung heroes" for helping us all get good books to read.

Just have the librarian email me and provide the address to the school/library. I'll send them a signed copy of Spider King--free, not even postage required! lol

I have 18 copies left to be claimed!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Knowing Jesus, Part 2


Thanks to all who posted comments. There is some comfort to know that others share the fears, worries, and doubts. In thinking more about Jesus being baptized by John, I thought again about how aghast John was at the thought of baptizing the Lord of Lords. It struck me that, in addition to fulfilling prophecy, Jesus was really humbling himself. Right there at the start of his ministry on earth, Jesus let this dirty, sweating, sinful, locust-eating wild man baptize the perfect One of God. It’s kind of poetic that Jesus began and ended His earthly ministry by humbling himself at the hands of mankind. So, from this, I learn that Jesus, like the Father, has no interest in forcing us to love Him. Jesus is willing to go to all lengths, diminishing himself to serve mankind, to show His love by serving. How often I underestimate God’s love for us. I still can’t really feel it like a hug or a pat on the shoulder, but something stirs in my gut at the thought of Jesus humbling himself for mankind.

On to the next meeting with Jesus:

Matthew 4 (New International Version)

The Temptation of Jesus
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
" 'He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'[b]"

7Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Mannn, how many times have I read or heard this passage. I’m struggling to keep preconceived notions out of my head—Jesus fought the devil with God’s word, so therefore we Christians ought to memorize the Word to use it against the enemy. That’s true—and very important, right?

But Lord, what can I learn about you personally from this? Okay, you fasted for 40 days and nights. You have to be sold out, dedicated to even attempt something like that. How’d you do that anyway? You had to have water and something to eat or you’d have died. But still, it was a fast, so you had to deny yourself most everything. Why? Why do that? I can’t remember Jesus fasting anywhere else in scripture. The only thing I can think of is that you wanted to weaken your flesh…you wanted to make yourself vulnerable. You knew the Devil was coming, and you wanted the flesh to be nearly spent. Was this your way of showing us how important it is for us to come to the end of ourselves? It’s almost like you’re saying, “I just about killed myself, but I didn’t give in to the enemy.”

And how did He resist? Scripture—the Spirit. He didn’t try to solve the problem through his humanity. He didn’t try to climb down on His own. He didn’t negotiate. He didn’t give in. He spent all of his humanity so that He could rely on God and Him alone. So from this, I realize that Jesus is brave and kind of relentless. I also learn that you are superior to the devil in every way.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Knowing Jesus, Part 1

 11/30/09: I’ve been a Christian for 18 years, longer if my first salvation prayer accessed the reservoir of eternal life from God’s free gift. Thing is, my whole Christian life has been plagued with doubt, mostly because I know my own shortcomings. But also due to comparing myself to other Christians I know. Over those 18 years, I've met some extraordinary Christian brothers and sisters…people who, quite honestly glowed in the dark. But I wondered, do they really know Jesus like they say they do? Some of these great people spoke of Jesus like I would speak  of a best friend--as if they had frequent, actual contact.

So, long story short, I wonder about this whole Knowing Jesus thing. How do we know God? I can’t see him, I can’t feel him, I can’t hear his voice—I know some good brothers and sisters seem to have more intimacy with him. I just don’t know. Are all these other people liars? Are they misinterpreting their experiences? Is knowing Jesus a psychosomatic phenomena? Or, can we actually know Jesus like our best friend? There has to be a difference in the relationship--He is God. He is invisible to us now. But I wonder, am I missing something still?

So, how can I know Jesus? I pray sometimes…not as often as I should. But sometimes, when I pray, I feel like a stranger looking around in a big empty house. Anyone there? Hello? My words seem to bounce off the ceiling.

I don’t blame God, though sometimes I’m arrogant enough to do so, but I still just don’t seem to get to know Him through prayer.

Well, there’s one place I’m confident his word exists: the Bible, esp. the gospels. So, I’m going to reread all of them, but with a different approach. I’m reading to get to know Jesus, and for no other reason. Lord God, I am a broken, messed up, confused, and sinful man. If you may be known, let me know you. And please know me and remember me when I die and stand before God. I would wither without you. Amen.

Official disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert in Biblical matters. My theology might be stronger than some, weaker than others. I'm not attempting to teach anything to anyone. I'm just hoping to share the experience of getting to know Jesus. I welcome all feedback.

Matthew 3: 13-17

The Baptism of Jesus
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

15Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

This is the first scene in the NT where Jesus comes before the camera and speaks. John has been waiting for the Messiah, waiting for Jesus to come, but not waiting to baptize Jesus. John knows just who this is, he’s already reckoned himself unfit to tie Jesus’ sandals. John was blown away by Jesus coming to be baptized. In fact, John tried to deter Jesus. His motives were pure, but he was objecting to something he didn’t understand. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? How many criticisms of God are just that way? How many times have I growled at God as if there’s one thing in this universe I might actually know better than the Almighty?

But this isn’t about me. Back to Jesus. How does the Messiah, God in the flesh, respond to John? Gently, but with clear perspective. Let it be so now; it is proper—ie: in God’s plan, this is the right thing to do and will “fulfill all righteousness.” To John, it’s preposterous that he, a mere man, should baptize the Lord. But to Jesus, it was just as it should be. From this passage I get to know Jesus a little bit; I get a foggy window into His mind. Even from the beginning, Jesus had the plans of God on His mind.