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Category Archives: I Am Second

Dunkards – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Dunkards – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Day 20: Dunkards – I Am Second Blog

60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Register to follow at http://www.iamsecond.com/blog. Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 17 by Zach Emerson

“Jesus didn’t bring an entourage. He didn’t dress in glowing robes or a halo. Instead, he lived the simple life of a carpenter, and when the time was right, he stepped into the Jordan River and inaugurated his ministry.” -Live Second, 24.

I remember the day I was baptized extremely well. It was June 8, 2008. The date stays in my mind, not because they gave us towels with the date monogrammed in them, but because that was the day that I felt my calling to what some would consider more traditional ministry. It was the strangest thing. I had known all my life that I was put on this earth to make music, and of course after I came to a solid faith, I figured that I was probably going to end up in a music based ministry. It didn’t work that way.

I had a band that had gone through all of the motions of preparation for signing to a label, recording an album, and touring. We had a following, we had the equipment, and for the most part we had the drive to do pretty much whatever it took to make it to the next level. Then it was over. Poof – No more band. The drummer and myself moved on to another group and recorded another album and played some more shows, but just as quick as that one came it was gone. No more bands. I was pretty confused.

Now interweaved with the whole band timeline is me finding a girl, having a kid, moving in together, getting married (yes, really in that order, we did it backwards, I know) and finally finding a church that we wanted to raise our daughter in. After doing the Sunday syndrome thing for a while we decided it was time to commit to the church and we were baptized. We went through a class teaching about history of the denomination and different belief points, as well as the typical “why baptism matters” stuff and a few more points along the way, but one of the big points made in the class is that in our church denomination we dunk you 3 times. Yep, when Jesus said “…and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” our denomination took that to mean once for each.

Over the years many have coined the nicknamed “Dunkards” for the church, since we dunk ya 3 times. To me, I had heard the term, but didn’t make the connection because I didn’t know any “dunkards”, and growing up in different denominations, all I had ever seen was one dunk heading backwards. When I waded into the baptismal that morning I got on my knees and was dunked three times forward, face first. I can remember between each dunk taking a breath and feeling the air seem different to me. Once I got up, got out, and walked down the steps to receive my aforementioned monogrammed towel, things were just different.

Now, I have no solid comparison on what exactly I felt. Maybe if you’ve been baptized you know what I’m talking about, and maybe you don’t, but either way I went home knowing I was about to start something new. In the scripture for today’s devotional Jesus shows up to have John baptize Him, and as He came out of the water, we see a solid picture of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit co-existing in the same place at the same time. I wish I could say that it was that awesome when I came out of the water, but alas, no doves or shining light, well, short of the super bright light that shines on the baptismal because of the white walls surrounding me. Regardless, what happened next for Jesus, and what happened next for me sorta parallel. Of course, he had that whole 40 days of tempting in the desert by Satan thing, I just had to deal with working a call center job, but if you’ve ever worked a call center job, you may feel that Satan is behind every ziptone.

After my baptism, some time went by where I immersed myself in biblical history, different schools of thought on Christian theology, and all out Bible study, and then one morning after filling in for teaching the youth I was asked by our pastor and told by my wife to be the new youth director. It was a new experience to be sure, but as it all started to unfold, everything came together. I had youth that were interested in learning more about Jesus, and out of nowhere some old friends that were interested in talking God in a new and fresh way. There it was, the start of my ministry, and the birth of the Holy Burrito Crew. I had arrived at the start of my new journey, and I was excited about it.

My name is Zach Emerson. I am a Holy Burrito brother, a sinner saved by grace, a baptized believer, and I am Second.

Check out Zach Emerson’s regular blog at zacherock.wordpress.com

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Posted by on December 5, 2012 in Devotional, I Am Second

 

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Season’s Meaning – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Season’s Meaning – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Day 19 – Season’s Meaning – I Am Second Blog

60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Register to follow at www.iamsecond.com/blog. Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 19 by Zach Emerson

“Love is his name, kindness is his reputation” -Live Second, 22.

Read Luke 1:46-55.

Today we come to a piece of scripture from the first chapter of Luke that is known as The Magnificat, or Mary’s Song. In what would be an extremely scary and unsure time for most folks in life, Mary goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who has also been blessed with a pregnancy of importance. She will give birth to John the Baptizer, and as Mary enters the house and begins to speak to Elizabeth, John leaps from within the womb. The spiritual presence is palpable between them and Elizabeth tells Mary how blessed she is.

As they talk, Mary begins to speak of the awesomeness of God. The comparisons and allusions she makes are absolutely profound, and you can tell that at this point in her life she is extremely humbled by the fact that she has been chosen by God himself to have this baby. She is praising God and speaking of her thankfulness while pointing to His awesome power. This piece of scripture is absolutely awe inspiring.

When you sit down and truly think about the power that God has, in most cases, you wonder why he has truly chosen to allow us all to continue to share in His creation. He can take it all away in less than the move of a finger. He has brought down empires, and He has created the vast and awesome beauty of this entire world, yet He continues to love us in spite of the fact that we have continued to mar it with our selfish choices and single-minded endeavors. He continues to show us His grace time and time again.

So often we place our selves and our personal wants above Him. We exalt ourselves, and forsake Him. We forget Him, and remember only ourselves. Regardless, He provides. He feeds the hungry, and clothes the naked. He holds down the proud, and lifts up the humble. His might is unmatched, yet His mercy is unfathomable.

So many times I get caught up in what it is I am doing at the moment. Even when I am planning things for His church, I forget Him. When I am planning on glorifying Him, I am focusing on myself. We do it so often. It’s one of the things I love about the I Am Second ministry. It reminds me that someone comes before me. I know that He has done so much for me, and He deserves to be first. I’ve heard it described by using the acronym JOY: Jesus, Others, Yourself. I think it’s brilliant to look at it that way. I know that it’s easy to experience a temporal state of happiness when I focus on myself, but more often than not, when I have truly focused on Him, and given myself to others in His name, my happiness and state of mind just falls into place.

Today, my wife and I helped her mom and step dad rake leaves at their house, and then I cooked lunch for us all. I woke up annoyed that plans for the day had changed, but once I got into the swing of moving and by the time I was cooking lunch, I just felt good. I wanted to keep going. Of course, reality sank in and before I could re-ground myself the everyday hectic pace set in. Place to place and person to person, back and forth. It was right back to being the me that it’s so easy to be.

I’ve got to say that having to sit down and read these devotionals has been a great experience. Quite often I will read the Bible, but I don’t immerse myself in what He is saying to me. Having to add my thoughts to what have been absolutely divinely placed and delivered scriptures for my life right now has brought me to a place where truly wish I could live. Knowing that it’s ever so close to Christmas where we are supposed to celebrate the coming of our Savior, this has helped that much more. After working big box retail management for four years, I’ve got to say that just over five years later, Christmas time is still something I struggle with, but this time with these I Am Second devotionals has helped me further fix my gaze towards Him.

My name is Zach Emerson, I am a Holy Burrito Brother, an ungrateful sinner saved by grace, and I am Second.

Check out Zach Emerson’s regular blog at zacherock.wordpress.com

Next for the 60-Days-of-Second: Day 20- “Dunkards” by Zach Emerson

 

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Devotional, I Am Second

 

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Symphony Of Missteps – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Symphony Of Missteps – 60 Days Of Second Blog

Day 18 – Symphony Of Missteps – I Am Second Blog

“We can wallow in our guilt, run from our past, or hide from our faults; but God offers to wash it all away, if we let him” –Live Second, 21.

How any times have you ever thought about the stuff you’ve done wrong in life? I mean, it’s a depressing endeavor, but it’s something that we get stuck doing a lot more often than we would probably admit. We focus on failure a lot as human beings, but when you think about it, it makes sense. From the first bite of that fruit way back in the garden all the way to now we have lived a symphony of missteps.

All it takes is that one key moment that we see that what we have done is a source of pain or sorrow for someone we care about and we get that nasty, sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach. We start looking back on all the times we’ve done something similar. There are plenty of times that we got away with it, but all the guilt rushes right back. It’s like a jacked up, pain-filled slideshow of ugliness and the worst kinds of deception. We see ourselves as worthless, or worse yet, as an all out plight to those we love.

The sins that we have committed in this life make us liars, thieves, adulterers, idol worshippers, murderers, and so much more. Back in the Old Testament times of the formation of the tribes of Israel, God called for sacrifices of varying types to make up for all the horrible things we were doing. But as time went on, it just wasn’t enough. There wasn’t enough grain or unblemished animals around to make up for it all. Finally, Isaiah started giving prophecy about the coming savior, a spotless lamb, an ultimate sacrifice, an unmatched level of perfect that would be given in our place.

This was unthinkable, that God Himself would send a sacrifice that would eliminate the need for sacrifice, and not only that, but that this sacrifice would come in a form that would understand the pain and hurt that we go through day to day, in labor and toil, in poverty and loss, yet this sacrifice would say nothing of it. This sacrifice would not cry out about the unfairness that though it would see and live our pain without a single transgression it would be despised, rejected, and given the punishment that the same ones who would carry out this injustice deserved. He would be pierced for our transgressions, and by His wounds, we would be healed.

This is a journey in humility, and everyday I see myself spinning in what could only be described as a surreal experience. I’ve watched every I Am Second video so far throughout the last couple years, and now I am given the privilege of reading and interpreting their devotional through the lense of the burrito. I’m just a sinner, and I know I screw up every day, but I go back and I read these words from Isaiah 53:1 – 12 and I see that even though I’ve made all of these mistakes, even though I have been wrong time and time again, that because of that sacrifice, I am free to experience the presence and the love of a perfect and Holy God. That wrecks my life every time I think about it, and it is absolutely awesome in the purest sense of the word.

I am a liar, a thief, a murderer, an idol worshipper, an adulterer, and so much more. I deserve the worst of punishments for all that I have done wrong in this life…but He died in my place. He took on my suffering AND my shortcomings, and because of that I have seen healing through His wounds.

My name is Zach Emerson, I am a Holy Burrito brother, and the Chief of Sinners, but He died in our place, so I am second.

Check out Zach Emerson’s regular blog at zacherock.wordpress.com

Next for the 60-Days-of-Second: Day 19- “Season’s Meaning” by Zach Emerson

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Devotional, I Am Second

 

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War and Peace – 60 Days Of Second Blog

War and Peace – 60 Days Of Second Blog
60-Days-of-Second: Follow along as 15 bloggers journey through 4 readings each from the new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First. Together they will blog through 60-Days-of-Second. Register to follow at http://www.iamsecond.com/blog. Get the “Live Second” book in stores December 9.

Day 17 by Zach Emerson

“Jesus succeeds where we all fail” –Live Second, 20.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. ~ Isaiah 9:5.

Yep, it’s pretty awesome that I get to start my journey into this awesome opportunity of blogging through the latest book from I Am Second, “Live Second: 365 Ways To Make Jesus First” with the subject being “Prince Of Peace”. The whole scripture for today comes from Isaiah 9: 1 – 7, and is one of the most widely quoted prophetic scriptures about the coming of Jesus that you hear leading up to Christmas time.

So often I’m drawn to the prophetic visions of Christ. Most of what I believe and try to practice is what most refer to as Red Letter Christianity, essentially basing my core doctrine solely on the words that Jesus himself spoke, primarily in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), but these Old Testament verses just ring so true and bring so much peace to me that I have no issue in going back to them to add foundation to what I try to live everyday. The verse I picked out above is one that gets looked over a bit in most circles, but as a practicing member of one of the historic peace church denominations, it just sings to me.

Up to this point in the Bible, all we have seen really is failure on behalf of humanity. We ate the forbidden fruit, we worshipped idols, we lusted for things, and we were HUGE fans of war. I think that a big chunk of non-believers have a big turnoff because of how much bloodshed is involved in the Old Testament, and really, so do a lot of devout folks too, but I think it’s because not enough of the sentiment conveyed in this scripture is conveyed wholly throughout a lot of evangelism efforts these days. We’re getting better about communicating the whole “I’m just as screwed up as you, but Jesus loves us both anyways…” idea, but I think a lot of people still see the Old Testament and New Testament depictions of God as being either two different guys, or some sort of early day angry guy that mellowed out the more time went on. It’s scriptures like this verse, and this whole passage that show the two being one.

I think it is probably safe to say that you have been failed by other people on occasion in your life, and even more so safe to say that you even feel like you have failed others a time or two at least, but the awesome reassurance we get here is that Jesus never failed, he was never “plan B”, and that the full message shows that he didn’t come only to forgive our sins, but to bring a true and long lasting peace. God doesn’t like war, He doesn’t like bloodshed, and any pain or loss we encounter from sin grieves Him to His core, but He sent Jesus to wipe all that away. He sent Jesus to clean us AND restore us. He sent Jesus to show us that even though we had made pretty much every wrong choice ever for ourselves, it was NEVER His plan to let us throw it all away with no chance of ever getting it back.

No person that ever lived could follow every piece of the 10 commandments to their fullest all day every day, but that was the law. So in walked Jesus who did just that and fulfilled every piece of the rules in place to their maximum where we couldn’t, it says it right in the book in this passage, “Jesus succeeds where we all fail.” and then He not only fulfilled them perfectly, but He took all of the punishment we deserved for not fulfilling them perfectly…total atonement. He was guilty of nothing, yet he paid the price for everything. His goal to bring us peace from the wars around us, to burn the tools and spoils of war, to show us to beat our swords into plowshares, and to show us that peace came from Perfect Love, not victory in human battle.

…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

#princeofpeace

My name is Zach Emerson, I’m a Holy Burrito Brother, and I Am Second.

Check out Zach Emerson’s regular blog at zacherock.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Devotional, I Am Second

 

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The Burrito is Second

The Burrito is Second

Maybe you’ve figured this out by now, but I’m a metal-head.  From birth I’ve loved metal. My mom rocked me to sleep to Iron Maiden as a baby, I came home from pre-school and watched Metallica’s “One” Video and Motley Crue videos. I have ALWAYS loved it. Picked up a guitar and started playing at 13, started my first real band at 14. Of course, at age 14 in1998 the biggest band in metal was KoRn. All of my friends and I thought their sound was unique, fresh, and very identifiable  I can’t tell you how many times I saw KoRn in concert. I traveled to see them, watched webcasts of concerts. I went to every metal concert I could, local or national acts. I plugged myself into the local scene and helped with booking, promoting, and running shows. I formed a band that found a level of success and a following, my musical tastes had more or less outgrown KoRn, and through their own evolution of sound, I didn’t identify with them or follow them.

I was the vocalist in the band, and in my mind, believing I was a Christian, I wrote lyrics that espoused my conservative christian viewpoint.  Meanwhile, through moderate success and quite a few connections, my band was getting the chance to play at least once a week, as well as some light touring. In all of that, drinking and running around like an immoral jackwagon ensued. It didn’t matter, I was living my life for me, and it was awesome. People were filling up clubs to hear my band play, our MySpace had ridiculous numbers of followers, we were opening for really cool national acts that were huge influences of ours, people knew my name and sang my lyrics in chorus with me to almost every song. How awesome was I, right?

Moving forward, I had met a girl that just drove me crazy with good feelings, and I was climbing the ladder fast at my day job in big box retail. Next thing I know, I’m a dad. My band is over. WHOA…where’d all this come from? I sat down and began looking at my life. I had absolutely “KNOWN” that I was put on this earth to make music. I was positive that God was going to bring me to a point in my life where I was going to be making metal music that allowed me to spread His message. I formed another band with my drummer from the previous band and some other friends, wrote another album’s worth of material, recorded it all, and played some shows. I was gonna do it all over again, but before this band even hit a year, it was all over again. What was I missing here?

Well, of course, as so often does, life happened. I left the big box retail career, married the girl, and really jumped on the Dad thing. Of course, having both grown up in church, myself and my wife decided that we were going to raise our daughter in church. We shopped around a few, even walking out of mid-service a couple times. Our niece invited us to her church and we started going. It just fit. We did the baptism thing, and of course, me being the nerd that I am, I studied the Bible and christian history relentlessly. Then one day, the guy who was teaching the youth at the time called me and asked me to teach his class for him while he was going to be out of town one Sunday. I remember the lesson well, I taught about Solomon. I basically sat down one Friday and absolutely devoured 2Samuel and 1Kings, boiled it all down into what was basically an interactive narrative style story, and walked in that Sunday and just had an awesome time.

From there I was asked to be the assistant in the class. I hung out with the youth and was the “information guy” for the lessons each week as it all moved along. One day, the guy that was teaching the youth, wasn’t going to be teaching the youth anymore. In chatting with our pastor, my wife volluntold me for the Youth Director job and I jumped right at it. Wait, I’m a youth minister now? The dude that sang in a death metal band, drank like fish while doing it, and cussed like a sailor every other moment was now a youth minister? I  was thoroughly convinced that I was certifiably insane. I started looking around and then one day I saw a link to a video. It was Brian “Head” Welch, the former guitarist for KoRn talking about how he had found Jesus and completely changed his life. At the end of the video, he said something that stuck with me, and was apparently the key to the whole ministry he was doing this interview for. He said “I am Brian ‘Head’ Welch, and I Am Second.” I’d found it, I was second too, and it all made sense.

Flash forward about 4 years or so, and here I sit, writing the blog that  has become quite the adventure, and I am honored to say that I have been asked to be a launch partner for the new I Am Second book called Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First . What you will be seeing on here, as well as the I Am Second website (www.iamsecond.com), is me reading 4 days worth of this awesome new devotional and blogging through it from my perspective. I hope you come back to check it out.

My name is Zach Emerson, I’m a Holy Burrito brother, and I Am Second.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in I Am Second

 

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