Today, Rick Lee James “Changes” album is only $1 on BandCamp.com

 

Today, Download Rick Lee James’ Changes Album for only $1.00

All sales benefit the Rick Lee James Hymn Project so please tell your friends. 12 tracks for $1.00, …but you can give more if you like.

#throwbackthursday

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12 Tracks For A Dollar, Full Album Download

http://rickleejames.bandcamp.com/album/changes

This album features tracks with Brandon Sipes , Brannon Hancock , Brenda Spicer Thornberry-Crabtree , Mandy Holcomb, Shawn Alex, and more.

Also, we are still raising funds for the Hymn Project. It’s a record, a film, and a documentary we want to make in Nashville with Dove award winning producer Craig Adams. Click any of the graphics below for more information on the Project. You can also click this link. http://www.GoFundMe.com/Hymns

Take the $5.00 Challenge – Make The Record

Take the $5.00 Challenge - Make The Record

Take the $5.00 Challenge – Make The Record

 

How Do We Love Our Enemies? How Do We Pray For ISIS? How Did Jesus Do It?

New Blog How

How do we pray for our enemies? Are we called to pray any differently in times like these when terrorists groups like ISIS slaughter people without remorse? Isn’t this just like the world Jesus was in 2000 years ago when Romans occupied his Jewish homeland, enslaved his people, and demanded that they declare “Caesar Is Lord” or face execution? Is it any different than ISIS forcing victims to convert to Islam or die today?

It’s hard to be like Jesus these days. It was hard to be like Jesus 2000 years ago as well. It was hard for Jesus to be like Jesus, but he was like Jesus all the way to the cross, and back. That is to say, Jesus was being like God, perfect as He is perfect. His call to His followers is to follow His example and to do the same. What would Jesus do? Jesus would die for the sins of man. Maybe a better way to say it is, Jesus would die by the sins of man, at the hands of sinful men. In fact, Jesus did die, at the hands of sinful men, execution by sinfulness.

Being like Jesus so often will lead us to the wrong side of a cross, a machine gun, a knife, machete, or a death squad, but I don’t think He was kidding when he taught his followers to take up their cross and follow him. It’s insane, but it’s an insanity that ushers the Kingdom of God into the world.

“Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.”

Do we mean that in the bad times when our lives are at stake?

Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.

Do we mean that when terrorists like ISIS are threatening to kill, steal, and destroy our families and take our lives?

Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee.

Are we willing to bless when we are cursed? Are we willing to bless the common cup and share the common bread, even when Judas is at the table?

God never created an evil thing. There is no evil anywhere that was created by God. God is love and every act of God is an act of love. Evil is a distortion of the good things of God. ISIS is made up of humans who are created in God’s good image. However, that image has been distorted by sin and evil. God creates and redeems, but these men are doing the opposite of that, they are destroying and causing chaos.
These are not things blessed by God, willed by God, condoned by God, or overlooked by God. It doesn’t matter if they do it in God’s name or not, these murderous acts are not of God. Religion enforced by violence is not true religion! It never has been and it never will be. ISIS is a distortion of the good things that God has made, namely human beings. These men are not being their true selves, they are not being who God made them to be. They are distortions of human beings, not the holy thing God created them to be.
My prayer is that God would restore his image in these human beings in spite of the evil things they have done and are doing. Show them Your Glory, O God, and in doing so bring them to repentance. The God we serve is a God that can change even the cold hearts of the men in ISIS. Only God can do the healing that needs so desperately to be done.
Lord, break the bows and shatter the spears. Make every missile miss it’s Mark and let every bullet be a dud. Thwart the plans of the wicked and restore them, to your image, O God. Bring violent men to justice and heal the wounded hearts and shattered lives of the people who have become victims of their deeds.
Bring about a forgiveness and mercy that only you can bring. You are the God who bore the worst that man can do on a Roman cross. Mankind is at it again, doing the worst that they can do. Overcome them, Lord, In Jesus name. Save, O God. Protect the innocent.
Deliver the suffering, O God of love. Above all, let Christians who are suffering, show the world what Jesus looks like, even in their suffering. Help your followers to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors. This cannot be done without divine intervention, Lord. We simply don’t have it in us to love people who cut innocent children in half, but You call us to do it anyway. This is what we signed up for when we signed up to follow you, Jesus. If it takes our death to show the love of Jesus then let the love of Christ be seen in death and in life, for we believe it can change the world. It is a path we can only take because you took it for us, showing the way. I pray for the victims as I would pray for myself, let Jesus be seen, and come quickly Lord.
And since you call us to pray for our enemies as fervently as we pray for our loved ones, we pray for ISIS. Stop them, discipline them, punish them, bring them to repentance, save them, and turn them into brothers in Christ. Bring to them an overwhelming remorse for what they have done and are doing. Change things, Lord. Set this right. Make all things new. Show us Your Glory and make wars cease to the ends of the earth. We don’t believe violence will ever stop violence, but we believe the love of Christ can.
And We believe the words we declare in our creeds.

We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created Man and wanted Man to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the Earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know Him in the light. God promised in the book of His word, the Bible, that He would save the world and all the nations and tribes.

We believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, He rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.

We believe that all our sins are forgiven through Him. All who have faith in Him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the Good News to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for Him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.

(The Maasai Creed composed in 1960 by the Maasai people of East Africa)

 

 

Published on Aug 13, 2013
Lead Sheet Available at this link:
http://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/3ba9459bf5f952a99f3997477058d30d11f85429

Lyrics and Music by Rick Lee James
Love Our Enemies

Verse 1
God has made this declaration
through His Son, the Prince of Peace,
that to enter in His Kingdom
we must love our enemies.
They may seem our adversaries
but are merely slaves to sin,
so our battle is not with them
who are only hostages

Verse 2
Lord, deliver us from hatred,
prejudice, and cruelty.
Come remove discrimination
that the truth may set us free.
When we look at our reflection
we not only see ourselves
but we see a former captive
whom the grace of God has helped.

Verse 3
Father, show us how to free them
with Your mercy above
for our enemies are brothers
who’ve forgotten how to love.
You have made us in your image,
You’ve redeemed us through Your son.
Gather us into Your Kingdom
where no sword is drawn but love.

Verse 4
Jesus Christ, is our example
showing us the face of God
when He chose to die for sinners
rather than to shed their blood.
So we’ll fight them with affection,
we will conquer them with grace.
May our enemies see Jesus
when they look upon our face

Verse 5
In His time and for His pleasure
pray we all will stand one day
reconciled before the Father
when the old has passed away.
When revenge would cloud our vision
turn our eyes to Calvary
where our Savior died to show us
how to love our enemies.

Ending
Lord and Maker of creation,
every life is dear to Thee
In the holy name of Jesus
help us love our enemies

The 4th of July and The Christian

Contrary to what many people seem to think, July 4th is not a Christian holy day (holiday). Moses didn’t come down the mountain holding the Constitution in one hand and the Declaration of Independence in the other. The only Christian nation that has ever existed or will ever exist is the kingdom of God, whose reign has no end.

The earliest statement of Christian belief, “Jesus is Lord”, is the pledge of allegiance for the citizens of God’s Kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount is the Constitution for the people of God. It’s impossible to live it out alone but that’s the point. It takes Jesus and a group of disciples sharing life together to see His Kingdom take shape in this world.

Presidents and politicians like to tell us that The United States of America is last great hope of the world, and Christians chuckle at such an absurd statement. The United States of America is not not even close to being the last great hope of the world. The last great hope of the world is the first great hope of the world, and in fact the only hope for the world, Jesus Christ.

With all that being said, I like living in America. There are a lot of beautiful places here, with a lot of great people who have achieved some amazing things. I truly hope you will enjoy your 4th of July celebrations with your family and friends, but remember where the Christian’s true allegiance lies and Who the true hope of the world is. It is the hope that will outlast The United States and every other nation on earth. Be grateful for the place you live, be proud of the good things it has done, hold it accountable for the evil it embraces, and be grateful for the place you live while remembering that it is not your home.

Declare and celebrate your dependence upon God this 4th of July and remember that any other freedom than the freedom He offers is counterfeit at best. Freedom is the power to do the right thing, not to do anything you want to. Freedom is holiness lived out, serving others, and denying self. Love The Lord your God and worship Him only. Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with the Lord your God

Revelation 11:15
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”

Podcast #112: Ryan Stevenson Live From The Depot Coffee House

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My guest this week is Gotee Records artist Ryan Stevenson. Ryan is a husband and father of two boys who currently serves as worship leader at Vertical Church Boise. Prior to his full-time music career, Stevenson spent seven years as a paramedic. He has performed at Creation West, Fish Fest and Lifest, among other top Christian festivals around the country, and has toured with such artists as Toby Mac, Group 1 Crew, Rachael Lampa and more.

“Ryan is an impressive songwriter who understands the delicate balance of writing songs about his faith and walking it out in a cold, cold world,” said TobyMac. “He never shies away from a ‘Jesus’ lyric, ’cause he is fully aware of where his strength comes from.”

On the podcast this week we have an exclusive live show with Ryan recorded at The Depot Coffeehouse in Urbana Ohio. Brought to you by the Gathering of Miami Valley.

 

LISTEN HERE: 

 

 

An Appeal To Abolish War by Stanley Hauerwas and Enda McDonagh

I came across this today and wanted to share it with my Theologian friends. It’s from the book “War and the American Difference.”

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An Appeal to Abolish War

To Christian Leaders and Theologians:

As Christians called out to serve the Church in differing Christian traditions we appeal to our Christian sisters and brothers to join in a campaign to abolish war as a legitimate means of resolving political conflict between states. Though our Appeal is addressed to the Christian community, we fervently believe that if our witness is true, many not part of that community may want to join our appeal to abolish war. God has, after all, created us all to desire the Kingdom of Peace.

To many theologians this call for the abolition of war will appear presumptuous (who are these people anyhow?). To others it may seem theologically flawed and practically futile. Yet with John Paul II’s phrase from Centesimus Annus, “War never again,” ringing in our ears and with Tertullian’s succinct summary of early Church teaching before our eyes: “The Lord in disarming Peter henceforth disarms every soldier,” we are driven back to that basic conviction that in the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, the destructive powers of this world, prominent among them War, were radically overcome. It is loyalty to the example and teaching of Jesus Christ which first and foremost summons Christians to renounce war and to seek with the wider religious and human communities to develop alternatives in protecting the innocent, restraining aggressors, overcoming injustice. Let us study war no more. Let us study peace.

From their fourth-century origins, Christian attempts at justifying war have always been intellectually and spiritually vulnerable and politically inadequate. It is very doubtful if any war during that period fulfilled the traditional criteria of jus ad bellum and jus in bello. In more recent times Christian leaders who still endorse the concept of a just war are finding it increasingly difficult to see how criteria such as having exhausted all nonviolent means (“last resort”), non-combatant immunity, and proportionality could be observed. In official documents and theological analyses alike, there is a discernible unease with the applicability of “just war theory” but even greater unease with its Christian authenticity.

This Appeal, based primarily on the behalf of the incompatibility of war with the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, wishes to draw all Christians into a serious conservation about the Christian and moral acceptability of war and indeed to draw all concerned humans into the examination and development of alternatives to war. Only in such a comprehensive enterprise can this Appeal’s final goal of actually abolishing war hope to have any chance of success. We hope those committed to just war reflection will join us in calling for the abolition of war. For it surely must be the case that advocates of just war have as we do a stake in making war a doubtful enterprise.

Why now? We do not think so much that the peculiar horror of modern war is the primary reason or that people are so much more enlightened today that they will readily respond to such an appeal or that alternatives are already in the making, although thesemay be auxiliary or indeed persuasive reasons for many. Rather, we call for the end of war now because all time is under God’s judgment. So there is no time like the present (or the past) to say again in John Paul II’s words, what has already been said by God in Christ, “War never again.” Such a call seems all the more important, however, in a world where the uses of communication and its manipulation make war not only a greater possibility but more hidden.

We have no illusions that our call for the abolition of war will bring an immediate or even quick end the massacres called war. So we are phrasing it in terms for interrogation and dialogue, seeking as we have said to promote serious conversation and analysis among Christian leaders and thinkers on the Christian roots and possibilities of the project. We hope to enlist university faculties in the theological and secular sciences, as well as research institutes in the search for the peaceful alternatives that would be more easily convincing of the immorality of war for a wider and (non-) Christian public by revealing it as also unnecessary.

This, of course, calls for an energetic and lengthy campaign of conversation and perhaps better than conversation, the conversion of Christians to the true anti-war dimension of their own faith and the conversion of all to the enriching potential of their fellow humans. Our call for the abolition of war will hopefully put us on the long hard road towards the hope of developing peaceful witness as well as developing attitudes and structures for resolving conflicts nonviolently. We believe the serious study of the process of peace will only begin once the necessity of war is denied.

There are encouraging precedents for the larger hope. It was once assumed that slavery was simply part of “the natural order.” Those calling for slavery’s abolition were thought to be foolish utopian dreamers. We are well aware that slavery still exists in multiple disguises, but no one thinks aloud that slavery can be justified, or that a public profit can be made from it. We know that what we call war will continue in various guises, but we trust that in the near future at least no Christian will be tempted to think that when they say “war” they are affirming the necessity of wars of giving them justification. Let the twenty-first century be for war what the nineteenth was for slavery, the era of its abolition, and let Christians give the leadership necessary in achieving that.

Stanley Hauerwas and Enda McDonagh

September 6, 2002

 

Stanley Hauerwas Biography:

Professor Hauerwas has sought to recover the significance of the virtues for understanding the nature of the Christian life. This search has led him to emphasize the importance of the church, as well as narrative for understanding Christian existence. His work cuts across disciplinary lines as he is in conversation with systematic theology, philosophical theology and ethics, political theory, as well as the philosophy of social science and medical ethics. He was named “America’s Best Theologian” by Time magazine in 2001. Dr. Hauerwas, who holds a joint appointment in Duke Law School, delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectureship at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in 2001.

Enda McDonagh Biography

The Reverend Professor Enda McDonagh is a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuam. He was born in Bekan, near Clanmorris, Co Mayo and had a distinguished academic career at St Jarlath’s College, Tuam and at Maynooth, where he was ordained in 1955. Following subsequent graduate work in Maynooth, he was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity and a Doctorate in Canon Law. He was appointed Professor of Moral Theology and Canon Law at the Pontifical University at Maynooth in 1958, a post which he held until his retirement from full-time teaching in 1995. He has written sixteen books and contributed to sixteen more. In the early 1960s, he founded the InterChurch Association of Moral Theology, and he is also involved with the conducting of ecumenical retreats with Church of Ireland and other Anglican clergy. In 2007 he was appointed an Ecumenical Canon at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Podcast Episode #97 with Dave Trout, Host of Under The Radar

Podcast Dave and Andrew 2

LISTEN HERE: http://rickleejames.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/episode-97_dave-trout-wav.mp3

My guest this week is the host of a great radio program call Under The Radar which weekly features gourmet music by both mainstream and independent artists. It’s pleasure to share airtime with this truly cool husband, father of 5, and connoisseur of pizza. It’s a really great show and we cover a lot of topics including Under The Radar’s summer show, Escape To The Lake,  which will feature friend of the Podcast Sara Groves on their main stage. You won’t want to miss this great episode of Voices In My Head.

Voices In My Head is a Podcast dedicated to covering things like comics, movies, books, music and various other things that get stuck in the head of pop culture, but with a Theological lens. Listen to it on Podbean.comStitcherThe Rick Lee James Mobile AppiTunes,Reverbnation.com, and FacebookRick Lee James Official Web Site is www.RickLeeJames.com. To leave a voice message comment forVoices In My Head call (937) 505-0162. Get Rick’s music on iTunes and at CDBaby.com. Email can be sent to RLJames29@yahoo.com. You can also watch Rick Lee James music videos on YouTube. Please leave a review on iTunes and let us know what you thought of today’s episode.