“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
I have often heard this verse quoted and many have memorized it as a type of formula. People suppose it’s about the numbers, “two or three,” but the Greek implies that it’s more about being in agreement, praying in His name.
As you can probably tell from the spelling, this is the origin of our English word, symphony, a word that means to be harmonious, or to agree. The definition gives the idea that we as His instruments are not only to be in tune with each other, but in the key of our Great Composer’s choice. Being out-of-tune produces nothing but discordance, but as we gather around Him, and play (or pray) in harmony, our eyes on Him as He conducts, He will orchestrate a beautiful, God-glorifying work.
In the Old Testament, God spoke to His people about not taking brides from other tribes and nations. But then the church-age came into being, after our Lord and Savior Jesus gave His life for ALL, and He has called us ALL to live in UNITY.
In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul the apostle spoke of the body of Christ (the church) being lame when all the parts don’t work together as directed by the Head (Christ).
If the right leg doesn’t want to be connected to the rest of the body, we the church are going to walk around with a limp that will stand out, and the whole world we see us as lame and deformed.
If we say that a part of the body has no value, and remain isolated, if we spiritually inbreed, so-to-speak, if we only marry within the family, eventually our relatives will have webbed feet, a lower birth rate, and eventually we’ll die out.
So if the key fundamentals of the faith are intact, if we are all connected to the Head and the same blood flows though our veins, how can we deny fellowship with the other parts of the body and truly call ourselves followers of Christ?
It's the winter of 1978; a young boy and his two friends were waiting for the #642 bus to take them back to their small Yorkshire village. They have just been to the movies to see Superman, the one with Christopher Reeve in the leading role, and were doing everything in their not-so super abilities to imitate flying as they slid on the freshly fallen snow. I was inspired; I had a new hero!
My memory is vague as to what happened in most of the movie, but I do remember the icy Fortress of Solitude—thinking how cool it was, albeit sparse of any home comforts: no comfy couch, no Action Man figures, no bowls of cereal. It was a secret place for Clark Kent’s alter ego to get away, a place of refuge, a safe, secluded spot where he could prepare himself to deal with whatever potential challenge or major catastrophe was on the horizon.
We are no different (although we don't have superhuman powers or the ability to fly without aid. I guess we could walk around in tights and a cape, but I'm not so sure we'd garner the same kind of respect as the Man of Steel).
We all need our own Fortress of Solitude. I'm not suggesting we need to hike out into the middle of an icy wasteland, but we all need alone time, a time dedicated to escaping from the hustle and bustle of life, escaping social media, which robs us of solitude. Our constant desire to not miss out on what is going on with everyone else ironically makes us miss out on what we could be doing—things that are more constructive or more creative—with our time.
My personal Fortress of Solitude is the time I spend alone each morning before my wife and son get up. I get out of bed, switch on the kettle, pull out a bag of green tea, and then sit and read my Bible. The Bible talks about God being our refuge, our present help in time of trouble. Even Jesus Himself would at times go off to a secluded place and spend time alone with His Father.
I find this time of solitude essential; it's an every-morning must. A time to recharge, to prepare my heart, my mind, and my spirit for the day’s challenges.
I started this almost two and a half years ago after a good friend of mine taught about biblical meditation at a conference I was attending.
I knew if I was to become someone of real value, a blessing in people’s lives, a super husband, and a super father, I needed to spend quality time in my Fortress of Solitude, in the Bible, without the distractions of family and electronic devices. Okay, I never saw Kal-El sipping on a hot mug of tea, but I think you get the picture.
So each morning I awake and sit at our dining room table, in a not-so comfortable chair, and prayerfully meditate/study through the Bible verse by verse. I read perhaps only one or two verses and mull them over in my mind, perusing them in different translations. Then with pencil in hand, I chart down my thoughts in a notebook until those thoughts turn to prayer.
This is where I find my strength for the day, the patience to deal with the trials life throws my way, and to hopefully grow to be a hero of the faith for my wife and son.
In my next blog, I'll share more about what now accompanies my Fortress of Solitude morning routine.
Until then, I hope and pray you will find that place of Solitude with the Savior.
Back in the latter part of 2016, I received a text message. It said that "Who's Got Their Armor On?"--an album I had the privilege to engineer, co-produce, write some music for, and play on--was nominated for a DOVE AWARD for "Children's Album of the Year." My initial response was "What? How is that possible?" We had made the album four years earlier in a small demo studio with limited time and limited experience. Jake, Will, Joel, Desmond, Braden, aka the BEAR HUG BAND, and myself were just in the studio space being goofy, hitting record, and enjoying pretty much every minute of it. Even my then six-year-old son jumped in and contributed some vocals to the song, "Armor of God."
There was no knowing or predicting at the time that all of these years later, I'd be receiving a message like that. It was and still is, in some way, quite surreal. And yet, as I reflect back to the recording process and the reason for creating the album, I get it. Yeah, we had a lot of fun, but we also had a passion to record a project that would teach children the truths found in the Word of God in a fun and captivating way.
In November, I accompanied Jake, Will, and Michael (members of the band) to the GMAs in Nashville. Even though we didn't win the award, what an honor to have the project nominated and to be able to attend the award show. That too was a tad bit surreal, asking myself, "What on earth are we doing here?" as I'm standing six feet away from Chris Tomlin and about to walk out on the Red Carpet to have our photo taken. We got to meet and connect with some great people and hear some "Greats" of the Christian music industry perform.
I am excited to also announce that we are currently working on the follow-up album, which should be released this autumn/fall. Our intention is to yet again make a great album that will point young hearts toward Christ.
Click the album art below to check out "Who's Got Their Armor On?"