What keeps you humble?

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Is there anything in your life that’s keeping you humble?

For me, one thing is my broken side mirror that is currently taped on like a boss.
I could fix it and almost have several times.
It’s not a hazard and I can see fine, but it’s become more to me lately.
It’s a reminder of a lesson learned.

I tried to beat out the closing gate of our subdivision and failed. Miserably.
The mirror shot out like a rocket.
So like the boy from the MacGyver generation that I am, I fashioned some tape into a side-mirror-keep-in-placer.
And wha-la… fixed!

So there’s that, but it also helps keep the temptation of having an inflated view of myself in its place as well.
Everytime I go back to my car from doing anything praise-worthy or in those moments someone is over-flattering, I see that mirror and am brought back to earth again.
“Oh yeah… I almost forgot… I’m an idiot.”

So for now I’m leaving it this way.
Who knows, I may fix it one day, like when Ava starts driving… ughh… like that will happen.

But it’s serving a greater purpose in my life… assisting in keeping me humble.

How’s that for a silver lining to a goof-ball move.

So what’s it for you?
It could be anything really, maybe something heavier like a “Thorn in the flesh” or a zit.

What’s helping keep you humble?

(side note: I routinely get insane middle-school-esque zits on ALL important occasions.)

I HATE discipline, but I LOVE my kids

A story of Discipline:
I recently witness a young boy nearly be hit by a car in a parking lot.
The mom yelled STOP to her child repeatedly, but he ignored her and took off, followed by the sound of screeching tires, as the car turned the corner and didn’t see him.

Everyone around saw what almost happened.
It was a terrofying moment.

However, I quickly realized it was the same child I had seen in the grocery store earlier, loudly acting out in disobedience to his mom’s repeated request.

This mom had seemed to let the child have the steering wheel in the store that day, letting him do whatever he wanted.
Now there could have been endless reasons of what was happening in her life personally that day, so I’m not judging her as a parent or for her displaying a lack of anything etc… We’ve all been there and NONE of us are perfect.
Least of all me.

But it was learning experience nonetheless.
I saw it as a missed opportunity to instill respect & obedience in a “safer” environment, that nearly resulted in a catastrophic conclusion later on.

And I get it. I have 2 kids, one who loves to pick the most in-opportune moment to act out and do anything but obey.
And everytime I’m faced with a choice.
Let my child win and give them whatever they want to be quiet or risk some mild embarrassment and go through the inconvenience of disciplining them.

I hate disciplining my girls.
I dispise it every time, cause I never feel “good” after.
I don’t like spanking or disciplining this little one that I LOVE so much.

There is no immediate joy or satisfaction in disciplining.
I usually wrestle with failure as a parent & guilt for at least the next hour… or week!

I know, I know… I’m sewing seeds in her life for her own good later on, but I hate the feeling of breaking her heart.
The same daddy who catches her and keeps her safe is now expressing disappointment and I know she feels the separation her disobedience has caused.

When I say “STOP” it might be as simple as needing her to not complain or keep sassing her mom.
Maybe she’s running down our wooden stairs in socks without holding on or leaving toys out… EVERYWHERE!

But what if that same “STOP” demands her immediate obedience to SAVE HER LIFE!!!

Am I more concerned about hurting her feelings or saving her life in that moment?
Does she hear my voice and obey it, no matter what her viewpoint is or her evaluation of its “fairness” at that moment?

Personal application:
Often when disciplining, I walk away feeling broken by the conviction that God has been whispering those same disciplines to me. Through the pains of life I learn and grow and though sometimes seemingly unfair or unjust I have to learn to trust He is aware of what is best for me in my life and knows what I need more then I do.

Often it’s the wooden spoon of life moments that are saving me from much greater pain and consequences…
Just like I explained to Ava again earlier today and probably again tomorrow.
The pain of a spanking or whatever form of discipline for that moment is far less then the pain of what “could” happen in her disobedience.
She’s only 6 but I believe she is learning the early lessons in life, that the wages of sin, ultimately is death.
And that’s a lot to take in. Our disobedience today resulting from a sin nature that began long ago.

But she’s learning this in little doses… via discipline.
For her now it might be the death of going out for icecream or having her baby doll taken away.
Maybe the death of going to play or something she really wanted to do today.

I’m not perfect and I’m full of dumb thinking and am trying my best,
but I can’t shake the reality that a mother nearly watched her 5 yr old pay the ultimate price for disobedience.
I almost saw the result of NOT disciplining unfold at it’s worst.

Seems heavy right? Absolutely.
But if we don’t teach them who will?

I remember my dad always told me,
        “Casey, the world will punish you a lot harder then I will if you don’t listen to me.”
I knew He was protecting me. Didn’t always agree or like it, but I believed him.

And now years later, it’s funny how you hear your parents voice again when talking to your own kids.

And so I hate discipline… But greater then my hate of it, is my LOVE for my daughters.

I’m tearing up as I type this, because I have dreams for her as does God for me!

So with every discipline, I pray she makes the bigger connection.
She one day will make the connection of my discipling her being a result of my great love for her.

However, my ears also keep hearing the Father’s disciplines in MY life as well.
That I’ll trust Him the way I want Ava to trust me.
And remember that He loves me and is protecting me as well, always wanting the BEST for me too.

I know this is a touchy topic, but how do you deal with this in your home?
Anything you’ve learned or is this a polar opposite way of thinking for you?
I’d love your thoughts!

Here’s some thoughts to encourage us:

Hebrews 12:6-11

“For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.

Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

The Plan

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“I’ve waited a hundred years
But I’d wait a million more for you.
‘Cause nothing prepared me for
What the privilege of being yours would do”

– Turning Page by Sleeping At Last

I was taking pictures of the girls on valentine’s day and kept having this thought over and over again.
Neither of these 2 little girls were “the plan” for us.
Here I am taking thousands of pictures, filling up endless hard-drives of these 2 little people that didn’t arrive when we expected, and have proven to be more then we ever thought we could handle & I couldn’t be happier!

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However, it’s funny, cause though you know life will change,
you have no idea just how much YOU are going to change as well.
You can’t prepare for the depths of love and fear and a million other emotions that accompany having a child.
There’s no plan for levels of exhaustion you are able to sustain, while STILL being required to function at full capacity!
AND meet the expectations back in the “real world” that kept on moving while you were up at 3am, changing a blown-out diaper!! (can I get an Amen!)

Side Note:
     It’s been my mantra the last several years, that real rockstars are the one’s that are holding a guitar in one hand
    and a dirty diaper in the other 🙂

I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve had that resulted in leading baggy-eyed worship the next morning.
Unlike your laptop kids don’t have a “sleep” mode, patiently waiting for you to wake them up again.
Sure, books help warn you, but they sure don’t change the sheets of your bed that your child just peed in at 2am.
      “Really?! You just peed in my bed, it’s 2am… wait a minute… when did you actually sneak in our bed?!?!”

But back to “the plan”
They aren’t aware they are part of any kind of plan.
They don’t care that you have to pay the bills or find a way to pick life back up where you left it, before they arrived.
And sadly, not even Siri can help you, when you haven’t slept in days
and you’re starting to resemble a zombie from walking dead.

And yet, with all this, I’ve never been so grateful and overwhelmed by God.

His timing.  Perfect.
His plans.  Worth waiting for.

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But I get it and I don’t want to sound insensitive, ’cause while you are in the waiting… it seems like forever.
Maybe your timing for your plans seem to be passing you by… your ideal window slipping through your fingertips.
Know that we waited 4 years for Rosalin with a couple of misscarriages in between.
Every friend we had seemed to be on their 3rd child and honestly, we had just begun to accept that this was God’s plan for us, when little Rosa showed up. I tear up even typing this.

And now here we are again, finding out we have a 3rd coming in August that we didn’t even think was possible without major help and it’s not at all what Anisa and I were expecting or planning.
But it’s happening… and it’s His plan… and we’re once again letting go of our plan and trusting in Him as best we can.

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So as I’m taking these pictures, I see them as reminders.
Reminders that they were worth the years of waiting and dreaming and trusting.
Reminders that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The moments I almost gave up… but didn’t… and all the heartbrakes in between… whew…
I see now were all worth it.

But not just back then, these snap shots are current reminders to me today!

To keep trusting and waiting in the meantime for those “other” things that my heart is dreaming about.

God is able.  He can be trusted.  He’s not forgotten you and isn’t ignoring you.
He knows your plans.  But He knows His plans are best. He created time. So His timing will be best.
So keep waiting… keep waiting for His best.

You aren’t alone.

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Some references of encouragement:

Ephesians 3:20   –   Isaiah 58:11   –   Romans 8:28   –   Proverbs 3:5-6   –   Jeremiah 29:11

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18   –   Psalm 139:16   –   Psalm 27:14  –   Matthew 7:7-11   –   Isaiah 43:1-6

Let My Soul Sing

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Today at Buckhead church we sang this song above from my new record.
Was such a humbling joy to lead and see it connecting so well the 1st time through.
I wrote this song with a friend of mine Ross King just before summer time.
We were talking about many things, but one of those being how, once you find hope in Jesus, it changes you.
How once you are standing in light of the truth that has rescued you, you have to respond to it.

Once you know how Jesus came (humbly), and how He was treated all the way to the cross (horribly) and how He did what we couldn’t do for ourselves and overcame sin and death… it causes a shift in your thinking and reason for living.  
Or it at least it should.

John 8: 31-32  (the message)

“Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”

It’s the “living out” part that we get hung up on sometimes.
Letting the lyrics on screens translate into a life of praise.
I’ll confess, the singing is the easy part. My actions don’t line up like they should.
Which is all the more reason to sing often and keep re-aligning my heart and mind with His.

So with “Let My Soul Sing” we chose the hymn-style, more timeless route and hopefully it will draw people to the truth of who Jesus is, what He did for us on the cross and then what our response should be.
And lets be honest… our response should be… a lot… a lot of response.
How’s that for grammar.
Singing songs?  Yes.    Raising hands?  Absolutely.    Dancing?  If you have the skills 😉
But also..
Forgiving others?  You bet.    Loving our enemies?  With all we have.    Kindess instead of vengance?  YES.

To sum it up:
    He is holy, He alone is worthy, and our greatest song will be a life lived out for His glory.

I’ve enjoyed leading this song in the new year and I’m excited for how God might use it to draw people in to His great love for them in ways that will change our lives.
To help with that, we are giving out the song and chord charts at the links below for FREE!!!
There will be more to come with this in the future, but just to get things started, help youself to the links below!

FREE CHART to use at Church:
http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a8b4cf0a47b908b24aa28cce2&id=ba3f714d49

You can get the song here on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/let-my-soul-sing/id736379450?i=736379468
(of course I’m obligated to ask you to check the whole record out if you would, as we are excited about it!)

or get the song HERE for FREE: (2 options)
1. http://freeccm.com/2014/01/14/free-download-from-casey-darnell/
2. http://ht.ly/sAoCP (scroll down)

*Also, coming soon, a live video of this song and more from Buckhead and North Point Church. 

*Picture Credit: Dave Adamson (your rock sir!!)

I know who goes before me…

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I was riding one of those tandem bikes with my daughter Ava this past summer, and we were a few miles out, when out of nowhere one of those gulf-coast storms descended on us.
Around the panhandle area of Florida, massive storms can show up in minutes and that’s exactly what happened.
Lightning and thunder accompanied the ever-approaching and GROWING dark clouds.
The kind of lightning and thunder that happen simultaneously, sounding like it hit the tree beside you, so you know it means business.

At this point, Ava and I hadn’t been riding this type of bike long and I had just gained her confidence that I could stear both of us without crashing. However this storm brought on a new sense of fear for me.
Mainly… my daughter is in harms way and this situation has become very dangerous for both of us.

The next moment I won’t ever forget.
Desparately trying to get us to shelter, completely soaked and barely able to see through the rain,
I glanced and yelled back, “Ava you okay back there?!?”
Fully expecting to see her terrofied and crying, I saw and heard something totally different.

Ava responded, “DAD, THIS IS AWESOME!!! BEST DAY EVER!!! God You are AMAZING!!!”

Awesome?!? Amazing?!?
I busted out laughing and was like “It sure is Ava, God is awesome… just keep holding on!!!”

We got home safe and sound. Got cleaned up and had a blast of a time.

Later on I was leading worship and this story jumped in my mind right before setting up the song “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)”
How was Ava able to be so excited and say that in the midst of a clearly scarey storm?
In the face of something terrofying, over our head and out of our control, Ava was worshipping with her heart full of amazement and her voice full of praise.

She was able to rejoice in a storm, because she believed that the one who went before her was in control and would bring her through it. Her trust in me gave her freedom to sing!

It painted such a picture for me of what that song is putting voice to, that I had to share the story before we sang.
When leading, I love finding ways to re-canvas a song when I can or feel it’s needed.
Taking the lyrics we’ve maybe been singing a lot and giving them a fresh perspective for the audience.

It also lead to the writing of the song “Marvelous” I wrote about in a previous post.
Marvelous was heavily inspired by what I saw in Ava and was written a couple weeks later.

His strength abounds in our weakness, and we are changed from the inside out when we declare how awesome and marvelous He truly is, regardless of the storms of life we may be experiencing.
Our attention is shifted from the storms that surround us, all that is broken in this world and in our lives, to the ONE who will one day heal and restore all things!  We can choose to lift our grateful voices in song and praise Him, “even when…”

So may we have that same joy and confidence that I saw in my little girl, knowing He goes before us and is by our side! May we trust Him, with confidence that He is always with us, in everything… so that we too can say,
        “THIS IS AWESOME!!! BEST DAY EVER!!! God You are AMAZING!!!”

Marvelous

Since the release of my self-titled record in November 2013, we’ve been traveling around the country a good bit doing our best to incorporate some of the new songs in worship.  Primarily Let My Soul Sing, All The World, We Believe and Marvelous.

The song “Marvelous” has shown itself to be a grabbable tune right out the gate, bringing a high energy to the front end of a set list.
At the core, it’s a song of gratefulness and sets the foundation of “Why” we sing… kickin off a time of worship in praise for all God has done.
A shift can happen in our thinking and in the way we view our circumstances or purpose in life, when we proclaim His power and awesomeness over our lives.

However, since its release, it has undergone some… changes… updates if you will.
Enough so that we’ve been getting a lot of questions about it… 2 things actually:  (the reason for this blog post)
     1. How to play the song (chords etc)
     2. How we play it live (why is it different) vs. the recording.

In short, this song was a late addition to the record.
We were already done tracking 10 songs and had begun vocals when this song showed up.
Feeling like their might be a gap on the record, Ian and I, basically wrote this song in the kitchen of his studio in about an hour, and then tracked it and sang it down the next day.
Sometimes that can be an awesome thing, othertimes it can cut short the process needed to make sure it’s right.
Unfortunately this wasn’t realized in time.
Not that there is anything wrong with the original version, but with some encouragement and help from friends of mine like Todd Fields, it became clear the song could be better.
However, it’s the hard work of taking criticism, keeping humble and choosing to see if something could be better, that ALWAYS pays off in the end.
So we feel like that’s what we now have in Marvelous… a better song.
(Huge thanks to Todd for believing in and pushing on this song and helping make it better!!!)

So what changed???

About half the lyrics got a face-lift.
The video demos those and how they sit in the melody.
The melody and arrangement are basically the same.
Overall it gained focus, became more co-hesive and now connects better.

Hope you like it and if you try it out leading worship, I’d love to know how it connected for you!

VERSE 1
Em                                    C             G
We can’t hold back our grateful song
Em                                    C                  G
For Who You are, For what You’ve done

PRE-CHORUS
C                                                   Em    D
Wonderful Savior, No One is Greater

CHORUS
G
How awesome is the Lord our God
C
Rich in grace and full of love
Em                                 C                        G
How marvelous, how marvelous You are

TURN G

VERSE 2
Em                               C       G
Day after Day, Your glory shines
Em                              C                  G
Salvation’s Love, Redemption’s Light

(repeat PRE-CHORUS)

CHORUS 2
G
How awesome is the Lord our God
C
Rich in grace and full of love
Em                        C
How marvelous, how marvelous
G
You are, the hope for all our days
C
With every breath, We sing Your praise
Em                     C                            G
How marvelous, how marvelous You are

BRIDGE
G                                                     C
We sing for the Risen Son, We sing for the Victory won
G                                                   C                          C
For Jesus has overcome, Marvelous, He’s Marvelous
G                                                     C
We sing for the Risen Son, We sing for the Victory won
Em                                               C                              C
For Jesus has overcome, Marvelous, He’s Marvelous

(repeat CHORUS)