“Gentleness is on of the rarest of all the distinctively Christian graces.”
--Robert Strand, Gentleness
You know, this morning I was really challenged by our worship service! Gentleness is so important. It is truly amazing to come week after week and be challenged by living out the fruit of the Spirit in our everyday life! In Ephesians 4:2 we are challenged “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Kelly Cournan shared with us this morning during the welcome that Jesus is one of her examples of gentleness to live by! I was taken back to the Scripture that talks about Jesus interacting with the children…one of many examples of our Gentle Shepherd, Jesus! So I am challenged today, and every day from this point to live a life of gentleness and I challenge you to do the same!
This morning I wanted the set to be filled with songs that worship God for His goodness, His generosity towards us. What better example of how to live a life of goodness and generosity. Ultimately God was good by giving up His Son as the sacrifice for our sinfulness! What a beautiful picture of generosity to a sinful mess like us!!!! For that we give Him the praise and we see that through God’s example how we can be a light, how we can…just by following His word, with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can be that light, that goodness to a world in need. I am not talking about the world way out there, but the sphere of your influence. The people you work with, hang out with, go to school with, share meals with! I think often we wait to long in those situation. The Scripture tells us in Proverbs 3:27, 28 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’—when you already have it with you” (NIV)
It truly is about surrender isn’t it! If we live a surrendered life, allowing the Holy Spirit complete control things do play out differently! Living out the fruit of the Spirit come more naturally when we aren’t concerned with living out our human nature. This morning we sang some powerful words about following Christ forever, does our life show that…or is that easy said Sunday morning during worship? I challenge you as the last song did we have an intimate relationship with a God who is “Holy, Righteous, Faithful to the end, Savior, Healer, Redeemer and Friend!” Our God delivers! He does everything He says that he will do! He promised us a helper, His Holy Spirit…are you allowing the Holy Spirit to help you?
It is always a challenge to put together a service that falls on a national holiday. This weekend we remember, Memorial Day, is a day of remembering those who lost their life for the freedom that we have here in the United States! We showed a video this morning that honored their memory well http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/31170/We-Remember I love the ending of Scripture John 15:13 “No greater love than this, that one lays down their life for their friend”. I said this morning that there is no one who understands that more than God does, as His Son was the ultimate sacrifice for our sin! Such love!
Pastor Mike’s message this morning spent time talking about Abraham’s faith! As we read in Scripture and know how God has been faithful to them, we also know that God doesn’t change and He is faithful today! Faith is a genuine action! We see all through the Scriptures God’s faith! He is good, this morning through the music we are reminded of that goodness…His faithfulness! So as we sang this morning, the attributes and characteristics of God that we sang of remind us of how faithful He is! At the end of the song set we are challenged with a great hymn of the church “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place”…such powerful words! Do we believe that. As I was singing this morning I found myself worshipping during this hymn in such a way that it I blocked out the fact that I was leading. It was so important to me that I had completely focus on what I was singing, the words that were coming from my mouth. Now you may say, “shouldn’t your focus be on God completely Pastor Scott as you worship?” Please understand my job as the worship leader, I am responsible to lead the congregation, vocal team and band, as we worship, so it is a juggling act many times! This morning though, I took a break as we sang “My faith has found a resting place not in device or creed, I TRUST THE EVER LIVING ONE HIS WOUNDS FOR ME SHALL PLEAD. I need no other argument I need no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for me!” As we went into that chorus of “My faith has found a resting place” I was taken to the throne of God in worship! Thank you God, I have faith in YOU!
It is my prayer as each Sunday morning we worship together, that our time goes beyond songs, and style…but that the words we sing carry a lot of meaning and hold great truths of the attributes and character of God! I trust that you are engaging not with the worship team, but with God! I trust that the words you sing ring true as you sing such a great commitment to God such as “My faith has found a resting place”!
Who do you put your faith in?
When I am putting a worship set together I do my best to take many different things in consideration: Songs that will lead people into worship; what is the theme for the day; what songs work well together to affirm an attribute of God that we are singing about. Then there are weeks that songs all come together and the connection point hits me on Sunday morning first service as we are in the midst of the set!
I have been reading the book “Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven…Exploring Worship as a Spiritual Discipline” by Rory Noland. The book is broken into two parts one that talks about the personal discipline of worship and then the corporate discipline of worship. He used the book of Revelation and what John saw to give us insight on what worship will look like in heaven. Noland makes these points:
Worship in heaven will be loud. Revelation 5:11-12 “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angles, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice…” Revelation 11:15 “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying…” Revelation 19:1 “After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heave, crying out…” Heaven is not going to be a quiet experience all the time, the styles will vary, the language will not necessary all be English.
Noland also talked about repetition as well siting Revelation 4:8 “Day and night they never cease to say ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” So this morning as we are singing the set I am looking at all the songs and how they work together and I catching a glimpse of what John was talking about in Revelation!
As we finished singing “Famous One” at the beginning of the service, Pastor Mike challenged us to think of someone in our lives that needs Jesus! God, began to weave in my mind the major connection throughout this morning that worship experience in Heaven and the need to share my faith with others. Life is incredible being a follower of Jesus Christ! Why wouldn’t I want to share that? Who am I sharing that with? The sobering reality of this morning for me was that fact, a fact I sang about as a child: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…Hide it under a bushel NO! I’m gonna let it shine!” Do my friends who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ see a difference in my life? The glimpse of heaven this morning…am I going to hide that from those in my life who do not know HIM?
What a beautiful morning together as a church family!
If my heart has grown cold
There Your love will unfold
As you open my eyes
To the work of Your hand
When I’m blind to my way
There Your Spirit will pray
As You open my eyes
From the song “Oceans Will Part”
What incredible words, what an incredible challenge! This morning we were reminded from Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for he good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Are we tuned into His whisper? Are you looking for hope? The past couple weeks I have been talking about the fact that we often default back into taking control of our lives! We forget what we sang about this morning that He is the God of the Ages “He is the first and last the One who matters most!”
It boggles our minds doesn’t it, this God, God of the ages is a friend of sinners! Maybe this morning you needed to hear that. Maybe this morning you are in the process of making bad decisions or you are having a hard time letting go of bad decisions that you have made! This morning you need hope, or you know people that need hope. I pray you were challenged either way. God is our healer…He is our portion…He is all that we need! In fact He is more than we need, He is all sufficient for everything and anything we face in life!
May I remind you of the bridge of the song “Healer” that says “Nothing is impossible for You, Nothing is in impossible, Nothing is impossible for You, YOU HOLD MY WORLD IN YOUR HANDS!” Again I want to remind you of the video last week called “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. You may be reading this and accepted this redemption or you may not have…you may have forgotten about what Christ did for you, how He redeemed you! I pray you have walked away this morning with the reminder that you have been redeemed!
When I saw this video clip, I was just so overwhelmed by that fact the…I am redeemed! It was a great perspective as we approached communion, to spend some time focusing on the cost of our redemption, our salvation! Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation; He died on a cross, a gruesome death so that we could have life. He is truly mighty to save because there is no way we could achieve salvation on our own!
During the month of April we had a series called “I Am Second” where we heard the stories of various famous and not famous people of how God impacted their life and changed them! When I watched the video “Redeemed” I just couldn’t help but feel that it would resonate with many of us this morning! We each have a story, don’t we? Often, no one knows what our stories are because we don’t share them often. This morning was a reminder of our stories, life that we have been redeemed from! The life we have been healed from. No matter what you have done, you have been redeemed if you choose to receive that redemption. Pray that God will open your eyes if you have lost sight of what He has done for you! If you don’t fully grasp what He has done for you then please ask someone from church to share with you their story!
Wow, it is so great to be back! Special thank you Chris and the whole team for filling in while I was on vacation with my family! There is nothing better than to know that while you are away that we don’t miss a beat! THANK YOU!
Victory is our theme today, we have victory in Jesus! He has overcome the world! But does that mean we won’t face struggles or go through trials? I don’t know about you, but I have days where I feel like I’m all alone on this journey in life! Alone, abandoned…but are we? Absolutely not! Whatever we may be going through God is there, He is there all along. And it is in those times that we are to lean on Jesus even more! Amy Grant wrote a song early in her career that said this “I love a lonely day, It makes me think of You”, is that what you think of on a lonely day? I am always challenged by those words when I feel alone. It is in these times that we should trust God…these times when the wheels fall off in life, when we are betrayed, forgotten, abused, God is there! We are the ones that lose sight, we lose focus on God! We get caught up on ourselves, selfishly we look only at our situation and soon it becomes poor me! We need to wake up, I know often I need a wakeup call, and stop being so self-centered! We need to challenge one another to see the bigger picture, to help each other see that God is in control!
Everything belongs to God…He is in control…He is right there through your life! Each step that we take, He is there! Not only is He there, but He also wears the Victor’s crown! It is our prayer that through the journey we have been on in the life of Joseph that you can take hope in the fact that Jesus wears the Victor’s crown!
After experiencing this morning’s service I can’t help but be moved! We were challenged by our own people to be second! The ultimate story, the one that was played out by Jesus Christ has inspired so many other stories! God is so good! What is your story? What is God doing in your life? This morning we spent some time being challenged through worship that “God is Able”: “God is with us He will go before He will never leave us, He will never leave us” Our God can get you through your story, He can be actively involved in our story if you allow him to. Are you allowing Him control from the inside out? If you are, then you have a story! If you are not, then why not consider giving Him control today? Your story can start today…the world needs to hear it!
Wow what a morning!!! As we sang about patience, during rehearsal, our projection screen was not cooperating. As a worship leader it’s not only my job to lead worship, but to also lead my team and remain calm and patient. BUT MY HEART IS WANTING TO SUCCED, TO MAKE SURE THAT EACH PIECE OF THE MORNING WAS JUST RIGHT!!!
BUT I HAVE TO SAY THAT GOD IS SO GOOD, BY THE TIME THE SERVICE STARTED ALL WAS GOOD.
You know when we strive to take control it never works out right…we never succeed do we? I tried to put together a set of music that would help us to see the importance of reminding ourselves that we are SECOND. Life is the way God intended it to be when we put Him FIRST!! In “Better Than Life” we are challenged why wouldn’t you put the Creator of the universe first! We are “safe and secure” when leaning on God. That doesn’t mean that bad things won’t come our way. The Christian walk is not easy, it comes with struggles of all kinds, but what makes it different is that we have Jesus to trust, that He is there and we can find peace in him! He is “holy and righteous faithful to the end!” He is our “Saviour healer Redeemer and friend”. The promises He makes to us He keeps them each and every one! This morning as we were singing such truths, the impact was amazing…especially after seeing how God worked out all the technical details!
I love the phrases in verse 2 of “The Same Love”: “You take the faithless one aside, And speak the words you are Mine, You call the cynic and the proud, come to me know.”
God first! I am second!
“Lift up you heads, Open the doors, Let the King of glory come in, And forever be our God!”
P.S. Thank you to a great tech team (near and far) who remained calm this morning and with God’s strength was able to get everything up and running! Praise God!
“Hallelujah You have overcome!” PRAISE GOD! As we focus on struggle this week I put the set together with victory in mind! Everyone struggles—big and small we all struggle. We see it throughout the Scriptures and we see where God healed the struggling, not only heal them but encouraged them to tell their story to impact the world for Him.
Starting off the morning I wanted us to focus on the season that is approaching. “Chris is Risen” reminds us of His victory! “O death where is your sting, O hell where is your victory, O church come and stand in the light, The glory of God has defeated the night”…AMEN! You’re going to see a lot of exclamation points in this blog because it is so amazing what God has done for us. We need to be reminded, we need to constantly be looking around us and even in our own life…God is at work!
“Awake My Soul” we are challenged to wake up, God has given us the resources to have a growing and thriving relationship with Him! The ability to have a personal relationship with Him, to have the Scriptures to dive into any time we can, not to mention His Holy Spirit! In the midst of struggle we can often move ourselves first, when we need to be reminded that we are second! God’s “Amazing Grace” reminds us that He is to be first! “The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures, He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.” Draw upon the Lord, in the midst of your struggle right now, draw upon the Lord. He is your foundation, solid foundation…with Him first in your life “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace, In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil”. Over this past week I wanted clarity to this phrase so I did a little research and found this insight via the internet mixed with my thoughts as well: What it means to say “My anchor holds within the veil”. Who or what is my anchor? ……. The Lord is our anchor! Then I thought… really is He, or do I just really, really hope He is. After so much “life” has happened I can say HE IS. Yes there are moments that I have to say “remember who your anchor is”. So I know who my anchor is, but what is my anchor. What is my description of “anchor”? Well the definition is: something to hold another thing securely. Synonyms are: comfort, defense, fastener, foothold, grip, hold, hook, mainstay, pillar, protection, safeguard, security, stay, support. Not only does this sound true, it feels true. The veil is the place of the holy of holies. Guess what, I get to enter into it! I did something that gave me that privilege. I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life, my whole life. I put Him first in my life and He took my life and gave me his eternal life and by grace, His grace, I am held in the holy of holies. I’m not holding my anchor, my anchor is holding me. He is not holding me over a cliff either. He is holding me in the most sacred place where his glory shines all around me. He is holding me in a place where the impossible is possible. He holds me in a place that the world only dreams exist. Hebrews 6:19 says “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.”
VICTORY! In the midst of your struggle there is victory! Jesus wears the Victor’s Crown! He if fighting for you, He is your help and defender, in His presence fear is silenced! “Hallelujah You have overcome, You have overcome, Hallelujah Jesus You have overcome the world!”