Showing posts from 2012

A Crooked Watch

This morning I had the pleasure of sharing an early morning meal with an old friend. It was so early in fact, that the sun wasn't even up. Thankfully, my watches hands glow in the dark. I was fairly confident I had plenty of time to get dressed and out the door for my 6:30 appointment. However, I had a bit of a freak out moment right before I left. I checked my watch and it read 7:00! How had an entire hour passed while I tied my shoes? The problem wasn't the time, but the way I was holding my watch. The hands looked like 7:00, but it was actually 5:55, which looks remarkably like 7:00 when you only see the hands and a few dots for the hours. Once I properly aligned my wrist, everything was right with the world. I was able to show up early for breakfast and enjoyed a great time catching up with a long time brother in Christ. Perspective is so important in life. I find myself getting overly concerned with things when I'm not lined up properly. Just as my wrist needed

Wind-Up Wednesday: "How to Talk to Girls"

Wind-Up Wednesday: How to Talk to Girls All you ever needed to know about getting a girl...

Santa vs. Jesus... in School?

After my daughter's last day of preschool, she informed me that she was a little afraid heading into Christmas. When I asked her why, she responded by saying she was scared she would be on the naughty list and that Santa was watching her all the time to see if she was good. I was a little surprised to hear this. She went on to tell me that her teacher told her that Santa was real and would be keeping an eye on her. I'm not writing this to judge how you do the whole Santa thing in your home, but we have already told all our kids that Santa is just pretend, like Dora or the Backyardigans. Yes, he was a person a long time ago, but not like in the movies. They've taken this information in stride and we haven't had any real problems with it. But now I had a dilemma. I had the uncomfortable task of telling my child that her teacher was wrong, a thing I don't like to do. This brings up the larger issue of the true meaning of Christmas and how it is taught. It bothers

Sunday Singables: "In the First Light"

Each Sunday of Advent I'll be featuring a different Christmas song we use in our worship. Hopefully, you'll be introduced to some new and engaging songs that will bring freshness to your personal and corporate worship. (12.2 - O Sing a Song of Bethlehem / 12.9 - Christ the Lord is Born Today / 12.16 - When He Comes / 12.23 - In the First Light ) "In the First Light"  written by Bob Kauflin (1988), arranged by Todd Agnew, released on Do You See What I See (2006) Why I recommend this song for worship- This is another wonderful Christmas song which emphasizes the importance of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. As it examines Christ's first coming, it points us forward to His return, blending In the First Light  with Do You See What I See?  in a wonderful way. We performed this song in both our Christmas concert and morning worship service. While the melody may be difficult at first for congregational singing, the message is worth the effort. It

Family Gifts: O Holy Night

Each Christmas our family puts together a little compilation video of the events from the past year. Some years there is a ton of footage to sort through. In the past few days I think I've sorted through over 300 short little videos to find the best for our little video. One thing I love about doing this is remembering how much I love my family and the rich heritage we have. So many of our traditions, from Hanukkah to singing crazy Happy Birthday songs, are inherited from our family. I am so grateful for these gifts even as I'm grateful for the ones who gave them. One of the most precious gifts I've been given from my family is my love and talent for music. My father is the especially talented one in the group. Last week my mom sent me an old recording of him singing "O Holy Night" from our days back at Grace Community Church in California. I have to say, of all the singers that attempt to sing this song, I love my dad's voice the best. Take a listen, an

Wind-Up Wednesday: "Hallelujah" and FIF

Wind-Up Wednesday: "Hallelujah" from The Voice   and a FIF Christmas This past week I've enjoyed the many tributes to those who lost their lives in the tragic CT shooting. The one from The Voice this past week is one of my favorites: As Christmas is quickly approaching, here is my favorite Christmas morning song. We play this every year to get the kids out of bed. I hope you enjoy it, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday Singables: "When He Comes"

Each Sunday of Advent I'll be featuring a different Christmas song we use in our worship. Hopefully, you'll be introduced to some new and engaging songs that will bring freshness to your personal and corporate worship. (12.2 - O Sing a Song of Bethlehem / 12.9 - Christ the Lord is Born Today / 12.16 - When He Comes / 12.23 - In the First Light ) "When He Comes" by Joshua Huff (2012) (this is a live recording, performed at our annual Christmas concert by my wife Moriah and myself  in December, 2012) Why I recommend this song for worship- I love the Christmas season. Each year we celebrate one of the most significant events in recorded history, but it isn't the most significant. In fact, it is really Christ's life, death, and resurrection which bring importance to His birth. What I've tried to do with this song is capture the complete scope of Christ's coming. It begins with looking forward from the perspective of an Old Testament saint,

When Children Die

"A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more." - Jeremiah 31:15 quoted in Matthew 2:18 This is a troubling passage; troubling not because it is hard to understand, but troubling because of the story it's attached to. This passage finds its fulfillment in the slaughter of little baby boys, killed by a tyrant king who felt his rule was threatened. He was trying to kill Christ, who was recently born, but failed in that attempt as God provided a way of escape. We could just as easily speak these words today, after another tragic slaughter of young children. It didn't happen a long time ago or very far away. This was very near, in our own country. This morning, in a Connecticut elementary school, a son went into his mother's kindergarten class while she was teaching and killed everyone in the room, leaving 27 dead, 20 of them children. ( story here )

Wind-Up Wednesday: Hanukkah Fun!

It is the fifth day of Hanukkah, so I thought I'd post a couple fun videos from my favorite Jewish a capella group, the Maccabeats. I posted one of these last week, but it's worth another look. Enjoy!

Sunday Singables: "Christ the Lord is Born Today"

Each Sunday of Advent I'll be featuring a different Christmas song we use in our worship. Hopefully, you'll be introduced to some new and engaging songs that will bring freshness to your personal and corporate worship. ( 12.2 - O Sing a Song of Bethlehem / 12.9 - Christ the Lord is Born Today / 12.16 - When He Comes / 12.23 - In the First Light ) "Christ the Lord is Born Today" by Mark Altrogge, released on Sovereign Grace 's album  Savior  (2006) Why I recommend this song for worship- Christmas is a time of celebration and thanksgiving, but what do we celebrate? Is it simply a huge birthday celebration for Jesus? What we really celebrate is the reason why Jesus was born, to become a Savior for all who are in Him. This song celebrates exactly that. It refers us back to the Old Testament prophecies of Christ's coming as well as the New Testament truths of what Christ accomplished after His birth. The melody behind these great lyrics is joyful and u

On the first night of Hanukkah...

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. Are you excited? Did you even know it was happening? For most people, Hanukkah is just another holiday celebrated in December. It really doesn't have anything to do with Christmas, but because it is close to that day it usually gets lumped together with all the "Happy Holidays" holidays. Maybe you didn't know this, but I am ethnically Jewish and have a wonderful heritage from my mother of celebrating some of the Jewish holidays. Hanukkah is one of these. We don't do much, but we do light our menorah and tell the story to our kids so they'll remember part of their heritage as well. I could blog all about the amazing things done by the Maccabees and how they defeated the mighty Greek invaders and how God miraculously provided oil in the temple lamps after that battle for eight nights. However, I think I'll let these guys do it...

A Song and a Sunrise

This morning I couldn't sleep. I guess there was just too much on my mind. So, I decided to get my workout in early. On my way back from that I had a chance to see the sunrise. It was beautiful and reminded me of so many of the Psalms that speak of the beauty of God's creation. Here is one of my favorites, Psalm 19, with a little music I put together and the Psalm itself for you to read. I hope you are encouraged. Psalm 19 The Law of the Lord Is Perfect 1   To the choirmaster . A Psalm of David .  The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. 3  There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. 4   Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5   which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with j

Wind-up Wednesday: Malkovich "Night Before Christmas"

Maybe you're familiar with the children's story 'Twas the Night Before Christmas . No one reads it quite like John Malkovich.

Bells, Angels, and Mistletoe

We are finally into December! That means less than a month until Christmas. In our house, December means decorating everything with lights, garland, and bells. Bells mean a lot in our house. Yes, I know that angels get their wings whenever a bell rings, but we have other meanings in the Huff house. We have one attached to our mistletoe at the front door. Whoever rings that can expect a Christmas kiss (either romantic or a loud belly-blowing one). We have bells on our stairway, bells on the mantle, and bells on the tree. The more I hear these little bells ring I think of a song we'll be doing in our Christmas concert this year, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day . I've put the song to a little video if you'd like to check it out. Bells ringing in peace is not something we often think about. However, I think it is very appropriate. In the old days, the town herald would ring a bell to signal an important announcement. We have bells rung to celebrate a marriage or a gre

Sunday Singables: "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem"

Each Sunday of Advent I'll be featuring a different Christmas song we use in our worship. Hopefully, you'll be introduced to some new and engaging songs that will bring freshness to your personal and corporate worship.  ( 12.2 - O Sing a Song of Bethlehem  / 12.9 - Christ the Lord is Born Today / 12.16 - When He Comes / 12.23 - In the First Light ) "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem"  text by Louis Benson, melody by Lucy Broadwood and Ralph Vaughan Williams Alternative arrangement and lyrics-  "How Suddenly a Baby Cries" by Keith and Kristyn Getty , released on Joy: An Irish Christmas , 2011 (this is the Getty's arrangement which gets pretty upbeat at about 1:40 into the song) You can find this original hymn in most of the hymnals at church. It is number 167 in ours. I like both arrangements of this tune as each emphasize different elements. Why I recommend this song for worship- The hymn text of this song traces the life of Christ from the cr

Russian Fire Engines

Nothing too profound today; just a quote I came across while reading for one of my classes. It comes from Charles Strohmer's book The Gospel and the New Spirituality . At this point, he is illustrating an irrational way of thinking. He quotes Andre Kole as he writes: "Fire engines are red because they have two firemen. Two firemen have four feet. Three feet from four feet leaves one foot. One foot is a ruler. Queen Mary was a ruler. Queen Mary ruled the seven seas. The seven seas have fish. Fish have fins. The Finns were conquered by the Russians. Russians are red. Fire engines are always rushin'. And that's why fire engines are red." Yes, some of the references are a little dated, but I think the point is clear.

Wind-up Wednesday: Harry Carey and Space

I'm a big Chicago sports fan, but even if you aren't, surely you remember Harry Carey, or better yet, Will Ferrell's impression of him. Enjoy this bit of fun to get you started through the rest of your week. You'll have to click on the link inside the box to watch since they don't want it posted elsewhere. I hope you learn a lot.

Holiday Prophecy

As I've been reading through some of the books of prophecy in the Bible I have been struck with how similar our times are to those of ancient Israel. There is a common theme throughout these books of calling Israel to "Return to the Lord." Why have they walked away from God? Because they have grown complacent and forgetful in the midst of great prosperity and peace. There needs were all satisfied. Even their wants were satisfied. The generations that had fought for these blessings and had experienced the mighty deliverance of God were old or had passed on. Now, a new generation lived that expected this life of ease and prosperity to continue. They hadn't worked for these blessings and they certainly didn't see the need to keep working hard or to thank God for things they felt they deserved. Do you see yourself in that mirror? I sure do. It is easy to praise God when times are tough; when you don't know where the next paycheck is coming from, when your chil

Sunday Singables: "Romans Doxology"

"Romans Doxology" by John G. Elliot, released on When God is Praised  (2006), written in 1989, based on Romans 11:33-36 Click Here to listen to "Romans Doxology" by John Elliot This song is based on Romans 11:33-36 which is the doxology (short hymn of praise) Paul expresses after some rather difficult passages earlier in Romans. It isn't word for word, but it pretty accurately declares what Paul was writing about in this passage. Why I recommend this song for worship- Many churches conclude their services with a song of doxology. It can be difficult to keep this part of the service fresh if you constantly sing the traditional "Doxology" song found in most hymnals. You know the one: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below..." While I love that song and have even sung it with added verses, it is also good to sing other doxologies from scripture. This one, based on the doxology from Romans 11,

Thanksgiving Indigestion

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year. We had the privilege of having family over for a few days. Maybe that isn't such a privilege for you, but we are blessed with wonderful relationships across the bloodlines of siblings, in-laws, and everything in between. Our time together progressed in the typical American fashion. Family came in on Wednesday evening. We talked and played a game or two, all the while preparing for the big meal the next day. Thanksgiving morning dawned with delicious "sticky-buns" dripping with sugar and cinnamon out for breakfast and some morning physical activity to burn off a few calories before dinner. This year it was 18 holes of Frisbee golf with my brother in law. Pretty soon football was on T.V., the smell of turkey was pervading the house, and everyone was anticipating the feast. Dinner was great and so was desert. The day seemed to be winding down in the normal way Thanksgivings do, with everyone slipping into a half-awake turkey

Wind-Up Wednesday: "Googly Eyes" (Christopher Walken)

Wind-Up Wednesday: "Googly Eyes" This will be a light week for posts with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, so here's a little fun to help with what might be a stressful week.

Sunday Singables: "Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder"

"Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder"  by John Newton, released by Jars of Clay on Redemption Songs  (2005) and by Indelible Grace on For All the Saints (2003) (this is the Jars of Clay recording) This song, originally written by John Newton, is featured in the Trinity Hymnal with a different melody. The tune linked above is an alternative one that I really enjoy. While both melodies work in different contexts, the one I'll be featuring today is the more contemporary one done by both Jars of Clay and Indelible Grace. Why I recommend this song for worship- Wondering at the cross is something we don't do enough of as Christians. Maybe we don't know what is so special about the cross. Maybe the awe of someone dying for our sins and freeing us from death wears off over time. I think most, if not all, of us could attest to the fact that our passion waxes and wanes depending on how life is going. That is where this song can be very effective. It calls us back t

Waterproof Smartphones

I recently read an article stating that we are just a few short years away from affordable waterproof smartphones. While that does mean we can go back to not worrying about pushing someone into a swimming pool, it also means that the last bastion of cell-phone freedom will be disappearing forever. I'm talking, of course, about the shower. I love taking showers. There is something about the hot water and the peace and quiet of no technology. I did attempt for a time to do the whole shower radio thing, but that quickly broke. Having a place where technology can't get to you is kind of nice, though. You can be alone with your thoughts, pray, sing, and of course get clean. I remember just a few short years ago when you couldn't get cell phone service in certain areas, like on a cruise or on an airplane. Those places were true escapes from being connected to the world. I remember my father-in-law would take cruises specifically because the office couldn't reach him by pho

New Song: When He Comes

Our Christmas program this year is entitled "The Night Before Christmas." Part of that theme is looking at the Christmas event from the perspective of Ancient Israel, longing for Messiah to come. In a sense, we are still waiting for the fullness of that coming when Christ returns a second time. As I looked around for appropriate Christmas songs with the theme of waiting for Messiah, I didn't come up with much that would fit our context, so I just decided to write one. It does focus on the first coming of Christ, but I think it is a song to be sung throughout the year as well. I'll post the actual performance after our Christmas program next month, but for now I hope you are encouraged by the words. Some of the phrasing might be a little hard without knowing the melody, but you'll get the idea of the message of the song. Enjoy! ( click here for music for this song, now available ) When He Comes I have prayed for oh so long, waiting for the one; the one

Wind-Up Wednesday: Iron Man vs. Dora

I know, I know. I've been a slacker blogging this week. So, as a reward here are two fun clips for your Wind-Up Wednesday. There's a lot more coming this week, but that'll happen later. Today there's something for everyone... action, superheroes, kids shows, and learning spanish! Enjoy. Dora... Iron Man...

Sunday Singables: "Behold the Lamb"

"Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)"  by Keith and Kristyn Getty, released on Awaken the Dawn  (2009) Our church observes communion each Sunday morning. Honestly, I love it. It hasn't grown stale and it is a wonderful reminder each week of the forgiveness found at the cross and that the Lord is coming again. This brings a unique challenge to me as a worship leader though because I need to have a song for communion each Sunday. While there are a lot of hymns out there about the cross and the death of Christ there aren't that many about communion itself. This song is a wonderful exception. Why I recommend this song for worship- Each verse of this song brings forward a different element of communion. It takes the singer on a journey from forgiveness of sins through the bread and cup and to our response as partakers together. It makes me think a lot about what I'm doing as I get ready to take the elements and really keeps it fresh and new. As I said earlie

Bless the Lord's Chosen One (or die?)

Lately I've been reading a lot about David. You know, the "David" and Goliath, King "David", City of "David", Son of "David"... that David; the one who was king in Israel about 3,000 years ago. You can read all about him in 1 Samuel 16-1 Kings 2 . (By the way, did you know that the reason there is a first and second Samuel and not just "Samuel" is that there wasn't enough room on one scroll for the whole thing, so they split it into two books? Kind of like the Harry Potter 7 movies... just a fun fact) One part of his story in particular has caught my attention, especially in light of the recent events of the election. It has to do with the transition of the throne from David's predecessor, King Saul, to himself. This part of the story picks up in 1 Samuel 24 . You see, David had already been anointed the next king. Saul had failed the Lord in his duties in many ways. Therefore, God rejected him from being king and began