Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Spiritual Janitor



When I was in high school, I wrote and recorded a song about a Sunday School teacher of mine. There aren't many people who live out what it means to love and encourage others better than Mr. Lussi. Every year, I look forward to him calling me on my birthday to sing Happy Birthday, which is something he does for hundreds of people.  This song captures a few of the fun and encouraging aspects of Mr. Lussi.

The Spiritual Janitor
by Andrew Robert Allen

I know a certain man he is a janitor.
He cleans and mops and sweeps and dusts that's what he gets paid for.
Each and every morning he calls people to say. I want you to have a very, very happy birthday.

He's a Bible toting spiritual man who uses a holy sword.
He don't care what the people think.
He's always praising the Lord.

On every Sunday morning he goes to church to teach.
He loves the kids so much he goes with them to the beach.
When I'm sleeping in my bed to refresh myself anew.
All the sudden a man comes in and crows cock-a-doodle-doo.

He's a Bible toting spiritual man who uses a holy sword.
He don't care what the people think.
He's always praising the Lord.

He likes strawberry ice cream and Dr. Pepper too.
To Mrs. Lussi he says darling I love you.
Sometimes when he's talking he don't know the word to use.
He'll call the thing a "jafer" and then you'll know his news.
If you need a friend to get on his knees and pray, well Mr. Lussi is faithful so wash your blues away.

He's a Bible toting spiritual man who uses a holy sword.
He don't care what the people think.
He's always praising the Lord.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Prayer for Paris

View of Paris From Notre Dame
View of Paris From Notre Dame
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." -Hebrews 12:2-3

Lord, it seems like there is so much evil in the world. It saddens me to hear about events like the terrorist attack in Paris. How can people be so deluded that they believe killing hundreds of people honors you and meets your desires and wishes?

Even in the middle of this tragedy, please let your hand work to provide comfort and healing to families, individuals, and communities. Let your people, churches, and missionaries have opportunities to minister and provide hope in the midst of sadness, confusion, and a sea of darkness.

Let your light and love break through the darkness to provide strength, shelter, and the ability to move forward, holding on to you. Pull down spiritual strongholds and reveal the lies keeping people in bondage to a false god. Only your love can give them fulfillment and purpose.

Let the extremists experience you in dreams and realize that in Jesus there is hope and life that can be lived abundantly rather than dominated by fear and hatred. Turn around their devotion and commitment to a false god into a powerful movement among MBBs that they would boldly share their faith and invite friends and family into relationship with you.

In You there is hope, joy, love, and comfort and I ask that you pour this out on the people of Paris so that they experience you in real and tangible ways.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Proverbs 31 Woman

Over the past few years I've read several articles that talk about the Proverbs 31 woman. She's held up as the Biblical model to aspire to. The more that I've thought about it, the more I've realized that my mom is the Proverbs 31 woman.

She is an excellent wife and worth far more than jewels or riches. My dad trusts in her and she's done him good all the days of her life. With her hands she is able to whip up a tasty meal, clean a house with great skill, and keep a family well clothed.

When she goes to the store, she is skilled at getting good deals on quality items. She gets up every morning to talk with God, read the Bible, and write in her prayer journal.

Throughout her life she's been compassionate to the children she's taught both at school and through church activities. She's a great listener and friend to many people. She partners with my dad to make good financial decisions and they seek to fulfill the great commission through prayer and supporting the church, missionaries, and other ministries.

When she speaks, there is wisdom that comes from lots of time spent with God and she's one of the kindest people you'll ever meet. I am glad to call her blessed and so is my dad.

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates." (excerpts paraphrased from Proverbs 31)

She doesn't do what she does for recognition or praise but she is a special lady and as good as they come. Of anyone who lives like the Proverbs 31 woman, I think she does a great job. Many people love their mamas. I sure love mine and think she's probably the sweetest, most compassionate, loving, and best person I know.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Great Are You Lord


Great Are You Lord
by All Sons & Daughters

You give life you are love
you bring light to the darkness
You give hope you restore
every heart that is broken
Great are you Lord

It's your breath in our lungs
so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise
It's your breath in our lungs
so we pour out our praise to you only
Great are you Lord

You give life you are love
you bring light to the darkness
You give hope you restore
every heart that is broken
Great are you Lord

It's your breath in our lungs
so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise
It's your breath in our lungs
so we pour out our praise to you only
Great are you Lord

All the earth will shout your praise
our hearts will cry these bones will sing
Great are you Lord
All the earth will shout your praise
our hearts will cry these bones will sing
Great are you Lord

It's your breath in our lungs
so we pour out our praise, pour out our praise
It's your breath in our lungs
so we pour out our praise to you only
Great are you Lord

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bible Verse Song: Psalm 16:11


Psalm 16:11

"You make known to me the path of life
in your presence there's fullness of joy
at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore."

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Last Flight From Little Rock


This song was inspired during a work meeting when someone said to book the last flight from Little Rock. If you've ever traveled for business, fun, or other reasons there are good parts of trips but there's always the draw of home pulling you back and the people you love there.

Last Flight From Little Rock
By: Andrew Robert Allen

Leaving on an airplane got some business in Jackson
but I'll call you every day until I'm home again
There's some people up in Arkansas that I got to go and see
but if I got to choose, I'd choose you and home is where I'd be
But tonight I'll be out on the road and feeling all alone
Gonna take the last plane from Little Rock and I'll see you when I'm home

Leaving on an airplane got some things I need to do
but every day that I'm away you know I'm missing you
When I get to where I'm going I'll make the best of every day
but the best part of the trip is when I'll see your smiling face
These business trips they pay the rent but I miss you when I'm gone
Gonna take the last flight from Little Rock and I'll see you when I'm home
Gonna take the last flight from Little Rock and I'll see you when I'm home

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reflections from Israel Trip

I've read the Bible for most of my life so was excited when the opportunity to go to Israel with my favorite radio station, Victory 91.5 presented itself.
Jerusalem
View of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives
Jerusalem Street
Jerusalem street
Jerusalem Marketplace
Jerusalem Marketplace
I think one of the best ways to condense a trip like this into a few words is that being there makes the words jump off the page and really come alive. To walk where Jesus walked, explore the city of Jerusalem, feel the heat of the desert, see where the Dead Sea scroll were found, hear the sounds of the marketplace, taste middle eastern foods like baklava, St. Peter's fish, shawarma, hummus, falafel, get baptized in the Jordan river, pray and worship in the garden of Gethsemane, ride on a boat on the sea of Galilee, and look across the plain of Armageddon brings the Bible to life in a way you only understand if you've been there.
Dead Sea Scroll Cave
Cave where large number of Dead Sea scrolls were found
Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
Fishermen at Cesarea
Fishermen on Mediterranean at Cesarea
One surprise was the vast amount of agriculture in the country which is maintained largely through advanced drip irrigation. When the Bible talks about the land flowing with milk and honey, our guide said that the "honey" it referred to is actually made from dates and is more of a syrup. The food we had was all quite good.
Couscous, falafel, and more
Tasty Deserts
Date Palm Tree
Date Palm Tree
Pomegranates
Pomegranates
From a topography perspective, Israel is a fairly hilly country. The Bible refers to mountains and to give a good feel, most of them are more along the lines of Kennesaw Mountain than the Rocky Mountains.

Wilderness near Qumran Israel
Wilderness near Qumran, Israel
People often wonder about safety in a place that's frequently in the news for unrest. By and large, I felt safe the vast majority of the time. Like anywhere, you need to be aware of your surroundings and make wise decisions if things look like they could get out of control. We saw children running around and playing quite a bit, which should give a sense of the comfort level parents had.


One of the most impactful times for me was going to the Western Wall on Shabbat. To see the Jewish people singing, dancing, and praying at the wall was deeply moving. It reminded me of the importance of praying for people I know from the Jewish faith. They believe Messiah is coming and one of my prayers is that they will come to believe in Jesus as Messiah as I do.
Western Wall Israel
At the Western Wall
Another big impact was how much significance lyrics to songs take on when actually in the place where the cross was at and where Jesus walked, taught, prayed, and rose from the dead. When I sing about the Wonderful Cross the song will come alive in a new way.
Empty tomb
Empty Tomb
Calvary Skull
Place of the Skull
It's difficult to summarize a trip like this in a few words but hopefully the above provided a taste of what it was like. I recommend for anyone to go to Israel if nothing else than for the vast amount of history and good food but also for the enormous spiritual significance.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dealing With Jealousy

Jealousy
How do you deal with jealousy? When someone else gets the job, the promotion, the award, the relationship, the recognition, the life experience, has more money, a bigger house, more status, popularity, a nicer vacation, the school acceptance, whatever the "thing" is that you want, how do you respond?

Seeing others succeed when you've worked so hard in an area and yet get passed over can be really hard. It can be easy to feel that you've missed out, been done wrong, and that things just aren't fair. But if you're pursuing God's best, you can rest in knowing that He is working on your behalf so don't worry about whatever the thing is.

As hard as it can be, fight the urge to feel bitter and instead rest in God's providence and goodness. Trust that He is working all things together for good and keep pursuing Him.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Prayer, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Food for Thought: If you spent as much time in prayer as you do on social media, how would it affect your life and spiritual walk? Would you experience more or less joy? More or less fruit of the spirit? More or less wisdom? More or less sensitivity to the voice of God in your life? More or less intimacy with Jesus?

Social media isn't categorically a bad thing and I think it can be used for lots of good purposes but it needs to have its proper place. When the default is to open your phone or computer and mindlessly scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or a Twitter feed, there's probably a lot of time wasted that could be better used elsewhere. For me, I've decided to try to limit social media consumption to a max of 15 minutes a day, if not less.

This is an attempt to recapture productivity, experience more of real life, sleep more, and recenter myself on prayer and pursuing God more intentionally.

Is there anything in your life that you need to evaluate eliminating or reducing?

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Mirror
Have you ever spent more than a few moments looking at yourself in the mirror? Time fixing your hair, makeup, brushing your teeth or otherwise taking care of your appearance doesn't count. Just time looking at yourself, your eyes, the emotions displayed in your face, and how God made you.

Others see us all the time and how we express ourselves but we mostly just live in our heads. Use this as an exercise in conjunction with prayer. Talk to God as you look at yourself in the mirror. It facilitates honesty. You can't hide behind flowery language or mask over the emotions inside. You already know if you're bluffing or not but seeing yourself while knowing the thoughts on the inside creates an opportunity for real candor.

Whether you're happy with how life's going or are experiencing challenging circumstances, use this exercise as a way to get real with God. Be aware though, it may be more difficult than you think and take you to deeper places of intimacy with God.

I've read that looking into someone's eyes for four minutes can create a deep connection. See how it works as you examine your own eyes and explore your soul with God.

In pursuit of His best,

Andrew

Bible Verse Song: Psalm 73:26


Bible Verse Song Psalm 73:26

My heart and flesh may fail but God is my strength
My heart and flesh may fail but God is my strength
The strength of my heart and my portion forever
The strength of my heart and my portion forever
Forever my heart is yours

Friday, May 22, 2015

Southern's Who I Am


Andrew Robert Allen album: Southern's Who I Am
Music has played an important role in my life for many years. Whether learning fundamentals through piano lessons, playing French Horn in middle school and high school symphonic band, studying music theory, taking and teaching guitar lessons, playing bass in the youth praise band at church, singing in the choir, playing in the church orchestra or for a dinner theater, leading worship as a summer missionary, busking on the sidewalk of Kansas City, Athens or Roswell, Georgia writing songs, playing in the worship band at church, or just enjoying others music, it has given me an outlet to express myself, create, have fun, and connect with God and others.

I've written quite a few songs throughout my life and in recent years I've written several in the country and southern rock genre. It's one thing to play a song you've written at home or for a few friends or family but to actually put production behind it with multiple parts and capture its full vision and potential is something that I've not often gotten to experience.

People talk about bucket lists and life goals and for me, recording a high quality album of my own songs has been on that list for a number of years. I had the blessing of living next door to an audio engineering student for a couple of years and he was extremely generous with his time and knowledge and assisted me in the process of recording and producing the songs on Southern's Who I Am.

Songs aren't necessarily autobiographical but elements of the songs are representative of who I am: Southern, drinker of sweet tea, enjoyment of clever wording, fun, pursuing God, and love of mama. One element of my heritage included in the album is the farm where my dad grew up which served as the backdrop for the photography.

The Bible talks about doing things as unto the Lord and we worked very hard to produce the album at an excellent level. While most of the songs are not overtly Christian or spiritual, there are overtones of God and Jesus woven throughout. My goal in recording the songs was to create a quality product that I would be proud of and enjoy and hopefully others would too.

I think a large part of being a creator is wanting others to listen to and experience your art. Though I don't always see the numbers or recognition that I might like, God keeps telling me to be faithful and pursue things as best I know how and He will work to accomplish what He wants to through it. I don't know if my music will go beyond a few friends and family members but it sure has been fun and I'm really happy with the result.

I'd love for you to check out the whole album or even a few songs. You can download the album on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/southerns-who-i-am-ep/id978899270 It's also available on Amazon and Spotify if those are more your style.

I'd love to hear what you think of the songs. If you have a moment, check it out and drop a review on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube or even here on the blog; every review helps.

Here are a couple samples via YouTube.




In pursuit of His best,

Andrew
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