Listen more than 10 seconds

Truthfully? I caught the final 10 seconds of the song Motown Philly back in 1991, and wasn’t won over by this new group, Boyz II Men.  Their debut was soon after we first heard of another group, Jodeci.  Long live 90’s R&B!

Jodeci had the look most people I knew wanted.  Their music surely had a great sound and feel.  They sang love songs, but the kind you didn’t have to be embarrassed to listen to in public.  Then I heard another song by this newer group, the one I wasn’t so impressed with.  The song was already playing when I turned on the radio.  This is what I heard that day:

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Once the DJ came on after the song, my first thought was, “That song did not last long enough!”

Before that day, I hadn’t yet watched Cooley High (The song is from the movie; the group’s debut album’s namesake is that movie, too). After that day, I was a Boyz II Men fan. I still am.  No group can sing like they do.  To me, that was their song, and since that day it has always been one of my favorites because of the amazing harmony.

Of course, the years have given me other reasons to appreciate that song because music and life often collide.

Thank God there are gifted people able to seal our experiences in words and music.  Whether it’s music from church, childhood or even the club, many of us have songs and music that become anthems for our lives or help us communicate life better than we could hope to do with our own words.  I’ve come to appreciate more and find great comfort in knowing that others share similar experiences as me.  Yes, it was a shock to learn that my life isn’t all that unique.  Life happens to everyone.

All that is to say that I’ve learned to listen to music differently.  I’m not just listening for my jam any more.

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I know how to listen to the emotion of music now: pain, joy, anger, frustration, hope, awe, confusion.  And I’ve learned to let what I hear from music guide how I pray.  If I’m listening to music that speaks to hurt, I pray for people I know who are hurting.  If I can’t get that Happy Song out of my head, I thank God for the things in my life that make me happy–that’s also about the best thing you can do to deal with as many times as that song has been played.  Even Motown Philly is a song about how a group of young men got together and starting making music for the world to hear.  And I can thank God for people making music.

Back in 1991 I never could have imagined how this song would touch my heart today.

I’ve been listening to that song a lot lately.  So, I’m thinking of people who have lost loved ones.  Indeed, it is truly hard to say goodbye to yesterday.  Stay blessed…john

Angry Eastwood: That Song

I know there are a few songs/hymns that you don’t like to sing in church.  Trust me; there are some that get under my skin, too.  They can’t all be gems.

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This Angry Eastwood meme was posted on the United Methodist Memes Facebook page, and a few of you might faint when you see some of the titles that made it to this list as songs/hymns you love to hate:

  • Many Gifts, One Spirit
  • Here I Am, Lord
  • O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • He Walks With Me
  • Little Brown Church in the Wildwood
  • We are the Church
  • Majesty, Worship His Majesty
  • How He Loves Us
  • Hymn of Promise
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Lord of the Dance
  • Help Us Accept Each Other
  • Victory in Jesus
  • I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry
  • O God Our Help in Ages Past
  • The Advent Candle Song
  • There is a Fountain Filled With Blood
  • God of the Sparrow, God of the Whale
  • Wonderful Words of Life
  • Jesus is Coming Soon
  • Oh Happy Day
  • Waterfall
  • Come, Thou Almighty King
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • Our God is an Awesome God
  • Were You There?
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Amazing Grace
  • Rock of Ages
  • When the Roll is Called Up Yonder
  • Standing in the Need of Prayer
  • Freely, Freely

So, what have we learned today?  Judging from this list, there will be some United Methodists in hell.  My favorite response someone gave has to be: Any hymn after the third verse.  I usually advocate for singing every verse of a hymn, and often wish I’d changed my mind.

Which song/hymn would you add?

Stay blessed…john

 

 

Dare to Get Out of the Truck

Our church began a new sermon series this weekend. It is entitled Dare to Dream. I based it off of Michael Slaughter’s book by the same name. The book is about creating a God-sized mission statement for your life.

Chapter One is based upon Jacob’s dream in Genesis. I preached from that text not too long ago. So, I used another text to begin the series–Amos. Of course, I intend to have fun when I preach. Whether everyone else does the same is up to them. And I think most of them were able to a little bit.

This week’s sermon is entitled “Dare to Get Out of the Church.” Have a listen and let me know what you think.

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Stay blessed…john

How excited would you be?

A few weeks ago something great happened to one of the Fletcher Five. Brittani got her first job. We were all excited for her and proud that she has since taken her responsibility seriously.

The best part for her came about two weeks later. Yes, that first paycheck brought all kinds of smiles.

Then another first happened. This one was even more impressive, at least to this dad. Sometimes I don’t get to see everything that happens in church on Sunday mornings. That’s most true with our church’s tech crew; most of them are youth. They control everything from a balcony. It’s become common practice during the offering for them to let it rain cash from the skies during offering. They pick an unsuspecting usher, usually the younger one, and drop their offering into the plate from their place in the balcony.

Well, two weeks ago, Brittani dropped her offering into the plate. This time, however, it wasn’t a few dollars her parents gave her. It wasn’t some change she found around the house. What she dropped from the balcony was her first tithe.

During lunch that Sunday she told me how excited she was to be able to do that. You better believe I asked her to take up this week’s offering and share that little story. She worried it might come across as bragging, but I encouraged to tell it anyways. People are going to think whatever they think. What I hoped they would hear was her excitement.

My initial thought was, “A child shall lead them…” And my hope was that maybe we could learn to give with excitement.

Stay blessed…john

P.S. What was your first job?

I hope this is around forever

I heard it’s important to understand that any picture you put on the Internet has the capability of being there forever.  Yes, we need to understand that any photo can be seen, shared, downloaded, re-seen or even mutated into the Internet’s next great meme.  On one side, that is a caution to our young friends who are so quick to get their phones out to capture every moronic scene from last night’s escapade with friends.  Potential bosses can easily find out what they really want to know about you.  Of course, in a few years you might have some uncomfortable ‘splainin to do when your kids come across some of those pics, too.

Then again, there are somethings you truly want to live forever online.  Like this picture.

JohnFletcherWithHisSisterDianaLane
Christmas 2013

 

I hope the Internet gets its worldwide hands on it and lets it fill every cloud there is and travel through every packet that gets delivered to any computer, ever.  That seems like a lofty aspiration, but stranger things have happened.  We’ve all done a Google search or two that brought up things that seemed a bit of a stretch.  Maybe someone will search Galveston, or beaches or maybe even island ringtones.

That last one sounds silly, I know.  But if they do search that maybe, just maybe they’ll come across a picture of a guy hugging one of his little sisters on the beach.  Now, they may not know that it was Christmas and 32 degrees outside.  Of course, they probably wouldn’t have any idea how much this picture means to the guy with the funny earmuffs now that she is gone.  Or that it’s been exactly two weeks since her death and he has cried every day.

But they’ll have seen it.  And I bet they’ll at least know these two people meant something to each other.

Yes, I hope this picture lives on the Internet forever because that’s how long I will remember it.

I love you, Diana. Forever.

DianaLane

Diana Lane, 25, of Galveston, passed away Monday, June 30, 2014. She was born September 25, 1988 in Galveston to Darrell and Deborah Sue Lane. Diana proudly graduated from Ball High School with the Class of 2007 and worked at Yaga’s. A fun loving free spirit, she enjoyed being outdoors, including fishing, BBQ’s, and time spent at the beach. Diana also cherished spending quality time with her nephews and nieces, whom she called her princesses. She was a strongly willed, motivated young woman who liked to get her way. She was our “Princess Diana.” She will live on through her family and great friends.

Diana was preceded in death by her father, Darrell Lane, and grandfather, Joe Faggard.

She is survived by her fiancé, William Travis Haynes and his children, Chyanne and Travis; her mother, Deborah Sue Lane; grandmother, Bobbie Sue Faggard, of High Island; sisters, Margaret, Misty Sue Ambrosio and Jose Perez, and Briana Soto and husband, Jesus; brothers, John Fletcher and wife, Gloria, and Grady Lane; nieces and nephews: Brandon, Brittani, Ashlei, Ange-le, Nathan, Angelina, and Alyanna; great niece, Harmony; loving great aunts, Gloria Whelton and Lilla McCutchen; and numerous other family members and friends.

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