Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here we go

I leave on Friday for a tour with Mercy Me. I will be the tech for drums, bass, and keys, as well as setting up drums and bass gear for the tour openers.

It's the best thing to happen to our family in a couple of years, as we really need the income. However, you can imagine how hard it will be for us. Adisen and Maddox are older now, so the absence will be harder on them. I think, however, they will move on quickly and settle into their routine, with only occasional sad moments. Asher is just old enough to start noticing when Amanda (mainly) or I have been away for the afternoon or so. My hope is that he will stay as fond of me as he has been.

We will use every technology we have access to, to stay in touch. We both have iPhones with skype and facetime, and Mac's and an iPad too. We have no reason to not see each other's faces constantly.

Pray for us, as our family is apart, and that we'll use this time to get out of a financial hole we've been in for months. (if not years).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Battling Irresolution

If you know me at all, you know that I'm usually the anti-trend. If something is the "thing to do," I'm out. Or at least I take pride in not joining in, then slide into the trend in a nonchalant manner, hoping no one will notice.

But at this stage of my life, I absolutely must make a resolution (or many). I can't bring myself to call it a New Year's resolution, but it's really more of a life resolution. Let's call it a non-irresolution.

I've dwelled on my own thoughts, dreams, disappointments, failures for so long, that it's consumed me. Even if I knew what thing-job-mission-gig would make me happy, I'm not sure I would move on it. Actually, I think that's the reason I've passed on opportunities, given up jobs, and failed to perform to expectations with my current roles. The dissatisfaction has been so strong, almost consuming. But I've come to realize this... it's a cancer.

It's compounding natural grief or disappointment. Sure, we all "get it." -- I'm not slow, I get it too. I just never realized it was truly going on. We all justify our grumbles, right?

So my non-irresolution is to seek God's goodness in my life, and where it exists all around. This is not something that will happen overnight. I've made quite a self-loathing home for myself. But with grace, comes restoration.

Just typing these words is like a weight lifted. Please pray and journey with me. Thanks

Matt

Thursday, December 30, 2010

let's love everyone? how controversial!

I wish I could say that I wasn't surprised by the response to Derek Webb's interview in the Huffington Post; that I knew he was being subversive or saying provocative things, and that he's asking for trouble. I wish I could say that he was asking for it.

But that's not the case. I was taken off guard by the criticism. Is it really that "inflammatory" as one person called it? What's so inflammatory about loving people ABOVE their current faith status? Are you really going to preach that Jesus meets us where you are, and refuse to meet people where they are, as Jesus would?

The interview was called a "dangerously anti-Christian, anti-Gospel, let's-love-everybody worldview" by @mississippimama on twitter. When it's actually closer to the gospel than most would think. When someone, even an artist, puts love/relationships/understanding above religious ideology, what does that mean? Most of Derek's critics obviously believe that this makes your faith weak, that you've compromised God's standard for the sake of being accepted by the world. I say, your faith is stronger, because you know that God's "got this," and you can concentrate on loving, building relationships, and understanding those around you, knowing their heart. How are you honoring Jesus by grasping your bible and saying, "God's word says homosexuality is wrong," when you have not loved your neighbor AS YOURSELF. This is why Derek would say, "Christians can stop pretending that they're so different." This may get you worked up, but you know it in your heart to be true. But if this is how we respond, we need to stop pointing that self-righteous finger and look within. Does a faith in God prevent you from loving some people, and finding common ground with them? Trust me, I have way more in common with a struggling individual, than a supposed righteous one.

Now, we can argue alot of doctrinal points, but that would only prove the point of self-righteousness. The greater point is this, you're putting the Church above the King(dom).

Frank Turk said this:
"To that end, Jesus died to make the believers into the Church, right? Jesus didn't die so that we can make a moral equation up which makes Islam and Hinduism and Judaism and then the social/religious agnostics who come 'round about Him as "believers" into a happy mixed family. Jesus died so that the believers can be called out from death into life, and called out from the world to the household of God, and called out of sin and into salvation."

Really? Jesus died to complete a work that began centuries earlier, that which Isreal had longed for. But he began a new work, the work of redeeming the rest of mankind THROUGH the church. He didn't die to call us out of the world, but breathe his life into us, and then for us to go into all nations... Frank's statement makes so much of us (the church), and so little of everyone else. Everyone.

Regardless of your belief of unconditional election, his statements are bloated and dangerously conceited. He goes on to say that "making allowance for the sins of others so that we can "love them" is unloving because it is spiritually deadly. It completely squashes the actual Gospel in place of a new kind of legalism... we are in fact seeking out all the ways we can allow all the things we ought not to do. It's a legalism of tolerance."

Loving someone unconditionally is not allowing the things we ought not do; we have no control over the actions of others. It's saying, "my love, God's love, is greater than your struggle, circumstance, or beliefs."

One of my biggest principles for years has been this... How can we hold a non-believer to a believer's standard? If they are not in Christ, what does it matter if they give up a sinful action? Do you expect someone to find Jesus because you brought to their attention that God doesn't approve of their lifestyle, and they better repent? Love God, Love your neighbor as yourself. Why are we not getting this?

The exaltation of social justice above the Kingdom, is no more or less dangerous than exalting the church above the King. It's true that we all need to check ourselves.

As for theologians sitting comfortably in your knowledge - Your arrogant faith may get you into heaven, but you're missing it all around you down here.





Love God, Love All, repeat as necessary.

Monday, December 6, 2010

what's it gonna take?

Pretty much every day, I think of what I aspire to do, as though it's off in the distance. Playing music for a living would be nice, but there's little chance something will materialize for a 31 year old who can't keep up with the 20-something prodigies (who will work practically for free). That ship may have sailed.

But that's not really what I think about nearly every day. Actually, I reminisce about a young worship leader in 1999 who found the purpose for his God-given talent. To lead in corporate worship, and to create unique musical platforms to do so. Getting out from behind the kit was a slow transition, and I didn't have the chops to be a famous worship writer or singer, but I had something. Perhaps just the perspective of one who didn't really like what church and "worship" had become. Everything had lead to this. Everything.

The story from 1999 to 2010 is for another day. But I'll say this: whatever blame I can place on poor church leaders or missed opportunities, there's 10-fold blame for me. I've "let myself go" in more ways than just weight gain. I've let my longing for acceptance by others dissipate my true calling. I've accepted the more "sure" thing (which is a delusion) instead of taking risks on what I know I'm capable of.

What's it gonna take to hold my own head up and be who I was meant to be. a man who is not here to watch SO MANY around me achieve their dreams, while dismissing my own. Often helping them achieve it. I have so many things to get "straight" in my life. Where to start? Probably running headstrong into Christ and begging for that purpose again...

... cause currently I feel nothing.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

there's only one way home




So... I embarked yesterday on a 2-week tour with my pals from The Gracious Few. Sadly, I will miss 2 full weekends at Ecclesia, during Advent, no less. Much of what brought me to Houston is exemplified in how this church approaches Christmas. It has truly changed my life and perception of Jesus and his church. So, it is difficult to be away during this time. (not to mention 2 beautiful kids and a pregnant wife at home, holding her own).

When I started this line of work in May 2006, it was definitely a temporary gig. I mean, I had 2 young kids and a wife at home, a good job, and played music with some amazing musicians (India, r.i.p.). But alas, I would come to discover a talent for tech-ing, and possibilities for a bright career in such a not-so-bright industry.

To elaborate, the years have brought many travels, flights, miles, load-ins, load-outs, bruises, busted knuckles, easy gigs, hard gigs, no-sleep-til-brooklyn gigs, failures, and successes. But, although I didn't realize the significance while it was happening, I WOULDN'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING. I have sort-of "found myself" through doing this work, and seeing much of the world that I otherwise wouldn't have. The experiences have shaped not only who I've become, but in a weird way, what I've been all along. Let me explain...

I was destined for the unusual, non-ordinary way of life. I've always felt that way, but never knew how it would play out. I was an only child, so my imagination would run wild, but mainly in a self-assuring "stay sane" kind of way. As a kid, I would imagine a movie being made about my life. Not that I had achieved some level of celebrity, but rather that my obscure life had been discovered to be extraordinary compared to most. Strange, I know, but it was not out of vanity, but out of protection. More on that in future posts.

My life started out a little dramatic and unique, but by college it had mainly tempered down to the usual. I've lived out the last 12 years mostly like everyone else. In a way, it's what I always wanted: security, love, picket-fenced yard (not really). But I've realized that this hasn't served me, my wife, or my kids very well. Where's the risk? And in turn... reward? Where's the life that causes ripples in the world around me? The life that teaches my kids to live radically, for the benefit of those around them? When did I become so play-it-safe that I attempt NOTHING that would bring joy to myself or others? (more about my negative-nancy nature in future posts)

So, all movie deals aside, traveling and viewing the world through my eyes has been interesting to say the least. I find the most obscure things, extraordinary; and the least interesting things, the most interesting. I've sat on a street-side bench in Rotterdam, Holland on a snowy day, and wondered how many times snow has covered that bench, how many times a bicycle has been chained to in, how many people have sat at the bench and wondered how long the bench had been there (answer to the last one: only me). I will watch snow out the bus window in the Pacific Northwest and wonder what the pioneer spirit was REALLY like. How did people end up in this particular area to settle? What made them stay?

There's few other times that I feel connected with my purpose(s) than when I'm traveling. It's both therapeutic and inspiring. It renews my creative spirit (one that's been m.i.a. for a few years). I hope to elaborate on this in the days to come. I feel that there's a journey starting that I haven't planned, but has been coming for some time. And frankly... I need it.

Stand by.....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pictures You Paint - by India

one of my proudest moments...

video

India was:
Chris Latimer - vocals, guitar
Nathan Miller - guitar, vocals
Kory Olson - bass, vocals
Matt Outlaw - drums
partners in crime:
Timothy Jordan - guitar, keys
Andy Greenfield - bass
Rueben Cox - guitar
Cory Nelson - bass, keys
Justin Alexander - drums

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

i need thee every hour

Turns out, I can't really do ANYTHING good. This is a "truth" I've known for years. We have no pure motives, we're not capable. Even our greatest intentions have a selfish lining, some hope that we will be appreciated or loved, or (sometimes) receive something in return.

So that's it, right? We can do no good, we're selfish fallen creatures. This is partly true when it comes to our view of God (and our approach to him). But there's something else....

We've been given the capacity to love. Sure, our love is often selfish and contrived. But there are other times that we are moved with compassion for someone else. Broken by their loss or situation. Moved and inspired by their courage, to find a courage of our own. At our best moments, we give of ourselves... we sacrifice. It's what makes men great. We are most proud and alive when we do something that is for the good of another... knowing that we have everything to lose, but seeing the glimmer of hope that comes from loving someone more than ourselves or our desires.

So this has to be the greatest evidence of our capacity to do good, right? I mean, if it were true that we're all in it for ourselves, the human race would've died long ago. There's no way to sustain a dog-eat-dog society. There's an overwhelming evidence of compassion and love in our culture, and that's what keeps us moving.

My point is this... the good that we do doesn't come from nowhere. It's in us. As though we were made for it. Doesn't matter who you are, or how angry/hurt/burned/pissed you are, you'll find your best moment when you're laying down your life for a friend (or foe). What we need to do is build each other up to be the ESSENCE of that "best moment". Embrace compassion and battle misfortune, with justice for wrongdoing, and advocacy for those done wrong.

Sure, you know me. I'm the most negative, cynical person you probably know. And I'm aware. But don't misunderstand... I don't mean put on a happy face, and be positive and encouraging. That's often BS. I mean GET YOUR HANDS dirty and be IN THE MOMENT. Always aware of the injustices around you, often someone stepping on another for personal pride or gain. Sure, reach out your hand to the broken, but don't spare the fist to the oppressor.

As for me, my disdain for the proud has made me ignore the need. My disgust for the political compassionate has rendered me useless to help those that are TRULY doing something, and not just patting themselves on the back for a good intention.

May I find the heart of God on my own heart, may I join the hands of the heroes that are rescuing. May I show myself approved of the grace given me, for it is much.