old blue chair

blue_chairs_on_the_beach

Sittin’ in the sand

Weathered by the storms and well oiled hands

It sways back and forth with the help of the winds,

Seems to always be there,like an old trusted friend

Before I launch into this I’d like to start off by saying that I listen to a lot of music… whether it be Christian or otherwise. There’s a lot of crappy music all around.  Some of it from unbelievers and some within the Christian genre. Some Christian music is nothing more than an inch deep and lines itself up well with much of North America Christianity. I do appreciate the Sovereign Grace music gang, the Gettys, and other gospel-centred music. I believe that what we listen to is a Romans 14 choice thing and if we listen and it doesn’t come from faith, it’s sin (Romans 14:23).  We must be careful in our choices, that it doesn’t lead to sin. And by no way am I trying to pry people into listening to music that they are uncomfortable with.  I just see illustrations in our culture everywhere and I want to use them as springboards to the gospel. Paul knew the poets of the day (Acts 17:28) and Jesus used illustration from looking around Him (Matthew 6:26).

I have a new favourite song. Kenny Chesney’s ‘Old Blue Chair’ was released in ’05 so it’s not that new. I was in Woodstock a month ago and they have a used CD shop that you wouldn’t believe. Lots of CD’s for a buck and the more pricey ones are three for five…I love the smell of used CD stores…and I love to sniff out a good deal…and I struck gold with this song.

In this song he keeps returning to the old blue chair. It’s his place to read books and write songs…a place where he considered the past, contemplated the present, and looked to the future. His mind returned to lost love and he asked for forgiveness in the chair. And he spent time on the bus on the road but nothing beats what happens in the old blue chair. It’s the place he goes back to for security and comfort. A place to think and consider and to pray.

I have various places that I go to…lots of chairs. Sometimes it’s driving…sometimes it’s by some water somewhere…sometimes it’s in the comfort of our home. I have figured out that the last season of life was much too fast-paced. I was busy over the last few years…really busy… but I needed to consider more. I didn’t take as much time to think about the shape of my life. Lots of times, those who serve in some capacity within the church can live lives going over fifty-five but don’t slow down to think as much…to pray as much…to meditate on the Word as much. 

There’s an all telling verse about Jesus:

[16] But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:16-17 ESV)

When you dig into the language you’ll find out that this was His regular practice. He regularly withdrew to pray. And in the context you’ll find that there was lots to do. Great crowds wanted to be healed and wanted to hear his teaching…but He withdrew.

We live in a world of instant everything. We live in a world of crazy busy. We live in a world that wants our time, for a lot of good things.  Not everything is good but there’s a lot of good things to do for the believer…but many of us need to put on the brakes. I remember being at the Y on a particular morning pretty early. And a mom was calling for her son to hurry up in the change room. He had had swim team practice and she was calling for him to get dressed because he had to get to piano before she took him to school! That’s crazy busy.

The place, like the old blue chair, isn’t the important thing but the posture of our hearts is important…hearts that our humbly knelt before the Father in His Word…hearts that are tender to the comfort and the rebuke of the Spirit…hearts that want to be entertained less…hearts that want to see God’s glory more and more in a wayward world…hearts that want to see churches functioning better and evangelism ramping up and sin confessed more and relationships restored more quickly.

Bonita’s parents used to have a trailer at Port Glassgow and we vacationed there for a few weeks each year. The trailer was sold a few years back but I remember two places of silence and solitude. I would walk about a half an hour or so every morning and pray. There was an old Presbyterian church, at the corner, that’d I’d walk to with my paperback Bible. There was also one summer that we took our last week of holidays right before the girls went back to school…and the weather was twenty-one or twenty-two everyday. It was absolutely perfect.  As my skin got tanned, my mind and heart got full about the things about God as I read, poolside.

In all my ramblings, I want to say this: if Jesus being the Son of God, slowed down to pray, does it not make sense that we should too?  Time for silence and solitude, time for prayer, and time in the Word, time to meditate on the gospel…it is precious and necessary and amazingly shapes our lives.

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