“So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
An when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay”
Those words just keep going through my head! You know some times it truly does feel like we do “feel our way through the darkness” don’t we! And its like we cry out to God “I WANT TO SEE YOU GOD!!!!”
As we walk with the Lord the journey is not always easy, we make our way through what we think is darkness not knowing exactly where we are going or where He is taking us! But we do know this one thing, that with our eyes focused on Him, His grace abounds, He is sovereign, and HE WILL NOT FAIL US!
He has helped in the past, He will help now, and He will help in the future! We must have hope, we must persevere!!!!!
Well summer is drawing to a close and I have to say it has been a summer that was very different than what I had expected. I anticipated it to be very HOT, I anticipated to have a lot of time to plan and prepare for the fall season, I looked forward to spend a little more time with my family. Well the summer wasn’t hot, God had other plans for me rather than preparing for the fall like I wanted to, and I really didn’t get the time to spend with my family like I wanted to. But I truly believe with all my heart God is in it!
This summer we sought so desperately after God to show us what is the next step for FBC. We were given an answer…we are about “Connecting People Jesus”…our dream for FBC! There was no down time for any of the staff the summer of 2014 and what affirmed we were on the right path that God wanted us to be on there was no down time for satan’s attacks.
This being so fresh in my mind and finding myself in the midst of this battle it highly influenced my worship set this morning. Starting out with the opening song by Journey “Don’t Stop Believen’”…we cannot stop believing…there are people in our lives who need that connection to Jesus…even people who may have been attending this church for some time!
So honestly weary I also believe that there are many of you out who are weary too and dreams get dashed so easily when you are in that weary state. We need during those time to cry out to God to “Awake My Soul”, seeking in His Word and finding the encouragement that only HE can give. Vision only He can give…and when HE gives it “God is Able”, because frankly when it comes to vision and dreams they can be scary and seem almost impossible…they can also make you weary especially when satan attacks!
But we have to remember we have a victorious KING JESUS! So can I challenge you to not run from God’s leading, but run towards it not matter how hard, no matter how scary, no matter how weary it makes you!
I want to reminder you of my last blog when I explained one of the interpretations behind the opening song: “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay is what we opened up the service with this morning! Now I do my best to try to watch the video, look at the lyrics and find the meaning to the opening songs that we sing. This morning song was co-written by Chris Martin. In looking on line I found this interpretation: “The lead singer was raised in an Evangelistic Christian family. He strayed away from Christianity when he left home, but stated his growing closer to God. The song is about Christ, how He lights up our paths, similar to the verse "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". "I don't care if you tear me apart", might be referring to people and human beings who are against you. He doesn't care, because God is "a Sky Full of Stars" and "a Heavenly view". Another person wrote this: “Psalms 19:1 says, "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship." Romans 1:19-20, "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing him." Now I know that we really do not know the meaning of such songs unless you hear it from the writer themselves, but I find it to be interesting if indeed he has a history of faith in God that the lyrics have a sense of soul searching and truth shining through about God. As I listen to Pastor Mike’s sermon today I loved Romans 12:1 (the Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and waling –around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God.
“Fix you attention on God.” God really used His Spirit to put the set together to follow along with that theme for sure. Luanne and the team opened up with “A Little More Jesus”, which if we read those words we can all relate to for sure! We often become “so well adjust to [our] culture” that we struggle constantly in our relationship being consistent with what the Lord wants for our life! We have to remember thought that Christ has won the victory! The beginning of the song “Victors” crown presents a sobering thought “You are always fighting for us”…when we get so caught up in our culture, no matter what He is still fighting for us! God wins the ultimate battle and what better way to proclaim that then in the song “How Great Thou Art” a classic that rallies us all to remember the greatness of our God! From there our worship set moved us to worship the greatness of our God to culminate to “Build Your Kingdom Here”.
We have to not allow our culture to grab us…WE HAVE TO ALLOW GOD TO GRAB US! What is our ultimate vision and goal? It is to see people come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!!! Just some things for all of us to thing about!!!
I am sure you have wonder as you sang “Days of Elijah”… “What does the song really mean?”.
IT IS EASY AND DANGEROUS TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THE EMOTION OF A SONG,
EMOTION ONLY EVOKES A POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE EXPERIENCE!
WHEN WE WORSHIP WE NEED TO GET CAUGHT UP IN THE MEANING OF THE SONG…THE WORDS WE ARE SINGING.
WORDS FROM GOD’S WORD,
WORDS OF COMMITMENT,
WORDS OF TESTIMONY,
WORDS OF ACTION!
This past week I went straight to the writer and composer Robin Mark…this is my attempt to take almost three pages and condense it down to a few minutes.
Robin describes this song as “generally and principally a song of ‘hope’”.
At a young age Robin Mark was very influence by the Old Testament people and their stories…how these stories can be used to teach and represent the character of God.
I quote: “So, in essence, it was not written as a prophetic song, or to reflect Biblical prophecy as such—it was written using the ‘foreshadowing’ (to be a sign of something to come) events and peoples of the Scriptures as representatives of the days we now live in”.
While watching current events on television Robin was moved by the truth that God “was very much in control
and that the days we are living in are special times when He requires Christians to be filled with integrity and to stand up for Him just like Elijah did, particularly with the prophets of Baal.
‘These are Elijah’ days!’” Elijah felt alone and isolated in his culture, but God told him to stand up and speak for Him!
We also need to be a holy and just people, thus the reference to the “days of your servant Moses”,
meaning that righteousness and right living is important in all our attitudes and works.
Remember we live under grace and not law, but the righteousness that comes by faith can be no less than the moral law that Moses brought direct from God.
Our righteousness is in Christ and in Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.
“Days of great trial, of famine, darkness and sword” is a reflection of the apparent times in which we live when still thousands of people die every day from starvation, malnutrition, war, and disease!
The second verse refers to the restoration of unity. Unity of the body of believers, this is what Jesus prayed for—“that they may be one even as I and the Father are one…”
by the reference to Ezekiel’s prophetic vision of the valley of the dry bones becoming flesh and being knit together.
Robin says “There are lots of interpretations of this picture, but one of a united church rising up in unity and purpose, is a powerful call on us in these day.”
Think about that for us here! Especially for us here at First B…a UNITED CHURCH…IMAGINE THE IMPACT WE CAN HAVE UNITED IN THIS COMMUNITY!!!! AND WORLD!!!!!
When the song refers to David “rebuilding the temple of praise” he is referring to the fact that David was used by God to introduce a revised form of worship, praise, and thanksgiving.
First, David’s little tent which he pitched around the Ark of the covenant, the presence of God, and then the temple that Solomon built.
This worship, unlike the Mosaic Tabernacle, involved many people being able to come into God’s presence and worship Him openly.
Praise and worship before the presence of God just like David enjoyed!
Finally the “days of the harvest” points towards what the purpose of the Christian is to do, to go into ALL the world and make disciples of all nations!
The song culminates with the words “There’s no god like Jehovah” which Robin did not explain, but I think you can look at the body of the song and take what he said earlier in his explanation:
“God is still in control today as He was then…I look at it as a point in the song where proclamation is merited and there is no god like the God of the Old Testament, New Testament, the same God as today!
SO HERE ARE THE THEMES OF THE VERSES:
DECLARATION…RIGHTEOUSNESS…UNITY… AND WORSHIP!
The chorus is the ultimate declaration of hope…Christ’s return!
Theologians and Bible commentators believe that Israel never properly celebrated this particular 50th year jubilee, and that it will only be properly celebrated when Christ returns.
Robin says “The might be true, but I reckon that a Jubilee is an apt description of what happens when Christ comes into anyone’s life at any time; depts are cancelled and a captive is set free!
Now, if that doesn’t convince you that God used Robin Mark to write this incredible song…consider the fact that he wrote it in 30 minutes between the two services, in the kitchen of his church, and the congregation sang it during the second service.
Robin concluded his remarks on the song with this: “I believe I wrote what God was telling me to write and He seems to have used the song in many ways for many people.”
A SONG OF HOPE…
FOR OUR TIME, FOR US HERE…
A HOPE THAT WE CAN DECLARE…
A HOPE THAT WE LIVE RIGHTEOUS LIVES…
A HOPE THAT WE COMMIT TO UNITY BOTH HERE AS A FAMILY AND WITH FELLOW FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST…
A HOPE THAT WE WORSHIP GOD…NO MATTER WHAT THE STYLE OR PREFERENCE…
WE MOVE BEYOND THAT AND REALIZE THAT ALL THAT WE DO IS DONE AS WORSHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
“A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay is what we opened up the service with this morning! Now I do my best to try to watch the video, look at the lyrics and find the meaning to the opening songs that we sing. This morning song was co-written by Chris Martin. In looking on line I found this interpretation: “The lead singer was raised in an Evangelistic Christian family. He strayed away from Christianity when he left home, but stated his growing closer to God. The song is about Christ, how He lights up our paths, similar to the verse "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path". "I don't care if you tear me apart", might be referring to people and human beings who are against you. He doesn't care, because God is "a Sky Full of Stars" and "a Heavenly view". Another person wrote this: “Psalms 19:1 says, "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship." Romans 1:19-20, "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing him." Now I know that we really do not know the meaning of such songs unless you hear it from the writer themselves, but I find it to be interesting if indeed he has a history of faith in God that the lyrics have a sense of soul searching and truth shining through about God. In putting this set together I really did not take in consideration what “A Sky Full of Stars” meant. As always I am open in prayerfully listen to the Holy Spirits leading. You know we are so blessed as believers, especially if we have had a history of faith in our families. We can sing songs like “Anywhere with Jesus”; “Days of Elijah”, “Famous One”, “Forever” and ultimately ending a set with “We Believe”.
As I listen to the message this morning on “Encouragement”, when encourager sees a need and meets it despite the outcome. So I go back the opening song and the possible journey of Chris Martin. What a challenge, we all know Chris Martins in our lives who are seeking, who have lost their way! Will you be a godly encourager to them? Will you take the risk with them?
Let the lost be found and the dead be raised
IN the here and know let love invade
Let the church live loud our God will save
We believe, we believe
That the gates of hell will not prevail
For the power of God has torn the veil
Now we know Your love will never fail
As I reflect on the past weekend I come away with the challenge from Pastor Mike that God still speaks today! I also come away with the sad reality that often we don’t listen…we are often like the disciples during those three days after the crucifixion of Christ to abandon Him if we do not hear from Him. It’s funny how we always make it about us, what we want, our timing. “God answer this prayer, heal my loved one, take this cancer away from me…God do something, say something!!!” And when He doesn’t it is so easy to just give up and walk away.
I am reminded of the movie “God Is Not Dead”. If you haven’t seen it you need to! During the last lecture, the professor was asked “Why do you hate God so much?” The emotional answer was that He didn’t answer my prayer, he didn’t heal my mother from cancer”! In essence…HE DIDN’T SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING! This past weekend we wanted to emphasis that He does speak, He is ALIVE and speaks today…the problems is as humans we don’t listen.
The disciples followed Jesus for three years of their lives, they gave up everything because in their minds it was going to play out that Jesus was going to be the Messiah King, the one who would free them from the bondage of Rome. They had their plan. We have the luxury of looking back and saying to ourselves how crazy they were to just give up on Him so quickly when the beginnings of the crucifixion had begun. They hid, they felt abandoned and lied to, lost and even denied Him. In Peter’s case three times as Jesus had said he would.
Weeks went into the planning of our Easter services and Thursday I felt a strong call from the Holy Spirit to set up the scripture Pastor Mike spoke on Easter (John 21:15-19) where Jesus and Peter interact after Jesus had rose again with the popular song “Say Something”. A very raw song about giving on up if we don’t hear something from someone. It was very clear in my mind that as humans that is what we do and we do it a lot! Whether a follower of Christ or not, if we don’t hear we give up. Whether a believer or not, if your marriage is falling apart and someone, God or human, doesn’t say something we give up. If you at the bedside of a loved one who is dying and you don’t hear someone, God or human, we give up!
From the disciple’s perspective when Jesus was crucified, all that they had believed and followed in their minds was lost. And don’t think for one minute that if we were in their shoes we wouldn’t do the same thing.
The words to the song say something poetically apply such as “Anywhere I would have followed you”; “And I am feeling so small it was over my head I know nothing at all”; “SAY SOMETHING I’M GIVING UP ON YOU”. All things that I am pretty sure by the disciples actions were going on in their minds as well. WHEN WE DON’T HEAR GOD, WE GIVE UP! BUT GOD SPEAKS ALL THE TIME AND THAT WAS THE BEAUTIFUL TRANSITION AND CHALLENGE THAT PASTOR MIKE GAVE US BOTH ON GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER SUNDAY!
I received and email asking “how this song had anything to do with Easter Sunday!” It was used because I believe that the Holy Spirit prompted me, and as I talked with Pastor Mike about the song, we felt that it fit, that strikes a chord within all of us that we are quick to give up on God if He doesn’t respond to us, when we cry out to Him and He says nothing. The real fact of the matter is that He does respond, we either do not listen or don’t like the answer.
I tried several times to respond to this email and it would not allow me to. My assumption is that the person who wrote it did not want a response. My several attempts to reply kept saying this person does not exist. So, if you are out there and are reading this whether you agree or not, it is the response to your email…whether you really wanted it or not.
I would also like to challenge us all that as followers of Christ it is crucial that we practice Mathew 18:15-19 and lovingly confront face to face or in a signed letter or email that can be responded to.
The ultimate goal is that God was glorified and we celebrated that our Lord is alive and YES HE DOES SAY SOMETHING…ALL THE TIME! If you are not listening to HIM, then who are you listening to?
First Baptist Church of New Castle • 984 West Maitland Ln, New Castle, PA 16105 • [p] 724.658.2507 • [f] 724.657.0552