Musings from the Threshold

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Everything Sad is Coming Untrue – Review

I’ve been listening to Jason Gray’s new album for so long that the folks at Centricity Music probably think that I’ve forgotten I promised I’d write a review if only they’d let me have a copy. There’s a lot to this project, and it has taken me a while to absorb it enough to write a review. I’m not a professional reviewer, for that matter, which I’m sure makes it more difficult. 🙂

The short version:
Jason Gray’s “Everthing Sad is Coming Untrue” (ESICU) is a purposely “pop” album that loses no depth to its playability. I find myself singing the songs repeatedly; the music is catchy and singable. And the lyrics are worth many a listen; the depth reflected there is rare in a pop Christian album. Like a thread running through the album, the work of God to make all things new shines as a hopeful theme. In short, ESICU is a musical investment that will challenge and encourage you – and leave you with some great tunes running through your head.

The extended play version:
From the first song, More Like Falling in Love, Jason challenged my thinking. Lyrics like, “It’s gotta be more like falling in love than something to believe in, more like losing my heart than giving my allegiance” caught me off guard and made me uncomfortable. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be belieiving and surrendered? I’m someone who doesn’t like the whole “falling in love” idea to begin with, because I think it’s reflection of a culture that takes too lightly the commitment that is love. It took me a while to get past my prejudice to hear the heart of Jason’s song, at which these additional lyrics give a peek: “I need a truth that lives, moves and breathes to sweep me off my feet. … It was love that made me a believer. More than a name, a faith, a creed, falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me.” The love of the Lord Jesus has swept me off my feet more times than I can count, and for that I am deeply thankful.

Jason’s music also challenged my actions. Fade with our Voices asks if our worship has hands and feet. “Does it stand up in the face of injustice? … Is it more than a song that fades with our voices?” As you can see in the video I’ve embedded at the bottom of this post, the idea of our actions being part of our worship has become an important part of Jason’s life and ministry. In Holding the Key, he addresses one of my hot buttons – the need for us to be both real and approachable with each other: “We were made with these hearts, meant to be open, and we lock them away, afraid of being broken. But we’re given each other to set it free – and you’re the one holding the key. … your listening ear is the grace of God.” Another challenging song, Better Way to Live, talks about “when we step aside from the center of our lives, and learn to love mercy more than being right.” Some of Jason’s lyrics hug (perhaps even cross!) the “meddlin'” line … and I’ve been blessed by his boldness.

Then there are songs whose lyrics reflect the cry of my heart. Lyrics like “Jesus I come, come to You again, like it was the first time I came to you for new life… believing, help my unbelief… I need You now as much as I did then, I need a new beginning… take me back so I can move ahead” from For the First Time Again. For someone who is a “runner,” and who longs to learn to run in the right direction, Hold Me Back resonates strongly: “Father please hold me back, be the strength I lack, ’cause it’s just like me to run from the One that I need. You hold me back… it’s just like You to run to the one who needs You… with the love that won’t let me go before it makes me new.”

Some of my favorite pick-me-up songs from “Everthing Sad is Coming Untrue” are Help Me, Thank You (“the two best prayers I know”); Jesus Use Me, I’m Yours (“my dreams, my plans, my heart, my hands”); and I Am New (“I’m chosen and holy and I’m dearly loved, I am new… the One who is making everything new doesn’t see me the way that I do”). Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 1) holds the promising lyrics, “life is coming alive, death is destined to die… when we learn to live again and let forgiveness win, there’s no wound that Love won’t mend and finally redeem.”

The last song on ESICU, like the first, challenges my thinking. Everything Sad is Coming Untrue (Part 2) takes a deeper look at some of the heartbreaking realities of our world and dares to ask “how could it be that everything sad is coming untrue?” Yet deeper still, we have the assurance the He will make all things new. “Broken hearts are being unbroken, bitter words are being unspoken, the curse undone, the veil is parted, the garden gate will be left unguarded. … Oh I believe that everything sad is coming untrue in the hands of the One who makes all things new.” Though we may not see everything sad coming untrue at present, we do have an eternal hope, based on the victory of our Lord Jesus, the One who makes all things new!


Your Father Knoweth

Your Father Knoweth..

Precious thought, my Father knoweth,
In His love I rest;
For whate’er my Father doeth,
Must be always best,
Well I know the heart that planneth
Naught but good for me;
Joy and sorrow interwoven-
Love in all I see.

Precious thought, my Father knoweth,
Careth for His child;
Bids me nestle closer to Him,
When the storm beats wild,
Though my earthly hopes are shattered
And the tear drops fall,
Yet He is Himself my solace,
Yea, my “all in all!”

Sweet to tell Him all He knoweth,
Roll on Him the care,
Cast upon Himself the burden
That I cannot bear;
Then, without a care oppressing,
Simply to lie still,
Giving thanks to Him for all things,
Since it is His will.

Oh to trust Him, then, more fully!
Just to simply move
In the conscious, calm enjoyment
Of the Father’s love;
Knowing that life’s chequered pathway
Leadeth to His rest;
Satisfied the way He taketh,
Must be always best.

(author unknown)

BBC Weekend Family Camp

Last weekend, most of the folks from our chapel headed to Dayspring Bible Camp for a weekend family camp. Things didn’t officially kick off until Saturday morning, but we and Jonathan’s parents went down Friday night because that’s easier (and more fun!) for us than getting up way early Saturday morning and driving a couple hours. We made a little campfire and cooked hot dogs/braats over the fire, ate apples and chips, sang, etc, while we waited for Dad and Mom Smith to arrive. After they got there, we wound up at our cabin playing canasta till about 1 in the morning. Fun times!

Saturday and Sunday were full of fellowship, fun, canoing, fishing, learning, etc.

Our speaker for the weekend was Dr. Don Patten from Emmaus Bible College (where I attended a couple years of college). He taught on church history, specifically early church history. I found it fascinating and am inspired both to learn more and to provide opportunities for my children to learn. Upcoming post on this topic!

It was a great weekend and we all had lots of fun, even with little adventures like Stephen putting his hand on top of G’pa and G’ma’s heater and Jonathan overturning into the creek. We are thankful for our chapel family and love this weekend to spend lots of time together!

Bad Blogger – 9 weeks along

I have multiple posts going in my head, but between feeling naseaus and having trouble with our internet, blogging keeps getting bumped to the bottom of the list.

I’m looking forward to hitting that 12-14 point of this pregnancy, which is when my “green” feeling usually fades considerably. In the meantime I’m working to maintain the balance between 1)forgiving myself for not being very “productive” and 2)embracing slugdom. It’s a fine line!

Things seem to be going swimmingly with the wee babe. I’ve had some new aches and pains this go ’round, but I think I just need to get to the chiropractor. I had my first pre-natal today with a dear friend of mine who is now a CPM who can legally practice in the state of Missouri. I can’t express how meaningful that is, after all the years that we (the team of Missouri consumers and midwives) worked to legalize midwives here. It is sweet, to say the least.


Hello. My name is Laurel, and I’m a gamer.

One of the interesting things about my life that I don’t mention very often is that I married a gamer. Jonathan loved the arcade as a kid, and thoroughly enjoyed console (think Atari, Nintendo, etc) and computer games as they emerged. He’s always particularly enjoyed role-playing games, where you build characters and develop their skills. In college, he discovered a role-playing game that you could play online with people all over the globe. It was completely text-based (i.e. you typed S to go south, etc, with no pictures to guide you), and even to watch him play was beyond my spatial skills. I tried to play with him a couple times, but he had to tell me every step to make!

As time has gone by, technology has made great advances in this area as it has in so many others, and the games available online today have incredible graphics and flexibility. But I get ahead of myself…

In the summer of 2003, in the interest of sharing my man’s hobby, I decided to give his current game a shot. Notice it took me almost 8 years of marriage to be willing! Asheron’s Call 2 was an MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game) based in an imaginary world called Dereth. Jonathan’s character was involved in a large and social “allegiance,” a group of people who played together and helped each other, aided by an ingame chat system that allowed chat amongst large groups of people. The people aspect of it was what I enjoyed the most and what drew me in. I got to “meet” people from all over the country and world, even getting to hear their voices with a special voice chat program called Ventrilo. Many evenings after the children were in bed would find Jonathan and I (aka Beren and Luthien) in Dereth, helping our friends and fighting bad guys. Somewhere along the line, I realized… I had become a gamer. I think it might have been the night I dreamed about being in Dereth.

Sadly, the folks at Turbine eventually reached a point where they had to close down Asheron’s Call 2 (Dec 2005). We were very dissapointed and spent months trying out different MMORPGs. We knew then that Turbine was going to come out with an MMORPG based on Tolkien’s works, which we love, so we really just found something to play while we waited for Lord of the Rings Online.

In the spring of 2007, the world of Tolkien opened up to us in a whole new way. Turbine has done a terrific job of bringing Middle Earth to life, and we have thoroughly enjoyed playing Lord of the Rings Online. Since we moved last November, our internet connection has not been very good, and we find ourselves playing less than we once did. Maybe someday we’ll have a good ISP again…

So, where did this post come from? I took some great “pictures” in game the other night and decided to use one of them in my photo blog. I started explaining the picture, and wound up moving that portion of the post over here to Grace and Glory.

A few misc. thoughts on gaming…
~ I’ll just say straight up that lots of people neglect their real lives and responsibilities because they get so into online gaming. I’ll not say we’ve never been there. More than once we’ve had to back up and re-establish boundaries for ourselves. The people in our physical world (especially our precious children) are so much more important than a game. Online gaming can be a lot of fun. It’s like many other hobbies, I suppose. All things in moderation.
~ Real people play online games. People who have the ability to hurt me with their actions and words. Just like the people I see face to face on a regular basis.
~ Real people play online games. People whose lives I have an opportunity to touch for the Lord. Just like the people I see face to face on a regular basis. It has been a blessing to be a witness for Him and an encouragement to others. In one very special friendship I’ve made in LoTRO, I believe the Lord has used me to help give another Christian mom the lift she needed to start home schooling her kids, and to encourage her in her daily walk. Any praise for that goes to the Lord, not to me. It’s just neat to see this outlet as an opportunity to encourage and bless others in a lasting way.

Hope you’ve found this little peek into our hobby interesting!