Play it again Sam


I love this film. I love this song – always bop along – can’t seem to help it!

🙂 🙂 🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂

Okay: playtime over – back to work …

Study for today is: Matthew 22 – Jesus takes on all comers, wipes the floor with them and wows the crowds. Discuss …

* “Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.”
* “When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.”
* “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.”
* “When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.”
* “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them …”
* “No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Intellectually wonderful – Appeals to our “looking good” gene – Lends itself towards good bible knowledge – Should be able to convert a whole bunch of sinners doing this – Just need to work harder – Work to copy Jesus – Work to speak like – Work to be … Ma-an – I’m solid gone … “I want to walk like you, talk like you, too. You see it’s true, an ape like me, can learn to be human too.

:-/ :-/ :-/

We talk about the body of Christ, talk about the tree having many branches, paint lots of pictures of being part of something. And that is most certainly true. Yet I wonder …

How much of that is rooted in “an ape like me can learn to be Jesus too”? How much of that is wanting to be something we are not? That we really should be able to wipe the floor with sinners, the church, authority, religious fanatics, those who do not agree with what we believe, the entire town, world and universe – we should be able to convert everyone we meet, pass in the street, sit next to on a bus – we can do it – we should do it – we will be that person – we can be Jesus if we work hard enough.

Listen …
Look Him in the eye …
Grasp His shoulders and pull Him in … surrender …

”But I love the way you make tea … how you listen … how you love … how you ask the wrong question … say the wrong thing … laugh in the wrong places … How that conversation you had with your friend Jenny on the way to work – you never knew a man called Richard Jones was ear-wigging – you never even saw him – nor did you know how it changed his life … All those things you never see, never think are important in you, never have others think are important in you. That is all the “important stuff” I see and love and crave – that you are perfect at – all that stuff you never think is good enough for me.

Please don’t try and be Me. Please don’t try and be anyone. Just be you. Be who you really are. Be free of copycat faith, copycat relationship, copycat discipling … copycat everything and anything. You are perfect. Always. Put down your beloved mirror of failure, sin and imperfection – the one you carry and check constantly. Because when you “try” – when you “work harder” – when you “work” to become something you are not – You tell Me that I got it all wrong. That you know better.

And every time you lose a little bit more of who you are. A little bit more of who you really should be. And you lose a little bit of us in the process (isn’t that just another strand of barbed wire you put between us … why do you love barbed wire so much … ?)

Now … I just love that song …

Play it again Sam!”

🙂 🙂 🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂


34 thoughts on “Play it again Sam

  1. I always read people’s posts inline in me email box, so off I trundled over here to say: “Chuck me a link to the song, Dude!” But it IS here, in all its glory. Twice 😉 And I loved reading today’s post 🙂 Thank you Paul.

    • “Chuck me a link, dude”
      Now I am solid gone!! Love the style!! Thank you for the smile and chuckle to start my day!!
      “I’m the king of the swingers …”

  2. Great song and great post. I wonder why we try to be somebody, anybody but our true selves, the person that God made us to be. One of my favourite songs at the moment is “All of me” by John Legend. I think of how God loves us when I hear the words:
    “All of me
    Loves all of you.
    Loves your curves and all your edges
    All your perfect imperfections.
    Give all to me
    I’ll give all to you”
    and then our reply
    “You’re my end and my beginning
    Even when I lose I’m winning
    Cos I give
    All to you
    As you give
    All to me”
    I’m sorry that I am not sure how to link it. Hope you know the song I mean. John Legend wrote it as a love song to his wife. I sing along with it as God’s love song to each one of us.

  3. I have no idea why I thought about this video but your post brought it to mind. They played this at church I think last weekend (sorry this concussion is messing with my brain a little lol). Here it is, hope you are blessed by it as much as I was.

    • Melissa, this is so beautiful. Thank you.
      So much how this “God Stuff” seems to me. A pebble dropped here, a ripple there, a bob here, and who knows where …
      He leads me to drop pebbles. And has never demanded that I own or are responsible for the ripples. That the ripples are his work with another.
      This video rang all of that in full colour as I watched your video. 🙂

  4. Paul, how good is this. I would never think that me, or anyone else, could be like Jesus. I love how we are taught that we each are the individuals that He has made. When indwelt by the Spirit of God we are complete. Let’s enjoy being in our own skins. Have a wonderful weekend my friend. 😀

  5. Wonderful thoughts…and a great song! I have compared myself to others too many times. It always leaves me feeling empty. The more time I spend with Him, the more comfortable I am in my own skin! Everything reminds me of songs,lol, but your post reminded me of “the Real Me” by Natalie Grant. “Wonderful, beautiful…us what You see when You look at me” Blessings 🙂

  6. What a great reminder. This post reminds me how much impact each and every person we have contact with good or bad shapes our character, soul even our heart. I always come back to one word on any subject I look at in regards to being like our master and redeemer. Trust…. Be blessed my brother and have a great weekend.

    • Good morning Tom, there is so much music flowing through this post – as I was reading your words this was going through my head. Trust. Leaning back. Safe. One day at a time.

      • Haha now that is the truth brother. Funny how I got the small stuff abs inky want to give the Jesus the big stuff. Kelly’s passing has given me some clarity Paul. Pray Ichabod stay the course and enjoy bobbing along like cork in a stream. Much love this Saturday morning to you. Working on Kelly’s Cross. I will post a picture 0n my page.

  7. This is such a great post. I come home from work see “play it again, Sam” and I’m thinking Casablanca. I scroll down…Jungle Book! I love it!
    Such a great message you have here. We are truly the best we can be when we just be who God created us to be. Trying to wear a perfect mask over my flaws is too suffocating! We can’t do what God created us to do trying to imitate someone else, even Jesus because that’s just not us. I believe even our flaws, cracks imperfections can serve a purpose when we look at them correctly. I also loved the other video that added to your initial “illustration.” This was great to come home to! Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  8. I usually love your posts, but I could not agree with this one. I believe Jesus does want us ‘walk like him’ (Ephesians 5:1). For an example, Matthew 22 begins with Jesus telling the parable of the wedding banquet, where the good and the bad were invited. But the man who came in his street clothes was chucked out. “Just being me” doesn’t help me because I am fallen.

    I mean no disrespect. You are absolutely right in saying that God loves us. But as John so eloquently puts it, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9).

    • Hi Ruth, and thank you. If this is the first one you disagree with, I take that as a wonderfully loving comment.
      I hesitate to respond by justifying anything. Only because faith is faith, guidance is guidance, and relationship is personal to each of us.
      So the next few words are the result if your comments causing me to think again at this post.
      I see many who see a “role model” who has the answer to everything, unconditional love for everyone, and fill their lives with “kingdom work” – leaving little time or genuine “connectedness” with those around them. A personal observation as always. That role model is Jesus.
      Something, again a personal observation, is that relationship comes first. God Jesus is good at being perfect. I am not. He is good at having endless patience with everyone including me. I am not. He is good at knowing the internal workings of everyone. I am not.
      What I am good at is being me. That includes becoming more like God Jesus. It never will, or should be, for me stepping past the guidance and role He has for me. Because I have seen too often how He sees value in my weaknesses, my talents, and my heart. I see “me” in my mirror of shortcomings. He seems to see exactly what He created. Seems to me that my part in all this is to become the me He intended. Not a mini-me God Jesus – if that is at the expense of me.
      If, as you read this, you see me digging a deeper hole of confusion – my apologies. There is no desire to “win” a point nor even have you agree with me.
      Yet I would love to see you thoughts. Because we each share, bounce, learn, and connect in this church of blogs. My words are simply a few amongst many.

      • Thank you for your thoughtful answer. I enjoy your posts so much, and it is a pleasure to talk with you. And you are so very right that many dismiss ‘genuine connectedness’ with Jesus in favor of ‘good works’. That is always a bad bargain, and if I gave the impression that I supported this position, I am so very sorry. We are saved by God’s grace, not by our own works. Period.

        I love your comment “What I am good at is being me”. The Lord knows us before we are formed in the womb (at least that’s what Jeremiah indicates). Each of us was made as a unique and special ‘me’. But I work at a healing ministry. The people who come to us have been wounded by many things (their bad choices, the bad choices of others, disease, and, sadly, other Christians), but the heart question is usually the same: “How can God love a screw-up like me?” We remind them Christ died for ‘screw-ups’ like them. We assure them that they cannot do or not do anything to make God stop loving them. But the one thing we don’t do is tell them to be more themselves, because that is what got them into trouble in the first place.

        We are definitely paddling the same boat here. Both of us share this amazing “genuine connectedness” with Christ (I am stealing this line for my own blog, btw). We both believe that this connection is what matters. My greater focus on Jesus as a “role model” comes from dealing with people who are lost in the deep weeds, who are in such darkness that they have forgotten what ‘light’ looks like. Following Christ’s example gets them out of danger. But that is not the end of their journey. It is the beginning.

      • Ruth, thank you so much for your time in sharing again. Because it adds so much context – as well as a loving reminder for me that whilst we may “paddle the same boat” some of our paddles are in very different currents and depths.

        “Who are in such darkness that they have forgotten what ‘light’ looks like”. Is a stark description. If ever I have the privilege to be connected with others in such a place, please be less loving if I tout “being yourself” as the answer to that cry for help.

        This conversation has touched me in a number of different ways. Thank you so much for challenging me, and thank you even more for giving me the gift of your time and wisdom and own relationship. Being “connected” comes from many directions, and with many different voices. And your words He will allow to permeate in as loving way as you have given them. Always the “beginning” of another step – never the end of anything.

        I feel very “gifted” right now!! Thank you.

        • Paul, thank you for so graciously allowing me to play in the sandbox. You have been a Proverbs 27:17 to me, and I am grateful. Now I am signing off so that you can go and write your next encouraging post. It is always a joy to read them, even if I don’t comment on them.

      • “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
        Ruth, I always think that we are all in one big sandbox. Thank you for picking up a handful or two of mine, at the same time allowing me a glimpse of some of yours. Mine has a wonderful and subtly different texture now because you did. Thank you.
        Struck me as I pondered: we should all be a healing ministry. To each other and always. If we are not, then maybe we are missing something very important.


  9. Hi Paul and Ruth,
    I hope you don’t mind if I join in your conversation.
    Ruth, when I read the passage of Scripture from which you quoted 1John:7-21, the word that jumped out at me was “Love”. I think I counted the word Love used twenty times in the passage.
    When I spend time with someone I love, I often pick up a mannerism here, a gesture and a pattern of speech there. And when they throw a party, I can even spruce myself up to look half decent. Perhaps as you both comment, it is the relationship that is the important thing.
    What I like about Paul’s post is being given the permission to simply be me. As a struggling perfectionist, and after I had failed to be perfect many times over, it was a revelation when I first heard the quote: “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing BADLY”. At the same time I learnt that God delights in me despite perhaps even because of my imperfections. It was the imperfections that threw me to the bottom of the pit, made me realise how I could not rely on my own strength and kept me humble and connected to God. On occasions I have made bad choices, or had bad choices done to me or those I love. I have been lost in deep weeds and darkness. At those times I needed to know that I was “Ok” just as I am, without trying too hard. One of my often remembered and favourite quotes is: Micah 6:8:
    ” And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly, and to love mercy and TO WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD.”
    Sometimes the walking humbly is the best that I can do, knowing that I am deeply loved simply for being me by God who made me.
    ” For you created my inmost being,
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. ” Psalm 139:13,14.
    I am not sure if I am adding to this discussion. I may be rambling. Hope it makes sense to you both. God Bless you both.

    • Julia, how beautifully you express it. I can see what you go by the name ‘Gentle Breeze’. I’ve never heard that quote about a doing a job badly–it’s disgusting that someone said that to you, or anyone else, ever. You are most definitely “fearfully and wonderfully made”. God bless you as well, R

    • Julia, like all of us – you are family here. Thank you.

      These conversations, for me, are the joy of writing. Relationship with our Father as the hub. All connected. All just one big dirt family of the same source.
      Perfectionism. The art of never being satisfied with self, the reality of never being satisfied with output, the joy of prevaricating more and more, the burden of never being good enough. If a job is worth doing – there must come an end to planning – so please get on with doing – something! 🙂

      Sod it! Perfectionism’s twin. The art of never being clever enough, the reality of just getting on with things, the joy of hearing the egg-heads never ending chatter, the burden of never being appreciated. If a job is worth doing – it’s probably me that’s doing it – until they tell me I should be doing it a different way. 🙂

      Love I find to be a weird thing more and more.
      So often it’s Siamese twin being fear.

      So often we “know” that is how it is. That is how it must be. That is the only way it can be. Always “out-loved” by this perfect God, “out-perfected” by this perfect God, out of reach and kept at a distance in a dysfunctional “relationship”, nurtured towards that odd relationship so often by shepherds – who seem to see this perfect God as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      And then Ruth, working with those souls damaged a bit more than the rest of us. Each one a different cocktail of hurt and pain. Seeking release from being “themselves”. And taking one step, allowing just one step, being given permission to take one small step.

      Both of you have the love, connection and real relationship without that Siamese twin of fear. It is a twin I have also lost – but who keeps trying to reattach. Always me thinking I am missing a bit of myself. Fear was (and still can be) so much a part of who I was. As real as breathing.

      Some call it the enemy, others the fault if the church, yet others with other reasons.

      All I know is that fear was (and is) a suit I clothe myself in. It might feel like the inside of my stomach is in turmoil. Yet I can take this fear off anytime I choose. God is not a suit. God is within. A seed waiting for me to open the window, let in the fresh air, let in the light, and allow that seed to grow and blossom. Fear, for me, is the darkness.

      And this boat we all paddle – I love being a fellow paddler! Thank you both so much!! 🙂

  10. Hi Paul and Ruth,
    I work as an Occupational Therapist in the National Health Service. I have done so for 26 years. I don’t talk about my faith at work. It wouldn’t be allowed. In fact I don’t talk much about my faith in the “real” world except in Church and with a few Christian friends. Perhaps that’s why I can’t stop talking here.
    I consider myself a “wounded healer”. The wounds can help. It helps me to have empathy for my clients and to truly listen to their story as experts in their own health. My job is to offer practical solutions to enable each client to have an increased quality of life and easier access into the community. I love my client work. Frequently I admire each client tremendously and the family carers too.
    Yet I have struggled at work. Strangely the phrase “If a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing badly” I read in a book “The Gospel of Falling Down” by Mark Townsend. This was when I had fallen down and thought of myself as a hopeless failure. The phrase assisted me to pick myself up and keep on going, even if the result is not perfect.
    Other criticisms have hurt more. You are “too conscientious”; “too detailed in your assessment”; ”too kind”. I have learnt that sometimes a weakness is an overplayed strength”. And so I thought about the criticisms. Are they true? Do I need to change?
    In some ways I don’t blame my Managers. I was struggling. My caseload had become too large. None of us understood what was going on. Personal life issues had also affected me and led me to depression and severe anxiety.
    I was off work with work related stress, moderate to severe depression and severe anxiety. That was when I needed to know that it was OK to be me. And that was when our three-in-one God met me with that full assurance. That is another story.
    After five months I managed to return to work. And yet I continued to struggle. Another miracle. A serendipitous event had led me to attend an event with a young woman who had just learnt she had dyslexia. I learnt about dyslexia and other similar specific learning disabilities.
    God has to be very patient with me. It was after another few months, when I had almost failed again, been put on a disciplinary procedure, that I took myself off and paid for my own psychological assessment.
    I learnt that I have a specific learning disability related to dyspraxia. I had coped with the physical effects which make me mildly clumsy, without realising it. Throughout my life, I had struggled with organisation and time management. I learnt that I have a poor working memory and I am slower than average at assimilating information. No wonder I could not concentrate and keep focused in an open plan noisy office. No wonder I needed to write down detail so that I wouldn’t forget it. No wonder people think I am too conscientious when I carry out a task as I am slower than average.
    That was over two years ago. I am still working out strategies to help me at work to overcome my disability. I have had support with this. I am still negotiating with my Managers. One manager described me as tenacious. I could not be tenacious without the tremendous love of God.
    I am not sure why I am writing all this except to describe the context of me and where I am coming from.
    God Bless.


      Julia, I had added Ruth’s blog tag in the hope she will see your words here (as far as I know, a “new comment” does not ping anything to anyone other than – in this case – me)

      “I am not sure why I am writing all this”
      I often ask myself the same thing, and hear over my shoulder that affectionate chuckle He has. I wonder sometimes if this is a place of healing. A place where it is “okay” to be me. A place where being me seems to be more accepted than in my own hometown and work. A place where I can learn to be a stronger more real me than I ever would in the order and hierarchy and needs of others around me. A place where I can grow that strength to be a more real me with those around me in the order and hierarchy and needs of those around me. A place where being a christian, being in love with my god, talking about my love, seeing and sharing other’s love, seeing and reading others being more real, more courageous, more honest … learning how to listen as much as write … learning how to accept rather than convince … learning how to be more like Christ … hearing His voice in ways I would not otherwise …
      I often wonder if that is why He chuckles so much when I ponder why am I writing.

      I wonder if my writing makes me stronger. In Him and in me.


  11. Thank you Paul. For your quick reply. And for adding Ruth’s blog tag. As you can imagine I have had to face so much pain and honesty, head on. It is good to be heard.
    I think your writing makes you stronger. In Him and in you.
    I have always written, from childhood, to express myself, even when I am only writing to myself. I am less articulate in verbal speech.
    I am glad I have discovered the art of Blogging.
    Thank you again.

    • Julia, you are amazing. ‘Wounded Healers’ are not just able to relate to trouble people–they can reach into the enemy camp and show people the way out. You, Julia, are a mighty witness for Jesus. It is a privilege to hear your story.

      Paul, you are so right that we are all in the Healing business. I love that illustration of a ‘cocktail of hurt and pain’. Too many people hide their ‘drinking problem’ behind a mask of awesome okay-ness. In my own ministry, our head prayer minister was sexually abused as a child, our office manager was an addict and our director, strange as it sounds, was cured by God of ALS. I, as you may have guessed, battle pride. We are the walking wounded, but we also, like both of you, tenaciously rely on the love of God. We’ve been at it for twenty years, and as long as Christ keeps on blessing us, and I keep finding encouraging blog sites like this one, we’ll keep on fighting. May Christ ‘make his face to shine upon you’ today, my friends. 🙂

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