Some people say Winston Churchill was the first person to call his depression a black dog that followed him everywhere. Others say the expression preceded Churchill. Whichever the case, the black dog of depression has been around for generations now. And this old dog is up to the same old tricks.
The black dog will train you, if you let it. But it’s better if you train the black dog.
Of course, faith in God helps us work through depression. God is always ready to help us. Feeling depressed? Make this your prayer:
Come quickly, Lord, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.
This one might be a little different for a worship song, but we express our worship by living to serve others. I don’t mean living in a legalistic way trying to earn the favor of God, but living with God’s love overflowing onto others.
Saying “I love you” is a nice sentiment, but it’s empty words if we don’t back it up with our actions. That’s why James says true religion means helping widows and orphans (James 1:27). We don’t really love someone if we aren’t willing to put that love in action by doing something to help that person. When we become the hands and feet of Christ to serve others, we demonstrate true worship.
One True Religion
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
As I continue to consider the names of God in my personal study, I thought I’d feature another song exalting God’s name: God is love (1 John 4:16). This simple message needs to be lived out in and through our lives to reach others. It seems like so many people, even professing Christians, see God as an angry judge, a distant father, or some other negative perception. What we need is a revival of seeing who God is: God is LOVE!
And, if you haven’t already noticed, Tembalami is my favorite YouTube channel so I’m going to let Tembalami lead us in worship again.
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
K.P. Yohannan has been on my radar for more than a decade. He generously gives away books to help Christians enlarge their worldview, their faith in God’s power, and their need to get involved with God’s plan.
Among his many books, he loves to give away copies of Revolution in World Missions, his testimony of becoming a missionary, and No Longer a Slumdog, the stories of those whose lives have been changed by Christ in the slums of India. In addition, he offers free ebook editions of many of his books.
His ministry, Gospel for Asia, ministers to the lost and hopeless people of South Asia by bringing them physical, practical, and spiritual aid.
Although he was born in India, K.P. Yohannan came to the United States for theological training, during which time he discovered the power of materialism. Listen as he describes how he struggled with a desire to look good and have lots of stuff.
The Lord asked K.P. Yohannan, “What are you doing with your life?” I think that’s a question God continues to ask each of us. What are we doing? Are we focused solely on more and better stuff? Or are we willing to live with limited choices (“This one or that one?”) so we can focus our attention and resources in the work of God?
Are you a right-brained Christian who enjoys change for the sake of change and likes to experiment with new things? Or are you a left-brained Christian who wants things to stay the same forever because something new feels threatening?
If you’re a right-brained Christian, are you stuck in a church that feels like itchy clothes that don’t fit? Or have you left the church in frustration because the church minimizes your talents, tells you to “conform” to the body of Christ, and makes you feel guilty for wanting something more?
I can say from personal experience how challenging—almost impossible—it is for right-brained Christians to feel comfortable and accepted in churches today. I have begun writing about left and right brained approaches to the Bible and my heart is moving in this direction to help educate the church. That’s why I was excited to discover Leonard Sweet has recognized the same trend and is speaking out about it.
Churches and Right-Brained People
Take a listen to Leonard Sweet describe why churches are afraid of right-brained people.
By the way, I really liked how that video was produced with the collage of video clips throughout. That is right-brained creativity at work and it can be used for the glory of God in so many ways, but the church is too reluctant to let right-brained Christians thrive.
It’s not like there should be a massive divide. After all, we all use both sides of our brain. Take a look at this example guaranteed to make you smile.
When we kiss someone, we don’t left brain it; we right brain a kiss. We don’t analyze a kiss before we do it, or plan it out according to some rule of thumb. We just make it up as we go along, following the signs, signals, and feedback loops of the one we’re kissing. We “kiss” life the same way.
Jesus set up a party theme early in his ministry, with his coming-out miracle at the wedding in Cana and with a slew of party-crashing and missed-party stories.
The Gospels serve up a feast of feast stories. Is it even possible to read them without getting hungry? Jesus always seems to have food in his hands—from his first wedding feast to his last supper . . . and then those Resurrection meals. The Gospels are one giant block party. In many of these party scenes, Jesus eats as readily with publicans and prostitutes as with the cocky Pharisees and the colossally rich. You might even say he came to cross party lines with party times. If we deleted all the parties from the Gospel of Luke, where “the Son of Man came eating and drinking,” it would be a mighty thin book. One of the (many) criticisms of Jesus was that he enjoyed life a little too much. Have you been criticized for excessive celebration recently? Is it possible that God moves as much at a party or barbecue as at an ecclesiastical service?
I suspect that a prime reason why Bethany was Jesus’ favorite place on earth was because he enjoyed Martha’s cooking. The problem was that feeding Jesus had become work for Martha, not play. . . .
. . .
Before much of the church sold out to a muted and moderate Gutenberg culture of words and propositions, Christianity itself was a celebratory culture of feast days and carnivals and festivities where artists of various media were employed to design architectural settings, paintings, music, clothes, food, sporting events, dancing, speeches, liturgy, movement. Festivals were as dynamic and dramatic, authentic and lunatic, noisome and fulsome as life itself. When people think of plays, they think of somber, serious stage presentations. But “plays” were festivals. After Shakespeare’s plays, even performances of Julius Caesar and Richard III, people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries left Shakespeare’s Globe Theater clapping, tapping their feet, and dancing along with the players. If life is played with adventure and a partying spirit, life itself becomes a festival culture, a fandango of faith, where we leave our seats skipping and dancing to the tune of the Creator.
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Celebrating the joy of everyday living is only the beginning of our adventure with the Lord of all life.
It makes me think of how the Church commissioned Leonardo da Vinci and other artists to paint marvelously intricate depictions of Bible stories on the walls and even the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Churches often paid artists to paint, sculpt, or create stained-glass windows because it was one way to introduce the population to the beauty of art (they lived drab, difficult lives back then). Plus, the Church of that generation recognized that the way to honor the Creator is through creation. Artists have an ability to honor God and draw others into worship by performing the art they were gifted to create.
Stifling art does not honor God. It does not edify the Church. And it causes creative souls to wither and die inside.
I pray for the day that churches will have an “author in residence” who is paid by the church to write for the glory of God and the edification of the saints. Likewise, churches could have an “artist in residence” who is paid to create beautiful hand-painted scenes on the church walls.
Does this spark any ideas for you? How could churches be more supportive of right-brained Christians?
Are you clutching life’s wheel too hard? Are you so busy sitting in the driver’s seat that you fail to recognize the Well-Played Life God wants to share with you? Leonard Sweet helps you unclench your teeth, loosen your grip, and embark on an adventure filled with the fruitfulness and creativity of living in God’s pleasure! 240 pages, softcover, Tyndale.
This post is part of the Virtual Book Fair: Christian Authors A to Z. See the list of other authors featured in the Virtual Book Fair.
We all face problems. Huge, horrible problems. Life-shattering problems. Stressful daily problems. Health problems. Money problems. All kinds of problems.
But we have a choice. Are we going to choose to let the problems weigh us down? Or are we going to choose to trade our problems for the joy of the Lord.
That’s the message of this song, “I’m Trading My Sorrows.” Part of the following video is done in English, but most of it is in their native tongue. Still, the joy of the Lord is evident in these Christians from Zimbabwe. In fact, it’s contagious.
I encourage you to take five minutes to let their joy rub off on you. And remember, you have a choice to cling to your problems or trade them for the joy of the Lord.
I’m Trading My Sorrows – Zimbabwe Style
If life has you bogged down, maybe you need to get Unstuck!
Escape Spiritual Stagnation, Experience Abundant Life
If you’re doing all the right things as a Christian and you’re still not growing, you can get unstuck. Learn to let God’s living water flow through your life to remove the spiritual stagnation so you can experience abundant life. Get unstuck and grow.