Posts that find “action at the end of distraction”.

How To Be a Rock Star

by Larry Hehn on February 11, 2014

rock starBack in January I became a rock star. For about 35 minutes.

When told that I’d be making my singing debut in front of roughly 400 people, my friend Dan had the best reaction.

“Wow,” he said, “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

Fact is, I don’t, really.

There are no delusions of grandeur here. I would never make it beyond the judge’s table of American Idol. Heck, who am I kidding? The producers would screen me out long before that, and not just because I’m too old.

Still, a friend was in a bind and needed a vocalist. He knew I had been on stage before, and thought maybe I could help.

Sure, Andy. Invite the hard-of-hearing introvert to be your lead singer.

But hey, when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity like this presents itself, I figured I’d be crazy not to jump at the chance. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a rock star for one night?

I let the band know that I’d come out to one rehearsal and give it a try. They could choose not to invite me back, and I would not be offended.

To my surprise, I was invited to the next rehearsal.

When it became clear that I was going to be the lead vocalist, I decided to make the most of it. I ordered some online voice lessons to help me with my range and overall comfort level. I practiced and experimented. I reviewed other performers to see what worked, and what didn’t.

I got a good, healthy assessment of my own limitations.

And you know what?

It was a blast!

The band was very gracious, encouraging, and lots of fun. The audience, even more so. The gig was a big success.

And, of course, I came away with some tips about how to be a rock star:

  1. Seize the opportunity. Every once in a while, something is going to come up that will stretch you well beyond your comfort zone. Will you take the plunge, or politely decline?
  2. Give it your all. The singers I enjoy most aren’t necessarily the ones who hit each note perfectly. They’re the ones who exude joy and passion when they sing, and connect with their audience. It’s not always about your skill level. It’s about how much “you” you bring to the table.
  3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We knew we weren’t the greatest band. But the audience loved us in spite of it. Actually, because of it. How could someone refuse when you say to them, “I may never be a pro at this. But here’s my best, and I’m giving it to you, warts and all.”

Whatever you do, why not be a rock star with it?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. – Colossians 3:23


Put on your new nature

by Larry Hehn on December 10, 2013

butterflyEarlier this year we renovated our bathroom.

The old shower head hung less than 6′ above the base of the tub. It wasn’t a problem for my wife, who fit comfortably underneath it. But I always had to crouch in the shower to keep my head from smashing into the low-hanging plumbing.

One of the first changes we made was to raise the shower head to 7′ high so I wouldn’t have to duck anymore.

The change has been liberating, to say the least.

I can now stand up straight and still have several inches of clearance between me and the shower head. Gone are the threats of bruises on my forehead and the need for sloppy posture.

But still, a few days ago, I caught myself crouching in the shower again.

I had fallen back into my old conditioning.

Even though the shower head is now well out of harm’s way and there’s no need for me to duck, I unconsciously went back to my old habit.

Yes, even when there’s no good reason to go there, sometimes we slip back into auto-pilot and find ourselves in a familiar rut.

In his letters, Paul had to remind the Colossians and Ephesians to “put on your new nature” - so they didn’t slip back into the old.

So don’t be surprised or discouraged if you catch yourself slumping back into your old default mode. Know that it’s a conscious, Spirit-led decision to put on your new nature and leave the old behind.

As John White says in The Fight, “Transformation is not an overnight matter. It takes a lifetime.”

Stand up tall, and put on your new nature.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. – Colossians 3:10

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. – Ephesians 4:21-24

I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:21-25a

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. – Romans 8:6

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. – Romans 8:12-13


Taste and See

by Larry Hehn on August 29, 2013

taste and seeTaste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
– Psalm 34:8

Growing up, I had limited exposure to different varieties of food.

Dinner was usually some kind of meat, some kind of potato, and some kind of vegetable. Weekend lunch was often homemade chicken soup, or sometimes scrambled eggs with a side of baked beans.

I never saw (or heard of) a jalapeno until my late teens. The most “exotic” food I knew was lasagna.

I appreciate the thousands of meals my Mom lovingly prepared for me. I never went hungry, and was always pleased with her cooking, and especially her baking.

There was nothing wrong with the food I had growing up. But I had yet to experience the “big picture” of international cuisine.

Then I met my friend Tony.

Tony was born in Turkey. He had friends and relatives across the globe. He was familiar with all sorts of food I never knew existed.

A typical conversation at Tony’s house went something like this:

Tony: “Here, try this.”

Me: “What is it?”

Tony: “I’ll tell you when you’re done eating it.”

In other words, taste and see.

Wise move, Tony. I probably wouldn’t have eaten that beef tongue if I had known what it was ahead of time.

After meeting Tony, a whole new world of food was opened to me. I sampled the cuisine of many different cultures. I discovered - and enjoyed – flavors my palate had never known.

After doing the “taste and see” for myself, my perception of food gained a depth and character far beyond my original experience and expectations.

I think that’s the kind of thing David was talking about when he wrote, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

I’ve encountered so many people who say they don’t want to have a thing to do with God or Jesus. But it never seems to be God or Jesus they have an issue with.

It’s their experience and expectations of Christianity that seem to be the deciding factor.

And, well, if your experience has been Westboro Baptist Church, the man in Taiwan who jumped into a zoo lion enclosure shouting, “Jesus will save you!” and other sorts of “Christians” who have been less than Christ-like, I can see how you might be a little leery.

But David is calling us to go deeper. He encourages us to go beyond our first impressions and really experience God firsthand. David assures us that when we do, we will find that he is good.

I never knew what I was missing until I got a taste for myself.

Why not taste and see?