What a great morning of worship yesterday! As I am sitting here writing, reflecting on the time of worship we had together yesterday and the topic that Pastor Mike spoke on I am truly amazed at how God orchestrates a Sunday to meet His purposes! Starting off the service with Communion speaks volumes to us as followers of Christ…life and relationship do not center around me! God should be the CENTER of all that we do! Taking time to realize that through the Lord’s Table is a great reminder to us all!
I want to post the video from yesterday, because I believe it is great to take a look at it throughout your week this week. It will keep fresh all the God has done for us! http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/32855/Do-This-In-Remembrance-Of-Me
“All for Love” is a great showcase worship song that reminds us that out of ultimate love God sacrificed his Son for us, so that we could have salvation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1r9SZ0jJxE We constantly make mistakes, and our loving, grace giving Father provides forgiveness when we ask! “Let the cross draw man to You!” There is great truth in this song, everything we need is in the Lord, for every moment of every day. Humanly we will come up short every time!
“Cornerstone” is a great arrangement of the great hymn “The Solid Rock.” Again, we are reminded that our “hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood an righteousness”; the song goes on with this next phrase: “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name.” Just what exactly does that mean? “The sweetest frame” means whatever false way our thought that may tempt you. We cannot truth out own “frame” of mind, our own emotional state…that can be shaking ground! But we can trust God, the cornerstone which brings strength to us! If you grew up in Sunday School you may remember the Bible story found in Matthew 7:24-27, you may have even sang the song in children’s church many years ago! “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” “Christ alone, cornerstone, weak made strong in the Saviors love! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWHgvkEPJiQ
“Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)” ended our set appropriately! It speaks for itself! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqrqPGt11bA
One last thought, as Pastor Mike was preaching, one of his points was what’s mine is mine. The way my brain works I thought of this little video clip…enjoy!
Well the first week of the curtain being up during worship raised awareness for myself. My thought was that the curtain would take away the distraction of the platform, it’s people, etc. What I quickly learned was that when one distraction is taken away, another “rears its ugly head!” We experienced technical difficulties, transitions were a bit rough and I am sure for all who walked in the unexpected curtain was a distraction. As I spent the week processing what the past Sunday was like as well as asking God to show me what this all means I was struck with this reality in it’s simple form: there will always be a distraction when it comes to worshipping God!
Over the past several months I have found all the construction on the 376 (formerly 60) exit by Wal-Mart to be extremely frustrating! I have realized that I depend on that exit for many things these days: McDonalds, since the McDonalds on 18 is being rebuilt; getting to Lowes real quick as something has broken at my house; going to Wal-Mart, even though I try my best to avoid that one!!!!; grabbing something from Staples or every Thursday morning around 5:30 heading to C’s Waffle House to meet with my accountability group. The goal is to get from point A to point B…well with all the construction going on I have found it to be a huge distraction in my life of trying to get from point A to point B! Sometimes the exit is open, sometimes it’s closed…I have had to take a lot of detours to get to point B and even to get back to point A! I have to admit that that has not been pleasant on many occasions, the distraction it has created on those occasions have been hard to overcome!
Okay, Pastor Scott, put it all together, where are you going with this? Well, here it is: How do you handle it? When something unexpected happens how do you handle it? When you are trying to get from point A to point B and something gets in the way…what do you do? When you are trying to worship God and something gets in the way…do you allow that distraction to take over? Do you allow that distraction to keep you from worshipping God? When I discovered the exit to Wal-Mart was closed did I stop at that exit and go no further? No, sure I found myself very frustrated, even angry at times, but it wasn’t going to stop me from getting to Lowes!
When you find that you are distracted during worship, which will always be the case…does it stop you from worshipping? Or do you find yourself determined to worship no matter what! You see, worship is so much more than singing together on Sunday morning…it is EVERYTHING you do, EVERYTHING you face, EVERY moment of EVERY day! Worship is a decision! It is deciding to get past the distractions!
Knowing that, think about your past week, and think about all the distraction that kept you from worshipping God! Last week, pastor Mike challenged us from Isaiah 1 that worship is a heart issue! We see in verse 10-14 of that chapter that God was unhappy with their worship, not the avenue of worship. God wants sincere faith and devotion…I am going to worship Him no matter what distraction there is. That is a heart issue, we can go through the motions, in fact many of us do…but what is on the inside? I ask myself the same question do I have a heart that is fully devoted to God? Will I do what it takes to worship despite the distractions? Will the outward signs of my life throughout the day indicate a heart of complete devotion to God…that is worship…that is what matters to God!
We see in Isaiah 6:1-8 a very precious interaction, a very transparent moment for Isaiah! Seeing the Lord and listening to all the praises going on around him Isaiah quickly realized that he was not worthy of approaching God, he was not worthy of worshipping Him! His lips were touched with a burning coal…it wasn’t the burning coal that made him worthy of worshipping God; it was God who made him righteous! Jesus’ sacrifice makes us righteous. Isaiah could have stopped there, he could have given up and frankly, he did…BUT GOD made a way. God made the way; we cannot lose sight of that! Each and every day God has made a way! What was Isaiah’s response? He submitted himself entirely to God and His service. Each and every day God has made a way…what is our response…what is your response…what is my response? When the distractions hit, what will we do? Will we allow it to distract us from the truth that God has made a way?
There will always be distractions when it comes to worshipping God…no matter how difficult won’t you say to Him “Here am I, Send Me!”
You know if we stop and take a look at the attributes of God: Holy, Righteous, Faithful, Saviour, Healer, Redeemer, Friend and many more, it doesn’t take long to realize how much He impacts you on a daily basis. Do you look at it that way? Do you stop to realize that each and every moment of your life you are impacted by one or more of the many attributes of God. If you are a follower of Christ, just knowing that your “soul is secure” the fact that you have been saved by grace should impact each second of your life. As we embark on the a study in the book of Isaiah , “Wired for Worship”, you cannot help but answer the question: “What do you worship?” We all worship something, whether a follower of Christ or not. In Louie Giglio’s book Wired: For a Life of Worship he says: “Should you for some reason choose not to give God what He desires [worship], you’ll still worship something—exchanging the Creator for something He has created.” We were created to worship, all mankind was created to worship…and our worship wasn’t only to happen on a Sunday.
So you came in this morning and you saw a curtain hiding the platform…the screens were very plain, WHY? It’s a great question. In an effort to help us better understand worship we need to strip some of the distraction away, and approach it differently than what we are accustomed to. We see in Isaiah 1:10-14 that God was unhappy with the people’s sacrifices (worship), not the system of sacrifices he had initiated with Moses. God was calls for sincere faith and devotion. The leaders were carefully making the traditional sacrifices and offerings at holy celebrations, but they were still unfaithful to God in their hearts. Sacrifices were to be and outward sign of their inward faith in God, but the outward signs became empty because no inward faith existed. We often place more faith in the act, the process, what it takes to “get us to worship” than putting faith in the God we worship. When we get too caught up in the “how” of worship, our hearts lose focus of the “Who” (God) of worship.
And so we get stuck in a box, we get stuck thinking worship should happen this way, our way. Worship is only on Sunday. Worship is so much more. This morning we are being challenged to look at worship differently, starting from the heart…a heart that is faithful to God. When your heart is faithful to God, then the process of worship, the time, the place, the means, the practices fall to the wayside because of the “Who”, because of God. When our heart takes in all that God has done for us we do what we are created to do worship Him! As we sing today, it has been my prayer that any distraction that the worship team may cause would not be there. As we sing today, it has been my prayer that your worship is genuine from the heart as a result of all that God has done for you! As the words come from your lips, you realize all that He has done for you and your heart overflows with praise to our Savior.
“Speak, O Lord” is a prayer that our hearts would be open to what God’s word says to us today. Change us God
Revelation 5:11-13 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. The encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and hone and glory and praise!” Then I heard every creature in heave and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praised and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
In “Glory to God Forever” Steve Fee wants the song to convey the message “save me God, I don’t want my life to be about myself”…as followers of Christ, our life is all about His glory! Hear more about the song by following this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4eAjibzG0o This morning, will that be your prayer, tomorrow morning will that be your prayer? “Take my life and let it be yours” God! In the Revelation 5 Scripture you just read gives us an awesome picture! Life the way God intended it, the angels worship constantly…we need to live the life of constant worship throughout your days, it is our eternal destiny to worship “the Lamb that was slain”. If we do not worship the rocks will cry out to their Creator!
Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Worship and Missions go hand and hand. We are missionaries, each and every day as we walk through life here in or communities. Our mission, to share with people about the saving grace of Jesus. Jesus, the name above all names, God’s only Son! I am sure many of us have sung “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name” many times, but may not know the powerful story that goes along with it, follow the link to get a bird’s eye view of how Missions and Worship go hand in hand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_UhtYhhDFI
“Heaven opens as we sing Your praise” I think E.P. Scott would agree with that! “Angels join us as we praise Your name”! What is the alternative to a live void of praise? Have you ever thought about that reality? Do you ever find yourself sliding back into that kind of life? As we sing “Shout of the King” it is a great reminder to “praise Him in everything”, because I again go back to imagine a life void of praise! This life is hard enough, what would it be like without a Savior? A Savior who sacrifice his life for you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vf7aAUQJC8
Colossians 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heave, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
“The Same God that spread the heavens wide, The same God that was crucified (now catch this next line) Is calling us all by name” Wow!!! Our God is for us, knowing that NOTHING, NOTHING should get in the way of our worshipping Him! Putting everything in perspective so far the rest of our time of worship together is just that…Worshipping our God the Glorious One!
Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirths and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Donald Grey Barnhouse, the author of “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place”, used to ask “When you get to the pearly gates and God asks, ‘What right do you have to come into my Heaven?’ what will you say?” Some might flash their church membership cards or dangle their perfect Sunday school attendance before God. Some might spout the theology they have learned or present their resumes packed with good deeds. “You should let me in because I would be an asset to your community. I would sing alto in your choir, and I could help out with the youth group.” But God does not run heaven like a country club or a successful corporation. We cannot get in on our own qualifications. The door is barred to all who try to earn entry. But it swings wide open for the follower of Christ who receives the truth of Jesus sacrificial death and resurrection. We are made righteous by His sacrifice!
“I put my hope in You!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2YGznhrx9g “Show Me Your Ways”…want to become strong in your faith then make this your prayer and seek God. Seek him in his Word, and through prayer, build around you a group of people who are striving to make Christ a priority in their life as well. The foundation is God, just look through the Scriptures and you see where God has helped…He keeps His promises. Won’t you open your life for him to guide you? “O God Our Help in Ages Past” was written by Isaac Watts as he turned to Psalm 90 for guidance. Take some time to read Psalm 90 and then follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U4AEekG7Y8
As we talk about words today and the power of words I wanted worship to challenge you. As we sit under the Word each week we can often be discouraged because we feel like we cannot even come close to doing what God has instructed us to do. We mess up. The new song “The Same Love” reminds us that we are called, no matter what you past…or your present, He is calling you to a life that is different, that is light to a dark world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAK3t6uG58Q
“God is Able” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IcoFBpsL6k yet another reminder that when we get discouraged and feel like we are drowning “He will make a way!” It’s surrender, that is what we seem to struggle with as humans, surrender. Whatever area of our life we struggle with it boils down to surrendering that to God and giving him control. “Take My Life” Romans 12:1 & 2 “Therefore , I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We can end right there! Take that truth to heart and thank God for his goodness! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6GfXa5Ixhw
1 Peter 2:23-25 (the MESSAGE) They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.
“Prone to wander”, I think that phrase is pretty relatable to many of us! Robert Robinson wrote this great hymn in 1758…a man who was definitely prone to wander. As a teen Robinson, who was a notorious trouble maker, found himself at a George Whitefield meeting where he ridiculed the preacher the whole time. When the preacher read Matthew 3:7 “O generation of vipers; who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come” Robinson opened his heart to what was being said and became a Christ follower that evening. At age 23 he wrote “Come Thou Found of Every Blessing”. It has been said that late in his life, Robinson did stray from the faith and drifted far from the Fount that he wrote about. One day he was riding in a stagecoach and sitting by a woman who was reading a hymnbook. She showed him the hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” saying how wonderful it was. He tried to change the subject but couldn’t. Finally he said, “Madam, I am the poor man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
Does that resonate with you today? “The feelings I had then” is that where you relationship with Jesus is today, something you look back on and wish you had now? Take a look at Psalms 145: 2-3 “Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” written by Charles Wesley on the 11th anniversary of his conversion as a reminder to keep “the feeling” alive in his life…to make every day a praise to God for all that He is! We all need to live a life of praise, to always keep in front of us all that God does for us! Again this week “You are So Good To Me” is a response…a reminder for us not to allow ourselves to wander, but to focus on Him!
Urgency…we are a part of a much larger story as Jared Anderson says, writer of the “Great I Am”…check out the rest of the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC42UatfUYg Are we going to be a part of God’s story? Or are we going to give into wandering? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5CWGi82N7k This week we learned a new song by Paul Baloche that challenges us all that God can take the weak and make them strong, heal brokenness, use the faithless by using His Spirit to draw them to Him! Do you hear Him calling you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GRp_fTfX4c
Do you ever feel like you come to God and you have nothing? Check out the story behind “Forever Reign” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2NFIHaKagg Stay focused, keep your eyes on Christ! Praise God, lift Him up, worship Him, glorify Him! Let’s bring Him honor today with “God Be Praised/Our God Reigns”! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xO6QN_0F4Xg What a challenge that we are part of a much bigger story!!! Isn’t God Good! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6GfXa5Ixhw
Psalms 91:2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
What a great way to start off the morning with “Leaning on the Everlasting Arm/’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. Psalms 91:2 reminds us that He is our refuge! He is our fortress! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEXmmIji6fY With God’s arms beneath us and His love surrounding us we can claim victory! You know no matter what your situation in life with God as your strength, you can make it through anything.
Eugene M. Bartlett was born in 1885, he taught in singing schools throughout the South and founded the Hartford Music Company in 1918. He brought gospel music into churches large and small. In 1939, when he was fifty-four, Bartlett had a serious stroke. Partially paralyzed, he was virtually confined to a bedroom. No more could he travel and encourage churches in their singing. He could not teach students, as he loved doing. But he could still study the Bible! Though writing was a challenge for him the last song that he wrote was “Victory in Jesus,” a song filled not only with hope and cheer, but also with solid theology gleaned from his time of studying God’s Word! We are all familiar with Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. As we prepare for communion today, what a great reminder of the sacrifice for our salvation! We have victory because of Jesus redemptive work on the cross! Jesus paid for our sin, we deserve to pay the penalty…but He loves us so much that He paid that penalty for us!
Does that stir something inside of you? When you stop to think about it…does it challenge you to live your life differently? To see your purpose through different eyes? To see the world through different eyes? In an article by WorshipLeader.com, Joel Huston says this of the song he wrote “From the Inside Out”: “
The more and more I dove into the Word, it just started to become more clear. This song’s a really personal song, but the outcome of that personal revelation has to be outward. And so the idea of committing who we are, heart and soul, from the inside out means that it has to move beyond a personal experience. Really, it’s about the Church at large. As we each individually get the revelation for ourselves to live our lives from the inside out, that translates to a Church that is not inward focused, but one that is outward focused. For me, my idea of worship just came back to this revelation of love-because Christ loved us. Worship … this song … it’s a response to Christ’s love.”
You can find the whole article here: http://worshipleader.com/song-story-from-the-inside-out-2/“It’s a response to Christ’s love”…how do you respond? Do you dive into God’s Word to help things in this life become more clear? Has your faith moved beyond personal experience to the desire to share what you have discovered and learned about Jesus with your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, those you come in contact with outside of FBC? Our life…it’s not about us and I know humanly speaking how easy it can become about us! But as we are in His Word, we are reminded that it is not at all about us! As we approach the Lord’s table we are reminded of His “Amazing Grace”, not just for us but for all to receive! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjMFkvkxXeQ
This week we introduced a new song to our church family “You Are So Good To Me”. I felt it fit so good in the communion set because, the time we spend together remembering and reflecting on what God has done for us; I wanted to give everyone a chance to respond, to worship Him! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfJ32b0Hr7E
It is important to end this morning’s worship with the reminder that there are many people out there that need Jesus! People you see each day that need to know of His unfailing love, grace, and mercy! We need to surrender our will to His will! So it is my prayer that we all, myself included, renew our commitment today to be a light in a dark world for Jesus!
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
I love Baptism Sundays! I love putting the worship set together to celebrate and challenge us all! We started off this morning with “Everyday”…to me it gives a great challenge! But be careful about what you are singing! It’s easy to sing words, but do you mean them? Do you understand fully that you are singing a commitment to God? Do you realize the ups and downs of such a commitment and challenge in your life? Now I am not trying to discourage you by any means from living for Christ every day, but I am challenging you to not just sing words…they are not just words they are commitments to do something! Several years ago I had the chance to go to sit under the teaching of one of our foremost worship leaders Darlene Zchech at the Billy Graham Center. I remember walking away from that experience thoroughly impressed with Darlene Zchech…she lives out what she writes and sings about! It is not a performance with her…well it is, it is a performance for God and God only! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_OVrA_wjwI
So with baptism in mind, the set is built around the challenge to those being baptized to live it out every day! It is also a reminder to all of us to living it out every day…live out our commitment to Christ. With all of it’s ups and downs…live it OUT LOUD! After singing such a challenge I thought it fitting to sing a prayer “Awakening”, to prepare our hearts for what we were going to sing, hear and see today…to be open to the Holy Spirits moving in our hearts! “Awakening” is a massive word as Chris Tomlin says! What a force of worship to have Passion and Hillsongs work together on this song! As we as a church realize that it’s not just about us, but also about our world through missions this song “Awakening” is a prayer for all of us…our sister churches, our community, our missionaries! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Woxgu9Ld2VA
What Christ has done for us and what that means is what “In Christ Alone” is about! As Stuart Townsend says “We often worry about how well we are doing, and it isn’t about that at all it’s about what He has done”. Today’s baptisms are a reminder that it is not about us…it’s about what Christ has done for us. The penalty He paid for us to have salvation! I absolutely love the truth of the whole song, but in particular verse 4: “No power of hell, no scheme of man, can ever pluck me from His hand” …I go back to singing the commitment of “Everyday”! Stop and really think of the price that was paid for your salvation! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpipuCeGQn4
Each week is not just about picking songs and putting them together! God is so good at putting sets together in my head…sets that challenge and offer up worship! I also consider my team and the stories and journeys that God has brought them on. Placing this song is not meant to be anti-climactic to the celebration of Baptism, but to give hope. I am sure that there are many out there in the midst of the journey we are all on that feel like as we strive to live every day for the Lord that we do see those ups and downs that I have been blogging about. Verse 3 of this song emphasizes that whether up on the mountains tops or down in the valleys…God has been there, will be there, will always be there. And yes, He will solve the problems, it may not be the solution we had in mind…but He will solve them! So trust…keep on keeping on…trust in Jesus. When you are week, pray, read His Word! John 16:33 (the Message) I have told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakeable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the word. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V2Jzv_h7yo
It is so easy to lose focus! “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” is a reminder to us all. Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. The response in this set is to worship! “For Who You Are” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IU7D369avGI “My soul secure, Your promise sure, Your love endures always”!
Before you begin to read today’s blog, take some time to read Psalm 148 for it sets the stage for today’s worship. “All Creatures of Our God and King written by St Francis of Assisi in 1225 is Psalm 148 put to written music. Check out the following video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cObXwn-EgGY Luke 19:40 says “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” “Let Everything That Has Breath”…if we do not worship the rocks will cry out! How do you praise Him? Do you wait until Sunday mornings when we gather together? We talk about worship (praise) happening every moment of your life…what does that look like for you? It has been so awesome to read a chapter in Proverbs each day because it gives insight on how to LIVE a life of worship in every moment!
When you take the time to stop and remember, reflect, truly think about the sacrifice that Jesus made for our sinfulness it is overwhelming!!!
Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for out transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed”
“And Can It Be” written in 1738 by Charles Wesley captures the response we should have to such a powerful verse such as Isaiah 53:5! As we were rehearsing for today’s worship I was overtaken with the imagery of verse 3 “Long my imprisoned spirit lay. Fast bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray. I woke the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off my heart was free. I rose went forth and followed Thee”. When light penetrates darkness of the soul, when the Holy Spirit begins to work in your life, and the lights break through the darkness chains fall off! (I thought it was interesting that the one set of lyrics that I wanted to emphasis in this worship set, during first service, the computer crashed and the lyrics were lost. Half way through the 3rd verse the system came back on and the part I wanted, the word picture I was hoping people would catch appeared on the screen…God took care of what satan was trying to stop us from seeing!) What an incredible picture… “Jesus Paid It All” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brVIlXlJRkQ
Thank you Lord! Christ reigns supreme! Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” What an incredible truth to hold on to! Nothing can compare.
We often hear the stories behind hymns, but seldom get the story behind some of our modern hymns. Check out the link below to hear the story behind “Forever Reign” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2NFIHaKagg As we sang the chorus “I’m running to Your arms, I’m running to Your arms, The riches of Your love will always be enough, Nothing compares to Your embrace, Light of the world forever reign.” I found myself going back to verse 3 of “And Can It Be” He is the Light of the world…the Light that penetrates the darkness of our soul. When we chose to live our life for Christ, the Light of the world, our chains fall off and we are free…free to follow Him, to live our life for Him, to worship Him and glorify Him with every step we take in this journey of life.
It is always awesome to start of a worship set with a song that was introduced to us by way of the Children’s and Youth ministry years ago! I believe the “Trading My Sorrows” crosses all generational bounds! How often do we all feel “pressed”, “persecuted” and “struck down”! But we are NOT “crushed”, “abandoned” or “destroyed”. We are “blessed”…we are BLESSED! His joy is our strength. You God doesn’t promise that following Him will be easy, in fact you will encounter troubles, maybe even more than if you did not follow Him…but the joy you receive, that joy last far longer than the troubles you have faced! So why not trade it all in for His joy!
The response to His provision is praise, He is worthy of our praise (“You’re Worthy of My Praise”)…not just on Sunday corporately but all day, every day! I wanted to make sure that what Pastor Mike was talking about today was tied into worship so throughout the set you see words and phrases that talk of being a servant and serving. I hope as you walked in this morning or as you left you stopped by one of the table and checked out how you can serve here at FBC. There are many opportunities to use what God has gifted you with to serve Him!
God, God has truly blessed us with so much and I wanted to give us all an opportunity through music to worship God for His many attributes that we benefit from! “A Might Fortress is Our God”! Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, ‘Destroy him!’” Pastor Mike drew our attention to the end of verse 2 where is says “And He must win the battle” in poetic translation it means And He will win the battle”! Scripture is clear that God will be victorious! Why wouldn’t you say “yes” to Him?
The worship set continued with “Our God” which continues to affirm that we have victory in Him…nothing can stand against us if God is with us. Why wouldn’t you say “yes” to Him? Psalms 20:7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, byut we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
All it took was 20 minutes; God used Steve Fee to write “Glorious One” in 20 minutes. Steve was overtaken with the brilliance of God. In verse 2 he tried to convey that brilliance by poetically panning out and view God in an immense way, such a big powerful God…yet He still cares to run to the broken! Psalms 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” “God is Able”…He has defeated the grave and in His name we can overcome! God is always there…why wouldn’t you say “yes” to Him?