What's a Holy Spirit Hooligan?! 

“…the Kingdom of God has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.” Matthew 11:12

When you hear the word hooligan, what comes to mind? a trouble-maker? a nuisance? The Cambridge dictionary defines a holligan as "a violent person who fights or causes damage in public places." Now before you get all judgey like, “Shane?! I see the title of this blog! How could you admit to being a hooligan?! That's not like you! For shame…” - hear me out. I think you'll want to be a hooligan too before I'm done explaining.

A Holy Spirit hooligan, that is.

Before Jesus came - in the days of the law of Moses, the prophets who warned of the wrath of God, the bloodshed involved in obtaining the promised land, etc. - people thought God wanted to bring His Kingdom with violence, with a show of military power and brute force, delivering His people from their enemies by means of bloodshed. Little did His people know, that's exactly what He would do…only it looked a lot different than they expected: God offered deliverance by means of His Son's bloodshed.

Jesus revealed the Father's heart, that the Kingdom He wanted to bring would not be ushered in with a physical sword, but a spiritual one (Matthew 10:32-40). Because of this revelation of the Father, the violence Jesus talked about in Matthew 11 reveals a different kind of violence: a people forcefully advancing the Father's will of truth and love upon the earth. 

Instead of a sword made of steel, Jesus swung a sword of truth everywhere he went. Instead of impaling heads on a stake, Jesus challenged the head knowledge of the religious elite. Instead of shooting arrows into the hearts of His enemies, Jesus sent forth the flaming arrows of His love to capture the hearts of sinners. After all, His is a Kingdom of the heart.

This is the violence He brought everywhere He went: a reckless love that brought the Spirit's conviction to the lost and wrecked the religious presuppositions of the Father's nature.

His truth and love did more damage to the powers and principalities of the enemy than any bow and arrow ever could.

So how does that translate to His followers here and now? I remember something Jesus told His followers when He sent them out with His authority: “As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)

Something sticks with me when I read that, especially in light of what we know of the “Kingdom” by Jesus' teaching. This gets me excited, let me break it down like this: Paul says in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit…”. We know that God's Kingdom is designed around the premise of God's desire to make His dwelling in us (temples of the Holy Spirit, as mentioned in 1 Cor. 6:19). So if God's Kingdom is in me, a carrier of His Holy Spirit to those around me, then when I enter a room, I can confidently say, “The Kingdom of Heaven has come near” to those who are in that room.

In other words, the enemy is in trouble when Holy-Spirit-in-me walks in the room. When I encounter a problem that needs Heaven's solution, I have the privilege - and obligation - to let the River flow from within me. To carry God's presence. To bring the Kingdom.

Do you see? When you are a Holy Spirit hooligan, you're not afraid to pray for people in public. You're excited at the opportunity to bring the Kingdom wherever you go. You live for the moments when you get to show ‘em God’s power, truth, and love. It's what you and I were born for.

If I'm going to be defined as a hooligan - "a violent person who fights or causes damage in public places" - it's going to be in the Holy Spirit: bringing the sword of truth and the arrows of love into public and causing damage to the enemy.

So do you want it? Do you want to be a hooligan with me? We've been far too quiet as Christians for way too long, rushing here and there without looking people in the eyes and bringing the Kingdom they need. You will find that Heaven will back you up if you live with that Holy-Spirit confidence wherever you go: “The Kingdom of Heaven has come near!” If you need help with the “how,” reach out to me. I'd love to help spur you on in love and good works. 

A Long Time Comin' 

You know that triumphant feeling you get when you've been writing songs for, like, 20 years, and you finally decide to put the details together to record them?…oh, you don't?…actually, that's probably not a common feeling, is it? How about this: you know that feeling when…ummm…well, I guess there's nothing I can think of that quite compares to that feeling as a songwriter!

I've heard it said that writing a song is a lot like having a baby. I have 5 kids, it's nothing like that. I've never changed a song's messy diaper. BUT…I will say, the process of recording songs that have blessed people for years and have drawn people closer to God is VERY rewarding. I have recorded lots of albums with various groups of mine over the years, and have even helped other people with their albums, but nothing feels quite like hearing a concept held in your mind for years finally manifest through a set of speakers.

I'm sure there are lots of things that could possibly compare to that feeling: a climber standing at the summit of the mountain after preparing for years to climb to the peak of what she'd only dreamt of conquering; a politician reaching the office he'd spent years working toward after decades of building relationships, investing in local government, and many late nights spent doing the intangibles people don't see; a pastor standing center-stage in a packed church, the same church he'd spent years dreaming of with God, with a view of the full seats he'd prayed over and cried over for years, his wife and family smiling in the front row, knowing the immense sacrifice and sleepless nights it took to build this church from the ground up…

These feelings compare to the feeling I have right now.

I have co-labored with God to birth these songs, and now they are ready to be released to the world (or whoever, God knows who). And I just wanted you to maybe share a slice of that feeling with me. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can't. Either way, you get to eat the fruit of what I've labored for, and I'm so happy you do.

Some of these songs on this album were written a few years ago, when the world was teetering on the edge of a knife blade. Some of them were written way back in North Carolina days, when my wife and I were content being newlyweds in a 2-bedroom duplex with a couple of wiener dogs.

But no matter when they were written, there's always been a common thread: all of my worship songs came from a place of intimacy with God. My songs birth from my relationship with God, just as your faith and fruit should birth from drawing near to God. See? We're not all that different from each other. You may not have written any songs in your lifetime, but if you have an abiding relationship with Jesus, I'm sure the fruit of your faith has born in other ways. 

And to be honest, as meaningful as it's been recording my first original worship album, the fruit of obedience in my life - when I obey God's voice and walk in His Spirit to bring wholeness and Heaven's solutions to those around me wherever I go - is WAAAAY more impactful and satisfying than recording an album. And we'll talk about that here, too. Probably a lot.

So enjoy the journey with me as I talk through some of the tidbits, facts, revelations, struggles, and triumphs of my faith and songwriting here in this blog. This is my online journal, things which I feel God wants me to release to the public, whether that be faith thoughts, or songwriting stuff, or just things I'm fascinated by in the Lord. I pray this blog encourages and strengthens you in your walk with Jesus, and that fruit is born from your life - fruit that tastes as sweet as what I've tasted from my faith-walk and music.