Monthly Archives: June 2010

Smoking or non-smoking?

Here’s a West Texas story from around 20 years ago.

A family was traveling out toward the Texas panhandle and dropped in on a Sunday night Nazarene service. The church had no a/c, and with the temps hovering around 100 dry degrees, the evap coolers (otherwise known as “swamp boxes”) were the only hope of even pretending to be comfortable. The visitors arrived a few minutes late and were amused to see around 20 people sitting on the left and only two older ladies sitting on the right side of the sanctuary. The family moved to the side with ample seating and settled in for the service.

In a few minutes they were melting from the heat and realized that the swamp box on their side of the sanctuary wasn’t running. Now they knew why everyone was sitting on the left side of the sanctuary! After the service they visited with the pastor and he apologized for the uncomfortably warm conditions and the visitor said, “What is wrong with the evap cooler on the right side of the sanctuary?”

The answer: “Oh nothing is wrong, but those two dear saints always complain that they get too cold, so we don’t turn it on on that side of the building.” He added, “the church folks call the left side of the sanctuary the ‘heaven side’ and you can guess what they call the side you occupied!”

Great holiness song

It’s been awhile since I’ve heard this song on the radio but for some reason it’s come to mind a couple of times lately.  It comes from David Baroni’s “Promised Land” project and it’s called “Took me out of Egypt.”  The message of the song is powerful.  The singer thanks God for freedom from the old way of life – “Egypt” yet finds another level of slavery, this on the inside. I love the words of this song and these are, I think at the heart of the matter:

Lord You took me out of Egypt
Now take Egypt out of me
You delivered me from Pharaoh now set me free from me
Let my heart become a promised land
Where the desert used to be
Lord You took me out of Egypt
Now take Egypt out of me

Thank God for his deliverance from the old way of life, it’s a transformation that makes all things new.  However, in that delivered life, over time, the believer is dismayed to find that something of the old way remains.  There’s competition for the Lordship of one’s life.  Will it be God’s way or mine?  This song describes the believer coming to a decision.  Self must bow to the Lordship of Christ.  The prayer then, is “Lord, you took me out of the old life but something of that old life remains in me.  Now, I ask that you will do a deeper work in my heart that I might be not only free from the consequences of my sin, but from the nature of sin and self.  Take the throne of my heart.”

I love the message of this song and even more, I love what the Lord does in the lives of those who come to that place of full surrender.

Here’s a short sample of the song, “Took me out of Egypt.”