He Spoke My Name

On Good Friday, I had the honor of participating in our church’s service by performing a poem that I wrote.  It was really an awesome experience so I thought that I would share the poem with you.  It’s based on the Biblical text from The Gospel of Luke chapter 22.  I could write pages and pages explaining it, but I think I would rather just let the poem speak for itself.  If you have any questions about the poem and what it means, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to talk to you about it and what it has meant in my life.

 

He Spoke My Name

I’ve searched through the books but I simply can’t find
A king who would put his own kingship behind
A god who’d leave Heaven and life so divine
A lord who would give up his own life for mine.
A champion who’d willingly forfeit the game
A star who would simply walk away from the fame.
But Jesus surrendered renown and acclaim
And decided to carry my guilt and my shame
My sins were forgiven and my debt fully paid
In the moment the angel just whispered my name.

As Jesus sought God down upon bended knee
Praying there in the Garden of Gethsemene.
He lifted his voice and he raised up his plea.
Said,”Dear father please take off this burden from me.”

His sweat turned to blood as anxiety consumed him.
For this was the reason that he became human.
And now for the first time he questioned his mission.
Could he endure dying by cruel crucifiction?
It would have to be his choice, be of his own volition.
To accept this brutality had to be his decision.

He did not want to do it and that much is clear.
With his sweat pouring down his face mingling with tears.
Then an angel descended and spoke in his ear.
Said exactly the words Jesus needed to hear.

What did he say that could change Jesus’ mind?
From “please take this cup” to “not my will but thine.”
What could the angel have possibly voiced
To make Jesus determined and resolved in his choice?
I don’t think it was much, no huge speech to proclaim
I think that the angel merely whispered my name.

Now here is the part that I haven’t got figured
Is how it was my name the angel had whispered.
But he also spoke your name and your name and yours
And the name of all others who’ve come on before us.
And this is the beauty that’s found in the mystery
And so it’s been pondered throughout human history.
How He died for the world and all humanity
But he also died only for you and for me.
And how God saved the world when He sent us His son
But He still would have sent Him to save only one.

I’ve searched through the books but I simply can’t find
A king who would put his own kingship behind
A god who’d leave Heaven and life so divine
A lord who would give up his own life for mine.
A champion who’d willingly forfeit the game
A star who would simply walk away from the fame.
But Jesus surrendered renown and acclaim
And decided to carry my guilt and my shame
My sins were forgiven and my debt fully paid
In the moment the angel just whispered my name.

  Again, if the poem doesn’t make sense to you please contact me to ask me about it.  I would love to explain it.  If you enjoyed the poem and would like email updates whenever I post something new, please follow the blog by clicking on the link it the right hand corner of your screen.  Thanks.

Angelic Wonderings

I wonder if angels grow old and die?
And if they do then at their funeral do the other angels cry?
Do they question God and wonder why?

Another thing I’d really like to know
Is if they’re living up in heaven then after death where do they go?
Would the afterlife simply be the status quo?

I wonder if any angels are scared of flight.
And do any of the angels have trouble falling asleep at night?
Do angels wake up with the morning light?

Can the angels travel through space?
And if they can do they go to Saturn just to get far from this place?
Do they wish that they could stay away?

I wonder if they’re sick of this whole Earth bit.
And I wonder if the angels ever wonder if we’re worth it?
Of protection do they think that we’re unfit?

Have they grown accustomed to wars or
I wonder if angels suffer post traumatic stress disorder?
Do they feel they’re always being ignored?

To the angels do we make any sense?
And do the angels know some demons who at one time were their friends?
Are any angels still sitting on the fence?

Do sunsets look as stunning from above?
And has there ever been a time an angel and demon fell in love?
Is she the one that he’s still dreaming of?

I wonder if angels ever have fun.
And did the angels shake their heads when humans first produced a gun?
Do they celebrate or weep when each battle’s done?

Would an angel die in a nuclear blast?
Will I ever know the answers to these questions that I’ve asked?
Will an angel be here with me til my last?

I wonder if there are questions that I’ve missed.
Oh yeah, sometimes I even wonder if angels actually exist.

 

 

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25 Bible Jokes

I decided to combine my love of dad jokes with my love of Jesus and write some jokes based (loosely) on the Bible.  Some of them are really bad.  Be ye warned.

Why didn’t Joseph wear a necktie?  He always wore a coat of mini collars

What did Jesus say to the Mexican Jumping Beans?  Peas! Be still.

Why was Peter’s writing so lyrical?  When he was in prison, he was bound with Two Chainz.

Why don’t Jamaican Christians cut wood?  Their pastor says that God is one but He be made of tree parts. (Read in a Jamaican accent or it doesn’t make sense…it might still not make sense.)

Why did Moses want the Chief Wahoo logo gone?  He was always partial to the Red C.

What did Jesus say when T got too close to V?  I’m going to prepare a place for U.

What did Jesus say to the acorns that fell too fast?  Have faith and just be leaves.

Why did the disciples quit Black Lives Matter in the Garden of Gethsemane? They couldn’t stay woke,

Why did everyone think Jesus was a big gambler?  He was always talking about a pair a dice.

Why are beans the holiest vegetable? Jesus said “Blessed are the peas makers.”

Why did 3 John put pants on Jude?  He didn’t want any more Revelations.

When did Jesus get involved in the NBA? When he stopped James and John from fixing the Nets. (No wonder they’re so bad each year)

What would Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob name their football team? The New England Patriarchs.

What does Mike Tyson think is the hottest underwear in the Bible?  The Thong of Tholomon.

What did Festus say when Paul asked to go to Caesar? “Seize her? I didn’t even think you knew her!”

What did Jonah say when the fish asked if he wanted to be spit out? “Yes! For shore!”

When are bartenders mentioned in the Bible? When Jesus said “Blessed are the pouring spirits.”

Why did Jezebel want Naboth’s Vineyard so bad?  She thought it was just grapes.

Why do Christians drink soy protein? They believe Jesus is the only whey.

Why was everyone so happy that Saul missed when he threw the spear at David? If he had hit him, I’d could have been truly harp breaking.

What did Mary say when Jesus’ room was messy? “What were you, born in a stable?”

What is Jonah’s favorite spot in Jerusalem? The whaling wall.

Why wasn’t Noah good at math? He could only count two by two.

Why did Solomon have to be so smart? To remember all his anniversaries.

Why do Christians eat so much cheese? Jesus was always talking about having a grater love.

 

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Interview with Doris Zigler – Jesus Prom Organizer

One of my favorite and most worthwhile nights every single year is a night called Jesus Prom.  It’s a really cool event hosted by Northside Christian Church in Wadsworth, Ohio that I am proud to call my home church.  Today, I sat down with Doris Zigler, the event organizer and spoke with her about the event; what it is, and how much it means to many people.  Here is a transcript of that interview.

I’m here with Doris Zigler, one of the organizers for Jesus Prom. How long have you been involved with Jesus Prom?

Since the beginning when Seth Amerine was here and got it all started.

What exactly is your role with Jesus Prom?

I guess I’m the leader of all the leaders.I just keep things organized, plan the meetings, make sure everything is where it’s supposed to be, and answer questions.

Has that always been your role since the beginning?

Well I’ve done several things. The first year, I led the decorations team and then the next two years, I did hospitality. Those were the three years that Seth was here. He started looking for someone that third year to take it over for him since he knew that he was going to be leaving. He asked me that third year if I would interested in this. So for the last three years, I’ve been doing this.

If someone who had no idea what Jesus Prom was asked you what it was, what would you tell them?

Well, it’s a night where our church just celebrates and parties with people with special needs. It’s all about them. Everything we plan, we plan for them. It’s to give them a night to just be themselves and be free to wander and do what they want to do in a safe environment. It’s a good time for our church family to be around others who aren’t just like them and to come out of their comfort zone and meet somebody new.

So can you just describe what the night is? Like take us through the night as if you were a guest or a guide. How does the night go?

When they come in the front doors they are met with a group of people who are clapping for them and cheering for them and welcoming them. There is a red carpet spread out for them. This year they will be directed to an announcer who is going to announce them and their guides name. Then their guide will step forward out of the group and come and get them and help them to sign in at the hospitality table and then for the rest of the evening they will be free to do anything they want to do. We’re doing something different with the banquet this year. Instead of having everyone eat at the same time, there is going to be staggered times. So when they come in if they want to eat right away they can go see if the table is ready. If there are no tables ready, we’ll kind of do it like a restaurant. We’ll write their names down and how many is in their party and they can check back in. We’ve outgrown our banquet hall. So we decided to do this so that we could accommodate more people.

Speaking of that, How many guests do we have this year?

Today we have 176 signed up and we’ve decided that we are going to cap it at 200. So we have room for 24 more because not only is that 24 guests but it’s also parents and caregivers. So right now we’re at like 319 dinners.

Do you have anything for the parents and caregivers throughout the night?

Yes, if someone is in a condition where they need constant care and looking after, some of the parents who are caregivers will stay with them and eat with the in the banquet hall. We ask that there only be one so that we can accommodate more guests. The rest of the overflow go upstairs to the youth rooms upstairs and they set up tables up there. When they are done with the buffet, they can go next door amd we have a chiropractor that comes and does neck and shoulder massage for the parents. We have a nice relaxing meal upstairs for them away from the chaos downstairs.

How are we doing on volunteers?

We need a lot more volunteers. The smaller teams fill up. The kitchen team, servers, and paparazzi. But what we really need are guides. As of today, we probably need about 100 more guides.

What’s your favorite part of the whole thing?

Well, I love it all, but when they start walking in on the red carpet, I just cry. When they are all waiting in the parking and we go to open the doors, all the car doors fly open because they just can’t wait to get in here. And you can see them just rushing up here with the smiles on their faces. Some of them just love that red carpet because they can just dance and show off.
So one thing that I love about Jesus Prom is just how much the church comes together, especially inter-generationally. Have you noticed this and can you talk about it a little bit?

Yes, even just within the planning teams. We have 18 different teams and each one has their own leader. And we’re all different ages, men, women, a mixed group. And we probably wouldn’t have become as good friends as we are in any other setting because we all would go to a certain class or group on Sunday and they’re all based on age or whether you have children or not but yeah, I see that in all the teams. There’s older people and younger people and they all work together so well.

That’s awesome. As a high school leader in the church, I love Jesus Prom because we can tell our high schoolers that this is a way that you can be involved in the church and actually be the church. Have a lot of high school kids signed up this year?

Yes! Quite a few. I think that sometimes they wait til the last minute. It seems that November is forever away.

How many man hours would you estimate go into planning Jesus Prom throughout the year? Not just the night of but all year?

Oh golly. I don’t even know. I know how many I put into it. I would say probably 500 throughout the year. I know each team leader does their own thing like decorations meet throughout the year to plan and make the decorations.

So 500 is a conservative estimate?

Yes

So minimum 500 hours planning to go into a 3 hour event. Do you think it’s worth it?

Yes.

Why?

Because it just brings so much joy. You see the result of it. People who have never been to Northside before. Every time I see one of our special needs guests come forward to get baptized I just think that happened just because of a party. You know God can do amazing things in all situations. I think it’s also good for the parents to be loved on upstairs. Having a brother-in-law and sister-in-law that deal with this on a daily basis, I know that as much as they love their son, they get tired. I mean his constant energy and not being able to fully communicate with them. This night is a good night for them to be able to talk to other parents that are going through some of the same challenges.

What options are there for people still wanting to volunteer?

Well guide is the big thing. There are also still a lot of openings for people wanting to help decorate the building. Or people wanting to help with passing out the dresses that we’ve collected for the girls. There’s just two people signed up right now to do that. People are coming in on Thursday night to set up the tables and chairs and then that same group is going to put the tables and chairs away on Friday night since they already know where everything goes.

So the big need is for guides. Can you describe that job a little bit?

It is just being with the person and letting them do what they want and making sure that they’re safe. Some of them want to communicate more than others. You just let them lead the way. You tell them what’s available. Really the guide just needs to make sure that they get their picture taken and that they eat.

Some people might be hesitant to sign up to volunteer because working with special needs individuals can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to it. What would you say to someone who feels hesitant in that way?

I would say that if you haven’t been to Jesus Prom and you are uncomfortable with the whole idea, the first year you should come and just go to the karaoke room. You don’t have to really communicate with anyone, you just come and cheer for them. Or come and just walk through the hallway during the night and I think you’ll realize that it’s not nearly as difficult as you thought it was.

 

 

A huge thanks to Doris for her time to sit down and talk with me about Jesus Prom this year and for her time throughout the year planning it.  As she said, Northside still needs a lot of volunteers for this.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a member at Northside or have never set foot in the door.  If you want to do something to help someone else out and bring joy into their lives, please sign up as a volunteer.  Go here to sign up or just to find out more about it.  I can guarantee you won’t regret it.  As always, thank you for reading.  Please take the time to click on the link in the lower right hand corner of your screen to follow the blog.

Your Love Defends Me

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to do something that was way outside my comfort zone.  I stood up and read one of my poems as part of a special Sunday night worship service at our church.  It was something that I had never done before and I was legitimately pretty terrified.  It was really putting myself out there.  However, I found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in worship and one in which I feel I grew as a writer, speaker, Christian, and person in general.

The topic of the poem was answering the question of whether or not Jesus is still relevant in our day to day lives.  I wrote it to lead into the song “Your Love Defends Me,” by Matt Maher.  So, if you’re reading this and you are a Christian, then read it as an encouragement that Jesus can be relevant in your life today.  If you’re reading this and you’re not a Christian, then try to come at it with an open mind and just appreciate the poetry and come to a deeper understanding of something that Christians believe.

Also, since this poem was written to be performed, not necessarily read, the rhythm and meter is a little bit quirky at times.  If you want to hear the song that this poem preceded, go to this link to find it.  I hope you enjoy this poem and come away with some kind of deeper under standing or enlightenment.

Who is Jesus? That’s a topic for deliberation.
I know that whenever it comes up in conversation.
There’s usually some kind of confrontation
It’s a question that can bring a lot of consternation.
But I think the issue that causes much of the strife
Is not who He is but what is His role in our life.
I mean is He still alive and active? Is He relevant?
Or are we talking and singing these songs just for the hell of it?
And when I say hell of it a pun is definitely intended
Because most of us see His role as just a ticket to get to Heaven.
But today I would really like to lay before you
Three ways that Jesus can be so much more to you.

First, Jesus can be a source of motivation
He increases our hearts’ emotions call it cardiac inflammation.
Jesus gives to our lives a meaning and a mission.
He places in our hearts a more extensive conviction
And sends us to go far outside our comfort zone
To do things that we never would dream to do on our own.
He might send you off to Africa to teach kids how to read
Or you might stay here with Agape or Jesus Prom and serve those with special needs.
He might send you to share His love and grace with your neighbor down the road
Or you may end up in Piedras Negras even though tu no hablas espanol.
You could help somebody clean their gutters by getting on a ladder
Or fight against racial injustice by joining a group like Black Lives Matter.
Either way my point is that we get comfortable and, now don’t call me crazy
That comfort causes us in truth to become a little lazy.
So, the first way Jesus has a function in our day to day
Is He gives our lives a purpose and He sends us on our way.

Part two
Some people say that Christians have completely lost their touch
They say this Jesus guy is nothing more than a simple crutch
What comes into my mind whenever words like these are spoken
Is that it seems like you just haven’t yet had your legs been broken.
And that’s awesome I mean please please don’t get me wrong
But I’ve found in life that eventually it simply won’t be long.
I haven’t lived that long but I’ve seen enough of this world in which we’re living
To look down at my cards and know it’s a loaded hand we’re given
See the history of the world begins in Genesis chapter One
Where we find God’s plan for how He wanted creation to be run
He created and it was good and that’s how it’s intended to be
Problem is, if you keep on reading that you’ll get to Genesis Three.
Where we come to the entrance of a little thing that we call sin.
And it corrupts the entire Earth and everything we find therein.
And everyone’s got a chapter full of dark and dismal days
The pain of them still lingers even though you’ve turned the pages.
And thinking we can heal ourselves is how the devil tricks us
When Jesus love is the only thing on Earth that can truly fix us.
So the second way that Jesus Love can be real to us today
Is that he has the ability to heal us from our pain.

Part Three
We’re in a battle and this whole world’s the battleground
Satan’s stationed at the center with his forces gathered round.
He’s got demons of depression, addiction, anxiety
And pressure to look perfect placed on us by society.
Hatred and bigotry
Lust and pornography
Christians fighting Christians just because of greed and jealousy.
He’s used these for millenia his tactics are tried and true
And if we ever solved them he’d just switch to something new.
See he’s got the human weaknesses all spelled out to the letter
We’ve been fighting them for years and believe me it’s not getting better.
No way on Earth can we protect ourselves from his attacks
He doesn’t fight a fair fight he’ll just stab us in our backs.
The problem is our thinking that we have to fight alone
We wander into battle just to struggle on our own.
But Jesus already won this war, he’s beaten Satan’s armies
When he is fighting for us there is nothing that can harm us.
So the third thing Jesus does to help us out along the way
Is he gladly comes to join us as we march into the fray.

So I hope tonight these words have helped to clear up some confusion
Of Jesus’ role today so let me say that in conclusion
We all get lazy so we need his love to send us.
We’re all broken so we need his love to mend us.
We’re all helpless so we need him to defend us.
His love defends us.

 

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