Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March Forth!!!

“It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena... Who, at
the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who,
at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so
that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who
neither know victory nor defeat"

- Theodore Roosevelt



I love this T. Roosevelt quote, and have used it in at least one, maybe two, of my books because I so appreciate, and want to encourage, people who are “in the arena”…people who keep going, no matter what. Proverbs 24:16 says that a righteous man may fall seven times (the number of infinity), but he always gets back up again. Getting up…moving forward…pressing on…refusing to quit…today, on this date in particular, I celebrate all of these concepts and ideas.

In the introductory conversation with my first college room-mate as we were moving into the dorm, I asked him when his birthday was, and he said, “I will tell you the date and you will never forget it, because it is March 4th, and it sounds like the command to “March forth!”…and he was right…that was 32 years ago, and I have never forgotten it. I’m sure that I’ll call him later today to wish him a happy birthday, as I have done every March 4th in the last three decades, because I always remember the play on words of this date.

We have been singing…and singing and singing…this really great song at CITN for the last two Sundays called Moving Forward, written by Israel Houghton, and the worship leader from my cousin-in-law’s church, Ricardo Sanchez (that would be Jentezen Franklin, Pastor of Free Chapel Worship Center in Gainesville, GA).

If you haven’t heard it, you may not be able to grasp the power of it by just reading the lyrics, but here they are, anyway. The song is very timely for me and for us right now.

Moving Forward
By: I. Houghton & R. Sanchez

Chorus –
I’m not going back, I’m moving ahead
I’m here to declare to you my past is over
In You, old things are made new
Surrendered my life to Christ, I’m moving, moving forward.

V. 1.
What a moment You have brought me to.
Such a freedom I have found in You, You’re the healer
Who makes all things new, Yeah, yeah, yeah


V. 2.
You have risen with all power in Your hands
You have given me a second chance
Hallelujah, hallelujah, yeah, yeah yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

…Not going back, I’m moving ahead
I’m here to declare to you my past is over
In You, old things are made new
Surrendered my life to Christ, I’m moving, moving forward

Forward…forward…forward…forward…forward

You make all things new
Yes, You make all things new and
I will follow You forward…


The term “surrendered my life to Christ” probably means many different things to each of my readers, but the main point of the song, to me, is the concept of moving forward (or “marching forth”), and that idea has universal appeal, regardless of your theology. I personally love the part of the song when it just keeps repeating “You make all things new, yes, you make all things new…” It gives me great joy to sing those words over and over again! We can move forward (march forth), because He makes all things new!

My devotional book A Year In The Now is currently sold out (we’re about to publish a fourth edition with a new cover and a foreword by Dr. Kelley Varner) but each day’s reading is posted on the CITN site. We don’t, however, post the poems that I wrote for each of the months, so for those of you who have the book, go read the poem for March. It’s one of my personal favorites, and it’s all about the newness of spring and the possibilities that come with it.

Three things before I go…(1) Debye is the Pastor of the Day at the State Legislature today, which is very cool (I’m always so proud of her)…(2) For those of you who are ministers connected with me in any way, don’t forget that Body Builders is tomorrow at 10 AM in the CITN café (if you don’t know what Body Builders is, go to the CITN website and check it out…(3) For those of you who miss the earlier, edgier stuff that was on this site, you can still find basically all of the original articles and comments online in cached form. If you’re interested I can tell you how to find them…

But most importantly, whatever you are going through today, don’t move in reverse…there’s empowerment in simple determination and perseverance. So don’t quit…MARCH FORTH!!!

20 comments:

Teezy313 said...

Happy "March Forth"!! This is my first time on BLOGINTHENOW and I am soooo lovin this!! I can't wait to see what will spring from this!!

Avatar said...

Since I'm still up, I'll be the first to welcome you Teezy313. The water's great here, ain't it!

March forth! "To infinity and beyond!"

I'm thinking its time for some rest. (smile) G'night.

Leesa said...

Bish,

OK, I am freakin' out just a bit....how cool is it that I ran across this quote by Theodore Roosevelt YESTERDAY and first thought was to send it to you and Pastor Deb and tell you how glad I am that you continue in the arena! I didn't do it cause I don't want to use up my "email free" cards :) I love being in covenant with you both! You know what I love about this site in particular (and just for the record, I nearly always read, One on One also!) but in this blog its like "Bishop with collar off"....meaning only that you add more of what you think about things. I LOVE THAT! Its like getting to be at the dinner table and listening to you talk! Which is why I think my Pastor Debye should do a blog too...ok maybe it would be only bullet points...but she could do an audio one :) hahah I just love listening to you share! Thanks for letting us in to listen ...and even dialogue! You are the best! I am excited about "March -ing forth"! Love you! Leesa

JOY said...

CONGRATULATIONS Pastor Debye for being Pastor of the Day @ the State Legislature. My spirit leaps, reading that!

* Bish, I enjoyed your March poem

* Yes, I miss the earlier, edgier stuff & am interested in reading the original articles. How do I get there from here?

tracy said...

David and I are waking up in the middle of the night singing that song. And the word about March FORTH- That is freaking awesome!

Iris said...

Marching forward always brings new sight to new things…. We can’t go back…. Back is Boring… Disturbing…. Stale… Mundane… Hurtful…. Stressful….

Forward is the only way…. But as we move, and trust in God to guide us each step of the way… moving up the stair case…we see all of the big and small miracles that God plants along the way… some unnoticed in our past journey… but now noticed as we look forward… It’s new… adventurous… it’s exciting… our sight is forever changing… seeing a new facets of God… Yes we are marching forward… The past is over… all things are new… He has put the power in our hands… thank God for second chances…thank God for new rainbows… new colors… for moving forward… or up the stair case as you will… and then to join others on the journey who also bring new revelation… and a new facets to the face and character of God…. We do see Him clearer… and the vision of Him is absolutely amazing… and gets more and more astounding as the journey progresses….

This is an exciting time in the Body of Christ…. I am thrilled to live in such a time as this… and I am so energized about moving forward…

March Forth…
Iris

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Thanks, Teezy...hope you're enjoying your spring break...Avatar, hope you got some sleep!...Leesa, thanks for the observation, I enjoy the format very much...glad to have you at the table, and I'd like another cup of coffee, please (drive safely if you're coming down tomorrow for BB)...thanks, Joy, Debye was totally awesome at the captial today...they all loved her and she just lit up the place (she got a very similar reaction to the one at MLK day last year)...I'll be back with instructions to find the earlier stuff...that's so cool, Tracy...and yes, Iris, this is a very exciting time! Thanks, everybody...love you all!

Bishop Jim Swilley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bishop Jim Swilley said...

...oh yeah, you can only see any of them when you click on "cached"...

DoubleBack Alley said...

Think of all the famous marches in history; the Boston Tea Party was to protest the taxation of a favorite repast beverage. Bastille Day originally started as a quiet protest march from the national assembly to the King Louis XVI's castle to demand equality. The Bastille just happened to where the King's men stopped the protesters. Seven prisoners were freed despite the King’ orders because of sheer volume of protest. Sherman's march to the sea effectively broke the back of the Confederacy by razing its' main railway center and later laying its' last main seaport to seed. The 1963 civil rights march was orchestrated to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation and it’s unfinished business. All of these marches have something in common.

They marched away from a way of thinking that was rooted in traditions of old and into the manifest destiny that they had determined for themselves. Each step pitted people against people. The somewhat overlooked nuance is that there was universal appreciation for the protest.

Throughout history, a minority invariably changed streams of conscience. Many times we lament the lack of people or resources while forgetting that all great revolutions started with a person who had little or no resources. This is especially true of tyrants. All great revolutions start with a march.

The great revolutionary stated that it just takes two or three gathered in His name. I want to gather in His name and cause something great to happen in the Spirit realm which manifests an earthly reality.

Anyone want to join me in a stroll on March Forth?

Ain't God Good?

Erik said...

‘Moving Forward’ is a great song and clearly ministers to so many. The first time I heard it, very powerful, I was thrilled we were going to sing it in church. The whole point of marching forth, staying in the arena when it seems so tempting to throw in the towel, but we stay, in the words of Neo from Matrix, as he faced Smith in one of the movies when asked “Why do you keep getting up, every time “ Neo responded, “Because I choose to”. Loved that, we stay in the arena because we choose to. We don’t know anything else.

We keep moving forward because we believe that there is more. We keep walking, running, crawling, to the Tree of Life – Thank God He placed the angel there to guard the path clearing it of the weeds and thistles we put on it , talk about the eternal groundskeeper following us with mercy & grace- so we can always find it, no matter how many times we leave Eden under the influence of the disease from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good & evil. We move forward, follow the path the angel guides us through, back to the Tree of Life. We eat, we see that this is the Tree to eat from , as well as all others in the garden, trusting God, we do not eat of that one other tree, but from any other. We trust God, and have no appetite for that one tree. Each time we eat from the Tree of Life, we see more. Our vision expands, the iris focuses the light, expands our perception. We see more of what has always been right in front of us, in our hand, than ever before. As we make that fruit our continued diet, we live in a new world, the actual world, not that sleepy, vague, fearful, feverish world we create with the fruit from the other tree.

We find we have always been in Eden, only in our minds were we separated. We see there is no rock we need to hide behind when God comes walking, no fig leaves are necessary, there is no vulnerability of our ‘privates’ thoughts, hopes, dreams, desires, joy, love, we see we have been made righteous from the foundation of all time. We do not weasel out and blame “that ‘woman’ you gave me” , pretending we were victimized by some trick of God, we know, see , feel, smell, taste, and hear that It Is Good, as God has called it from the beginning. We live forward. We are not afraid to be our complete bare selves before God, admitting everything, even that yes, we have eaten from that tree He said not to, and we say we choose to and that now we choose differently, we receive the grace and mercy freely given - no hiding, no covering, no blame, just love, awe, gratitude, joy, praise, worship, fun, belief, wonder.

We ARE in Eden, The Tree of Life is really here and available – what were we thinking eating that other fruit, knowledge of good and evil, addicted to judging, fear, bitterness, scarcity, pointing fingers, worrying about the specks in everyone’s eyes, bumping into them with our beams sticking out of our eyes.

Every meal we choose the Tree of Life, instead of a meal of the other fruit, we become healthier. We climb higher, get up quicker, move forward, release the past, forgive, embrace God, ourselves, each other. We shower our love out, and bathe in the love we receive. This is good eating.

We choose the good part. We see, eyes wide open.

peacemaker said...

To March Forth is an exercise in our human nature. We, as the product of evolution,(God as the First Cause of the process), are driven by instinct to move in a progressive fashion. It's against the evolutionary current and the seemingly magnetic pull to allow ourselves to regress. Going backward is unhealthy, both physically and spiritually. As we progress in our physical reality and go from glory to glory spiritually, we become a "new creation".
It's not natural to become what we've already been, so falling back or regressing creates a mutant mix of who we're supposed to be and who we were in a previous incarnation and that can't be a pretty sight.
Paul understood this concept fully when he wrote "forgetting those things which are behind, press on...". When we follow the evolutionary impulse to March Forth, we steadily become, in the natural, who and what we are supposed to be, and spiritually, are born again over and over emerging with each birth as a New Creation man or woman flowing forward towards the ultimate prize of our high calling...to become immersed in our complete Christ-ness.
God truly does "Make All Things New" as we continue to "March Forth".

Avatar said...

Yes, I did get some sleep, made new again. But the Buzz Lightyear quote still seems appropriate. Maybe it's DBA's call to a March Forth Spirit stroll pulling it back out. Let's go! Lots of new names--its starting to LOOK like a march.

christina said...

I really appreciate this blog, sometimes I need to be reminded of the truth I know. I’ve been feeling a little “stuck” lately, not exactly dwelling over the past, but definitely visiting certain things. It’s important to remember where you have come from and I also believe it’s sometimes necessary to confront and “deal with” issues from the past, and all that jazz. It is, however, abundantly refreshing to be so simply reminded that in God all things are made new, that moving forward beats moving back, and that I can declare that my past is over. Now is always more important and I will not miss it. And no matter what is behind me, no matter what, I will march forth. I live out of state and unfortunately have not been able to use my computer, so I haven’t even heard the song Dad was referring to, but I won’t even feel regret over what I may have missed in the past few services. Instead I will be thankful; thankful for CITN, thankful for being able to receive even though I am physically far away, and I will look forward to tomorrow nights service. P.S. the play list is the jam! Crazy good.    

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

Is this actually and finally my darling daughter showing up on my blog?! I'm so happy that you finally got your computer fixed and got back into the 21st century!

You did miss a lot (I don't know if you ever personally read the article about Jared, but I kind of started everything over a few days ago)...anyway, thanks for the great message...I miss you and the most beautiful baby in the world very much, and can't wait to see you both in a few days.

I don't know if you've heard from Daisson, but when and if you do, tell him about this site...

And I'm really glad that you like the playlist (I got your text). I know how much you love all kinds of music, and I thought about you a lot while I was creating it.

I love you so much and I am so proud of you...we'll talk later, but please visit here often.

Kiss Sofia, Sofia, Sofia! for me...

later,

Papa Deux

Iris said...

Wow the revelation is pouring in…. The light is getting more intense… Loved the point of being at the tree of life the light gets brighter, and our perception of God gets clearer…especially as we stand in front of God with only nakedness as our covering… Thanks Erik… Awesome Revelation… I am excited about this journey…. Moving forward is no option… DBA thanks for the history… It enlarges the concept of the march… So Avatar I declare “March Forth” lets march on through all of eternity… Hut… two, three, four… This is the real light sooooo… I think I will leave my sunglasses at home… What do you think…?

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

And thanks DBA, Erik, PM, Avatar, and Iris...you all get an A+ on your entries...

JOY said...

LOL - re: Debye spoke @ the Captial. Yes, she has that affect on people! (thank You, Holy Spirit!)

Understood what you meant. Which is funny, actually. I used to agonize over my spelling blunders.

After hours of scouring (potential) submissions, my eeka-meeka alarm system would spot the offending, recalcitrant, grossly misshapen word form wannabe that morphed from my original intention.

I'd be whisked back to some other time, where the tiny desk was uncomfortably rigid for my spirit. Where voices of echoes past declared, "Avaunt thee, foul spirit of spelling errorrrr!" (acck! Some got on us. Scrape it off!)

But one day, I gave myself permission to hold the paper & write the way I want to. (cue celestial choir)

I've slapped my forehead in exasperation from hours (nay, eternity) of typing & re-checks to discover (after they posted) I missed a few werdz.

It was like, "Gimme a break!"

And then, I wondered, "Huh? Who's that?"

But almost as soon as the welts went down, (cue some more angelic voices & hit the lights) YES! OF COURSE! BRILLIANT!

If I can't even release micelf from minor mess-ups, what about the (cue shrill, scary medley - like, say, elevator music) colossal (though mostly unintentional) crap?

Ahh. And then I ate an elephant.

* Thanks for directions to the cache. EUREKA!! GOOD NEWS!! Bonanza! I'm hopping! I'm singing!

* btw - isn't it funny that people call it the New Age MOVEMENT? Cuz, if, in Him, we live and MOVE and have our being - then, what's so new about God?

Oh, probably just everything.

Iris said...

Christina… So glad you could join us… glad your computer is working now and you are in the cyber community again. Welcome if I may… and hope to hear more from you in the near future…

From one who sees from a far… I am and we all are proud of you….

Avatar said...

Me's in the "we all" crowd too, Christina--Welcome.

Saw you ITB, Leesa. Lu-king guud and full of joy!