Who is this Jamin guy anyway?
I am the husband of one and the father of nine. I was created to sing, to worship, to encourage, and to be steady. I am the Owner & Executive Director of Trinity Arts Center, a multi-disciplinary Arts Center in Eastern Tennessee, and the President of Trinity Arts Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization focused on funding arts education and performance. I've been involved with four music projects in my life -- Hot Pink Turtle, Spin Radio, Stand Like Stone, and of course, Jamin Rathbun.

In 2013, I added my Twitter feed to this site (below). To view the old content, just scroll down past the Twitter timeline. To keep in the loop on new posts, thoughts, and updates, just follow me on Twitter using the button below. Thanks!

Tweets by @jaminrathbun

box_bible bible

Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Ecclesiates 3:12, 9:9
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live... Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun.

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

I had a discussion with a neighbor the other day about the stress that begins to mount as you move into your 50's with the realization that you haven't saved enough for retirement, or you haven't accomplished as much as you'd like to, or that you haven't "arrived" at that moment of maturity and clarity that you always expected you would.

Let me preface my comments with a bit of a disclaimer -- I'm only 35 so... I don't pretend to understand the issues that you guys are dealing with. My hope in sharing the thoughts in this post, is to encourage you to focus on something other than your failures and to work toward a Biblical definition of happiness and contentment -- one that will encourage you to look at what can be, rather than what could have been.

Philippians 3:12-14
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus

With that said.... Part of the discussion with my neighbor was about the seemingly common experience for guys in their 50's to struggle with bouts of depression and thoughts of divorce. In addition, there seems to be an increased interest in lifestyle changes (new car, new job, new motorcycle) or lifestyle drugs (Zoloft, Viagra, Levitra, Cialis) to help jump start a feeling of going somewhere or add some excitement to what is shaping up to be a pretty boring life. First, just to make sure that you don't think you're alone, let's establish the universial experience of these feelings...

Solomon, the wisest (and one of the wealthiest) men in the history of the world, who had hundreds of women in his home, more camels and cattle that you could shake a stick at, and, I'm sure, the finest things that money could buy -- spent years searching for meaning in it all. What was it that he concluded? Enjoy life... and to "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

Here's what I see.

It is hard when life punches you in the stomach with an illness, or a job loss, or the death of a parent or friend. It is difficult to have a picture in your head of what a successful father and husband looks like, and then come to the realization that your life doesn't look anything like what you pictured. Each of our lives has been marked with events that have prompted us to say "Things change, from here on." or "I'm not wasting any more of the time that I'm given." but -- the reality is that most of us don't do it. Most of us slip right back into our old distractions and, barring a few minor changes, don't do much differently that we've done before.

So how do we break this pattern of failure? How do we arrive at a place where we can have peace and happiness and contentment?

First and foremost, you've got to realize that you can't. We are broken. We are missing a vital piece to the puzzle of us that requires the filling of the Holy Spirit to complete. If you haven't trusted God to forgive your sins, and to give you new (and eternal) life through atoning blood and sacrifice of his son Jesus, and to fill you with His Holy Spirit -- you need to do that now. There is no experience, no possession, and no relationship in life that can fill the emptiness of a life separated from God.

For those of you who are already trusting God for their eternal lives... Here's a few quick thoughts that I'm learning about contentment in this life. (As with everything I write, take them with a grain of salt.)
  1. Contentment comes from needing less, not having more.
  2. Never compare your insides to someone else's outsides. (courtesy of Hugh McLeod)
  3. God uses hardship to bring us to Him. Remember to look past the pain, to see where it might be taking you.
  4. There aren't many better ways to experience God's blessings and His love, than to have kids -- lots of them. = )
  5. Control your appetite -- for things, for food, for sex, for everything.
  6. Establish deep roots and long term relationships.
  7. Give more.
  8. Pray more.
  9. God is patient and loving -- and He knows what you need.
God has designed you in a very particular way... to accomplish a very specific task (or series of tasks). You are the way you are because God made you that way.

Stop looking for happiness in things. Stop expecting to create your own safety, and contentment, and peace, and meaning. You can't but -- God can.

John 16:33
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I'll close with a bit of a dark note but -- one that deserves to be noted. After all, it isn't about our temporary happiness, it's about God's will.

Ecclesiastes 11:9
Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.

Ecclesiastes 12:14
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

God knows what you need. God requires that you obey. Seek him and do what's right.

box_music music

For Your Glory
WorshipTogether.com posted this month's New Song Cafe, featuring Matt Maher and his new song, "For Your Glory."

I hadn't heard of Matt until today but it turns out that he's been around for a while, having released two previous albums -- "The End & The Beginning" in 2001 and "Welcome To Life" in 2003. After a quick peek at his previous work, I discovered that Matt has penned a couple songs that I'm already familiar with (Your Love Is Extravagant and Your Grace Is Enough) and a few more that have piqued my interest in picking up the discs.

Matt's music is a bit ecclectic, spanning everything from the hymn-like and liturgical song "Litany", to the James Taylor-esque "Welcome To Life", or the full on rock offering "You Are God." Anyway... There's some good stuff here and I'd recommend taking a listen.

The new album, "Overflow", isn't available on iTunes yet but -- you can pick up a copy at the Worship Together Store. You can also check out Matt's blog and tour info at his My Space site (which keeps crashing my browsers, by the way).

The New Song Cafe video includes a quick tutorial on how to play "For Your Glory" which highlights a couple new chord positions that were new to me and -- very helpful. Definitely check it out. = )

© 2006-2010 Jamin Rathbun & Superdink.com. All rights reserved.
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