U2 and Larry Norman recordings immortalized as part of the the Library of Congress


U2s “Joshua Tree” (1987) and Larry Norman’s “Only Visiting this Planet” were included in a group of 25 albums to be part of the Library of Congress as quintessentially representative of the aural history of the 70s and 80s.

Bono’s album is a no brainer, but many will wonder who Larry Norman is. His “Only Visiting this Planet” from 1972 remains only one my all time favorite albums still today. It belongs not just because of the content but because of it’s significance.

Larry Norman pioneered a whole new genre of music, Christian Rock, and was not allowed to play in churches, labeled an apostate by many, but a hero to those like me, who identified with his music.

What a cool honor to have his 1972 album inducted into the Library of Congress. To bad he’s not here any longer… He was only visiting after all, and went to be with Jesus in 2008.

If I had the privilege of choosing a list of my Top 10 Christian albums from yesteryear for their significance in my life, I would have to include:

  • Randy Stonehill’s “Welcome to Paradise” (1976),
  • Keith Green’s “So you Wanna go back to Egypt,” (1980), because he gave it out free through the mail for any donation.
  • Petra’s “Never Say Die” (1981),
  • Benny Hester’s “Nobody Knows Me Like You” (1981),
  • Steve Taylor’s “I Want to be a Clone” (1982),
  • Amy Grant’s “Age to Age” (1982),
  • the 77s “All Fall Down” (1984),
  • DC Talk’s “Jesus Freak” (1995)
  • and Audio Adrenaline’s “Bloom” (1996).

What’s album did I leave out? What did you absolutely wear out as a new believer?

Read the ABC News Article here.

Lessons I learned in the backwash of being Fired by the Church.


I got fired from my dream job once. Well technically, I was “resigned.” If you’d been in ministry, you know how the all too familiar story goes, the details of my story are inconsequential. What’s important, is what I learned in failure’s wake. At the time, “getting resigned” was the most painful experience in my life to that point. I was hurt, defensive, disillusioned, disoriented… and I had to finish out the school year, 5 months away. It was brutal. For me, getting fired, even though I felt it was completely unjustified, taught me some valuable things.

1. Perspective is Everything

When I got resigned, it felt like it was the end of the world. Months later, I could see I was wrong. What looked like a really bad thing, in the rearview mirror, was actually God protecting me from a horrible chapter that was coming to that church. Even when it seems like God is not acting in our best interest, He is in fact, in that very moment, acting in our best interest. We just can’t see it yet.

2. I’m a Pastor whether I get paid for it or not

Getting fired, helped me discover that I was a Pastor whether or not I had a title or an office. I started to go to the same coffee shop every morning after I got resigned, and guess who became my congregation? You guessed it, the people in the coffee shop: the baristas, the owners, the customers. I naturally started to meet the needs of the people I came in contact with every day. I ministered to people I talked to. I prayed with some, counselled others. I even did a wedding for one of the baristas. I discovered  that I am a pastor because that’s what God wired me to do, not because I got paid to do it. My job no longer defined me. That was a fantastic discovery.

3. Getting fired humbled me a little.

It’s so easy to become arrogant in ministry, and it’s such a turn off. You get some success and you start to feel like it’s you.  You start to think you’re special. Your logical mind thinks “Sure, everyone is special, but I’m extra special because my ministry is growing more than everyone else I know.” That’s hogwash. It makes me wanna throw up. I can’t stand it now when I see guys in the pulpit who are full of themselves. Get fired and you’ll see. Ministry will go on without you. Yes God chooses to use you. But He could choose anyone. God allows us a front row seat for a time. It’s such a privilege to get to play a small part in eternal things. Don’t take it for granted. It may stop some day. And you know God can’t stomach arrogance either. (James 4:5-7)

4.  Some things you only learn through failure.

Failure can be a great teacher if you allow it to be. When I coached Jr. Tackle football, I remember during our practices, trying to get my son, who played cornerback, to make his first step backward on the snap. He was aggressive and very quick, and he wouldn’t listen. I warned him he would get burned someday. During our next game, it happened. A lightening fast receiver sprinted by him and wide open, caught a pass for a touchdown. My son came over to the sideline, head down, knowing he had failed, and was finally ready to receive instruction. I didn’t even need to say it. Failure was the teacher he needed to learn his lesson.  He never repeated that mistake again. He had learned his lesson through failure. In fact, I believe, there are some lessons we only learn through failure.

Lastly, remember, regardless of the human reasons that you “got resigned,” God’s hand is in it, guiding and directing you.

You can’t see it now. But it’s true. You will likely look back someday at this situation and think, “God’s hand was in this,” and “good stuff came out this super painful time.” I hope that encourages you. This doesn’t have to be fatal. God can redeem any pain for his glory. And He will, if you are faithful to go through the healing process.

I get a good laugh when I remember back to when the pastor who “resigned” me said I was too old for youth ministry. 14 years later, I’m still in Youth Ministry. Thank God I didn’t let anyone else’s word for me, define my calling.

Don’t let this define you. Get up. Brush off the dust, and keep going. You’re going to be fine. I remember an old youth pastor once told me, “you’re no one till you’ve been fired.” Welcome to the club my friend. You are not alone!

~Mark

Related post Youth Worker – You’re going to get fired someday. 

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