Nov 27, 2012

Totally Abandoned

Totally Abandoned


All that I've lived for

Poured out in defeat, at Your precious feet

All that I've longed for

Totally undone, by Your Savior love


You are my Resurrection, You are my life

Jesus, Here is my sacrifice . . .


     I am totally abandoned, wrecked at Your feet

     I am smitten by forgiveness

     Broken and complete

     Help me die to my ambitions and my self erected pride

     Help me live out on this altar

     'till in You I'm crucified


All that I've strived for,

Counted up as loss, nailed to the cross

All that I'd die for

Is found alive in You, the way and the truth


You are my Resurrection, You are my life

Jesus, Here is my sacrifice . . .


Nothing compares to being close to Your heart

Jesus, I want to be where You are . . .



Words & Music by Bill Drake

© 2012 Old Dirt Road Music


Being the "title track" of the album, this song of course has a special place in my heart.  For me it ranks up there with Mt. Moriah, Open My Heart, I Was Born To Worship You, and More Than Willing when it comes to songs of commitment that I have been able to write over the years. 


This song was written during a very difficult bout with a Kidney Stone – one that I was miraculously delivered from!  During the ordeal, I had collapsed on the floor, and a dear friend had come over, and with my wife, lay down with me, and encouraged me to rather embrace the pain, as opposed to fighting it – which I had been doing constantly since that first trip to the ER.  She explained it like this – God has ordained that women go through pain in childbirth, and there are seasons where there will be pain – this is the fruit of the fall.  God will also deliver.  But in the trial, in the season, submit to His sovereignty, His plan, His way (and yeah, if you are engaged in some egregious sin, repent!), and His ultimate provision.


As I lay there, the chorus to this song filled my mind.  Later, when I could finally stand up, I played it for my daughters on guitar, as tears streamed down my face.  I thought about the fact that I was physically, spiritually, totally 'broken', and yet complete in Christ.  In the midst of excruciating pain, He was there, going through it with me, and leading me out of it, all the while teaching me in it.


Interestingly, Gary Witherall's book about his wife's martyrdom was entitled, 'Total Abandon' – and my involvement with the entire Wear The Crown project had highlighted Bonnie's life and death, and massively impacted my life.  Even that little connection again to a life to pure worship, dedication, and crucifixion blesses me, for Christianity is less about living well, and more about dying well for Jesus…


Scripture Study:  John 12:1-8, 14:6, 11:25, Philippians 3:7-8, Psalm 51:16-17, Romans 5:8,  Luke 10:42

Sep 15, 2012

The Gift on the Bonfire

A young woman we'll call Aubrey came on a Mission trip last summer to Latin American country.  She was a hard worker, and fit well within the overall mission team.  I got to know her, and at first was totally unaware of the torment that was going on in her life.  However, during a team meeting, things starting coming out, including the horrific molestation that she had gone through as a child, victim to one of her own relatives.  This had left a trail of wreckage through her family, and through her years, leaving her struggling with huge self-esteem issues, and problems with deception and trust.  Many of us prayed for her, and a number of us continued to stay in touch with her as she went home, went back to University, and continued to wrestle with things that were intended by the enemy of our souls to destroy her.


But Aubrey continued to "lean in", taking thoughts captive under the obedience of Christ, renouncing the enemy, rebuking the spirit of fear, and asking the Lord by His Holy Spirit to give her love, boldness, and a sound mind.  She battled through the draining wasteland of low self-esteem and would pray, read the Lord's word, and confide in a few trusted councilors who were walking this road with her.


I met up with her again this summer, and was so blessed to see that the Mission had accepted her back, especially after some of the difficult things that had happened last summer.  She was once again working hard as an appreciated member of the ministry team.  We sat on top of an overlook, and she recounted to me her journey so far.  I was so impressed at the ground she had gained, and asked her how things were looking right now.  She replied, "Bill, I have been having a recurring dream.  In that dream, I am standing there as a little girl, with a wrapped present in my hands, standing at the foot of the cross.  Jesus is on that cross.  And He is asking my to give Him my present.  But I can't.  He gently keeps asking, and I try, but I just can't do it.  What could this mean?" 


I cried out to God in my heart, "Help me interpret this.  I really want to help Aubrey, Lord.  What does this mean?"  And immediately the dream made sense to me - the gift was her identity, a false identity, wrapped up as a present to make it look better, but inside, it held all the horror of being a victim of molestation, a prisoner of the vicious things that had been done to her, wearing the grave clothes of low self-esteem and the badge of worthlessness.  And Jesus was asking her to let Him have it at the cross, give it to Him for He died for all of that, and allow Him to exchange it for what His death was providing:  freedom, resurrection, victory, restoration.


I explained this to Aubrey, and she totally understood it, probably knew it before I said it, and yet admitted that still, she couldn't do it.  She even said, "I have been living with this for so long, that it is a part of my identity.  If I lay it down, I'm not sure I really know who I will be anymore."  I left her on the Field, not with foreboding, but rather, a slight lack of peace - would Aubrey step up and do what Jesus was asking her to do - lay down this false-self, this victim who felt worthless, tainted, and discarded?  Would she allow Jesus to give her a new identity in Him, where all are given the power to be more than conquers, to be the Bride of Christ, and where nothing can separate us from His love?


A few weeks ago I got the answer I was praying for, as Aubrey sent me a photo from one of her last nights on the field.  In the photo was a gift, wrapped with ribbon, and laid on a bonfire.  She obviously had taken that final step, laid down the grave clothes, and allowed Jesus to be the One who defines her, where in Him she finds her true identity.  Praise God.


Is there something in your life that haunts you?  Is there a land-mine that the enemy has laid in the soil of your years, in the thoughts and memories of your life?  Have you been robbed of the joy of your true identity, being given experiences that strive to define you in terms that are untrue, debilitating, and ultimately destructive?  Aubrey's story is the story of the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, actually all of our stories - ravaged by sin, and left for dead.  But the Lover of our Souls has a different agenda.  He is the creator of all things new, and that most certainly includes a new identity in Christ, and identity that is defined by Him and Him alone.

May 9, 2012

A Visual Apologetic

I recently received this article from Richard Cummings, who is doing his Doctorate in Worship Studies from the same place I got my Master's Degree, IWS.  I read this, and so resonated with it, for it captures the essence of how God uses the creativity He poured into man and nature, to point back to Himself.  And while I personally believe none of this would ever replace His written word, which is holy and sacred, still, God speaks through the Creativity He has put into Creation (Psalm 19).  It is His, and He created it for His Glory.  Enjoy, and let me know what you think.  This is a great piece for a lively discussion!  Oh, and check out Colossians 1:15 while you are at it.  Cummings does a great job of exploring some of the implications!

Can God reveal himself through visual art?

This question often elicits conflicting emotions. Many Christians who are artists would intuitively answer the question with an unequivocal, "yes," but defending this answer to those who are ambivalent or even hostile to visual explorations of God can be unnerving.

Countless examples exist in scripture that point to God's mandate and blessing of our human creativity; yes, even the creativity of visual art fashioned by fallen hands. Old Testament scriptures relate how brazen serpents, blue pomegranates, red ram skins, gold cherubim and almond blossoms were all blessed by God and accepted as both implements used in his saving acts and as implements used in his worship.

With the coming of Christ, the invisible God made himself visible, clothing himself in flesh, choosing to take on the material of his created universe. He was the true Eikon of the true God, coming to humanity as fully human and fully God, a God that could be apprehended through our finite senses. God had revealed himself in material form, and because God had revealed himself in Christ, early Christians felt appropriate depicting God visually as a human.

We live in the middle of God's redemptive story. He is not silent or distant; the Kingdom of God is here. The presence of God lives in us in the form of the Holy Spirit, relationally communing with us and forming us into our future selves. God uses all forms of his creation to reveal himself to us, and we reshape his creation in response to him, in obedience to his mandate. Being formed in his image, we continue to enact his initial creation. We look forward to the completion of his work and to the fullness of our redemption in the New Jerusalem. Until then, we create in response to his past revelation and look forward to his continued partnership and revelation in our creative formations.

Richard Cummings
12 March 2012

Copied in part from"  <>  Used by permission
Please visit the Ruminate Website for the full article

Mar 4, 2012

The Glamour Myth

There is a myth out there that many subscribe to. It is the myth that
International Travel is glamorous. There are some times that this is
true, when people of means are able to purchase a level of service
that rivals the privileges afforded to ancient kings - full flat beds
in First Class, being waited on hand and foot (literally on some Asian
Airlines in First Class), and meals that are prepared by gourmet
chefs. And then there is what I call "Reality Class", that arena of
service that is granted to those who can barely get on the plane - by
standby, or by cheap fares. The following journal entry is a
description of one such journey - one I actually took a few days ago,
that I thought might shed some humorous and real light on what this
can really be like:

"I have just arrived in Amsterdam - flew all day yesterday from
Bangkok, Thailand, through Moscow, to Amsterdam.  It literally
involved walking blocks from the hotel with luggage, sweating heartily
from the 99% humidity in the tropical air, taking a sky train, then
switching to a airport train, standing in lines for TWO HOURS at the
Bangkok airport, almost missing my long-haul flight to Russia, being
literally squeezed into the very last seat on the plane, which was at
the very back (!) But I am sure what would have been absolutely
HILARIOUS would have been the bird's eye video of my changing my
shorts into long pants in the Areoflot Airlines A330-300 at 36,000

You see, I had worn shorts and t-shirt on the journey to the trains,
etc., cause I knew I would be hustling out in the tropical air, and I
knew I would turn into puddles of sweat if I had worn long pants and
long-sleeved shirt - so I brought the change of clothes so I could
change on the plane once I cooled down.  Well, trying changing pants
in a space the size of a small microwave, where you don't want to put
your feet on the floor without shoes cause an inebriated Russian kinda
"missed" if you know what I mean!  So I'm standing on my shoes after I
have taken them off, and trying to pull of my shorts and put on long
pants, half leaning against the folding door, and half standing on the
vacuum toilet, in the middle of violent turbulence!  It's a wonder the
stewardesses didn't send in the KGB on me, as I was banging my elbows
and knees on every vertical surface in there!!!

Then after landing, I experienced a CRAZY Moscow Airport, where you
needed to be Sherlock Holmes to discover where the Transit Desk was,
and therefore another tight connection (plane was boarding when I got
to the gate!), landing in a very NICE Amsterdam Airport, but then to
figure out the bus system!  I had to go in and out of the Airport to
the Bus Depot 3 times!!!  The wonderful Dutch lady at the info desk
kept giving me the wrong platform information, and I could just see me
standing in the cold missing my bus, or on my way to some destination
that I couldn't pronounce!!!  Finally got on the right one, and asked
the Driver to alert me to my stop.  He was very gracious after I told
him I was an ignoramus from America where we have no knowledge of what
public transport is!!! I really don't know the last time I had a more
crazy 36 hours!"

Thank God for Psalm 46!