Monthly Archives: October 2015

matt rhyne mars hill

Matt Rhyne’s Legacy

Watching the vids Travis Kessler posted while weeping… in this spot  (click link to jump to specific time), Levi Landis was shared our goodbyes to Matt. Then Matt shared his goodbyes with us before moving to Lake Placid.

I missed this night in person. I was away at college by then in the days before Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and few of us has AIM/ICQ or email. I missed out in person on much of 4th Street years. I’m experiencing Matt’s goodbye for the first time… and a very fitting one.

Our motto was Mars Hill… where you are accepted. Matt taught us how to accept each other as Jesus did. My earliest memory of him was on the first night that I played on the worship team. My fragile heart at that point was terrified that my mandolin didn’t fit in with this crazy ensemble. I’d never played outside of school orchestra. Matt picked out what I added and gave me a look with the thumbs up. I felt him saying that I was accepted, wanted. It was a rare mature fatherly thing for him to do. I was not out of place, I fit right in.

It may be hard to accept all the rough times life has brought… but just 2 months ago I had a rare opportunity to visit with Matt. I just got to enjoy being with him. I saw how proud he was of what those there that day have become.

The song Matt played for us that night “I am accepted by the one who matters most” – speaks volumes to me about Matt right now. He is completely loved, accepted, and now free from the trials of life. He gets to see what an impact that he has left with us.

Many of us found God’s acceptance and love by hanging around Matt. To see so many of us still willing to go to great lengths for each other despite years and distance is a testament to the family and fellowship that we became then and continue in now.

I keep hearing “Let my songs ascend” and “Banqueting Table” (in Levi’s voice of course) on repeat in my head today.

Because Matt was willing to accept so many and so much, it made a way for us. Just look at our lives. Matt, and more importantly Jesus, is proud of us. The banner over us is love.

Let my songs ascend to Thy holy place oh Lord
Let them bring forth great joy on Thy warm tender face oh God
And may the words that I sing just be the fruit of the things
That you have truly worked into my life
Let my songs ascend to Thy holy place oh Lord

For I am my Beloved’s and He is mine
He brought me to His banqueting table and His banner over me is love, sweet love.
His banner over me, His banner over you, His banner over us, is love love love
We can feel the love of God in this place
We believe your goodness
We receive your grace
We delight ourselves at your table oh God
You do all things well
Just look at our lives

I’ve got the nature

We all were grew to accept each other with the Father’s love.  We broke dividing walls.  We lived in one accord, as family.  We still do.


Come In

Lift your head weary sinner, the river’s just ahead
Down the path of forgiveness, salvation’s waiting there
You built a mighty fortress 10,000 burdens high
Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

All who’ve strayed and walked away, unspeakable things you’ve done
Fix your eyes on the mountain, let the past be dead and gone
Come all saints and sinners, you can’t outrun God
Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome the power of the blood

If you’re lost and wrecked again
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

This song has been rolling around in my soul for months.  At first, the word “sinner” held me back from truly letting the message sink in deep.  I’ve come to understand that when Jesus said:

When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. JOHN 19:30

We are no longer slaves to sin

We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. ROMANS 6:6

So by those statements, we are no longer sinners.  Jesus completed His work for us on the cross.  Yet, we see ourselves as sinners still.  We think we’re trapped under all the junk we’ve done or been through.

It isn’t so.  He looks at us from this perspective:

Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  EPHESIANS 2:5-6

He says we are alive, and that we are right now already seated with Him.

If you still identify as a sinner, unable to see yourself from the eternal position of being with Him, it’s time to come in. Prodigal son, come home.  We are longing for you with.  If He says you are alive in Him, that is our response of your presence as well.

The walls you’ve built up and chains you’ve allowed to hold you under all happened while operating in any way other than from the position of being seated with Him.

We are the gates of glory.

Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors,That the King of glory may come in! PSALM 24:7

Be opened wide for Him to come in… and please do be with us.  Nothing can separate us from this love.  You will be wrecked for sure.  You are called to come out of your burdens, chains, and mindset of being a sinner.  You are a son or daughter of the King, and you are seated with Him.  His heart for you love.  Those of us who no longer identify as a sinner want you with us.

And that leads me to another song that’s been ruminating around:


Are you empty? Are you broken?
Are you lost and all alone?
Unaccepted? Suicidal?
Are you looking for a home?
Heavy-hearted? Forgotten?
Like you’ve got no place to go?
Homosexual? Unlovable?
Are you just a little low?

Come in
Come in
Come in.

Harvesting Abundance from Tomato Pulp

Tomatoes.  What do you do when tomatoes grow more abundantly than weeds?  Well, you make tomato paste of course.

I’ve already canned all the salsa and marinara that I’ll need for the next year, as well as diced tomatoes.  I have enough for the many meals that I anticipate making to share with friends as well.  These meals will happen on short notice and with little plans, but the pantry and freezer are ready for just such an occasion.

Homemade pizza night happens almost every Friday here.  And for the rich flavor, I need tomato paste.  It’s easy, but time consuming and messy.  By mashing the tomatoes through my Kitchen Aide food mill, I can get just tomato juice, and all the skins and seeds are separated.  I ended up with a lot of the solid part left over.  While considering what to do with what others might consider waste, I thought “I can dehydrate that and use the powder later.”  I learned it is great in chili and will try it in other meals.

So, while covered in tomato pulp… I heard Him telling me that this is part of abundance.  Consider what you’ve harvested.  Make the most out of it.  Anticipate the unknown and how you can prepare for it.  Take something unexpected or maybe even undesirable and slip it into the right place for added depth.  Nothing is wasted in this harvest.