July 24, 2009

Don't go breakin' my heart

Yesterday I went to the Warped Tour . . . and more than anything, it left me heartbroken.

There were definitely hundreds, probably thousands of kids roaming the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater yesterday for nearly 12 hours, listening to more than 50 bands from multiple genres and visiting tents of organizations/sponsors from Peta to Trojan to To Write Love On Her Arms.

In between songs, lead singers from the bands would use the time to interact with the crowd - whether that meant shouting every profanity and obscene word known to man (today the tour was in FL, where you're not allowed to swear, so they had to "get it out of their system" yesterday), or how Underoath's Spencer testified that their band stands in the name of Jesus Christ (as he does with every live set, which is one of the reasons I hold them in high regard).

Some frontmen used the stage as a punk-rock pulpit, preaching in between songs about what their music stands for, why they support the music community and why you should believe in yourself and go for your dreams. Senses Fail frontman Buddy Nielsen preached more on the latter, and on life.

He told the crowd how the band built themselves from nothing and only depended on themselves. He also spoke about how you should, "treat your family and friends with passion and respect because they're all you have in this life." He continued to profess that we should all be trying to find happiness and bliss because it's not only the most important thing in life, but it's what life is all about.

Oh, Buddy. I wanted to tell him that he's missing it. There is so much more.

We are far too easily pleased, too easily convinced and decieved.

So . . . if finding happiness is the pinnacle of existence . . . and what Buddy is telling these kids is that it can be found in having a successful band (or dream career in that case), having a microphone, or by having family and friends? That's it?

Oh, how the world seduces us - telling us that if we only accumulated enough wealth, had the dream career, lost the weight, had the perfect marriage and family, were popular and well-liked, had the right house and the right cars, drank the right coffee - then we would truly be happy and complete. We run after these fleeting things of the world that will ultimately leave us more empty and void than we were before we pursued them.

How long before the beauty fades and the novelty wears off? How long before the luster and glamour vanishes? How long before our spouses, our friends, our possessions and even ourselves let us down? When do we stop buying into the lies and worldviews broadcasted by society?

What will it take for our eyes to be opened, for us to realize that we were created for more? That the one who brought us into existence has been right here all along, pursuing us? He wants to rescue us from this bondage, to provide for us, protect us, heal us, shower us with His love and blessings. He can give us something so much better than anything this world has to offer. He is the only giver of life.

After all, Jesus does tell us, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives . . . " (John 14:27)

God created us . . . we were made to be in perfect union and relationship with Him ("all things were created by Him and for Him" - Colossians 1:16), but The Fall destroyed that - leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. We so quickly turn to the pleasures of this world in efforts to fill that void, but He is truly the only one who can mend it. And how He longs to fill that space, if we would just look to Him!

Driving down I-40 last night, billboards reminded me of how this society tells us what we need to be happy . . . advertisements for colleges, employers, plastic surgeons, gyms, banks - all promising to bring fulfillment in one way or another.

Truly, Peter still stands correct when he writes, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) I know that I am just as guilty as the next person to turn to music or food or the gym to give me comfort . . . when what I really need to do is seek God first.

. . . man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
-Deuteronomy 8:13

May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope . . .
-Romans 5:13

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
-Colossians 2:8

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
-Romans 12:2

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