Archive for the ‘Worship’ Category

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Chris Tomlin)

February 24, 2016

Christian faith is ever to be growing and transforming to the end of life for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Transforming faith reaches the depths of the heart, untangles the tentacles of affection, and reforms the very form of a child of God’s soul.  The maturation of faith awakens early and often under the clear understanding and belief that the God of the Universe, the God of Creation, the Great I Am, is the Best Father of those who are His. The essence of Christian faith is not the general adoration of the unknowable.  The child daily abides with the Father whom he knows and loves.  Within that relationship, the divine power of Spirit transforming faith is released.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  Luke 11:11

I worshiped this morning to this reminder from Chris Tomlin to the reality of who God is – a good, good, Father.

“The child asks of the Father whom he knows.
Thus, the essence of Christian prayer
is not general adoration, but definite, concrete petition.
The right way to approach God is to stretch out
our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Rend Collective) – Jan. 13

January 13, 2016

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

A joyless spirit saps our strength.  Our joy in the Lord extends beyond superficial feelings of happiness.  Joy produces strength, and strength produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to same.

We must never lose our joy.

If you are not feeling the joy of the Lord, then you may need to go back to the Word.

And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing because they had understood the words that were declared to them.  Nehemiah 8:12

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Kristene DiMarco)

December 30, 2015

The first step of a child of God is to follow Jesus.
The last step of a child of God is to follow Jesus.
Every intermediate step a decision to follow and not stray.

I worshiped this morning to this reminder from Kristene DiMarco to be resolute and decisive in ever one of our intermediate steps of faith.  The lyrics of the song are:

My heart is steadfast oh God, and I won’t be led astray
by the things that, simply will fade before Your face Oh,
And I will follow You, I’m wrapped up in You, I belong to You

I was made for this, one thing is to see and to seek Your goodness
Take me by the hand and lead me

And I will follow You, I wrapped up in You, I belong to You

I have decided, and I have resolved in my heart
that I will go anywhere, anywhere just to see Your face
I have decided, and I have resolved in my heart
that I will go anywhere, anywhere, anywhere
just to see Your face

I will follow You, I wrapped up in You, I belong to You

Moments may come when I feel so afraid but
I rest in the promise you made that You will remain forever faithful and

I will follow You, I wrapped up in You, I belong to You

I belong to You

~ Kristene DiMarco, I will Follow You

 “I claim no right to myself, no right to this understanding,
this will, these affections that are in me.
Neither do I have any right to this body or its members,
no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears or eyes.
I have given myself clear away and
not retained anything of my own.”
Jonathan Edwards

 

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Worship Wednesday (Francesca Battistelli)

December 16, 2015

I love sound theology in worship songs.  This song is a wonderful reminder that we rest because God never sleeps, never slumbers, is never lost, is never surprised, never doubts.  In worship, I put all my hope in God with the restful soul of a child who can trust his Father.

He never sleeps, He never slumbers
He’s been awake at every hour
No tear catches Him by surprise
He’s never lost, He never runs out
He never lives in the shadows of doubt
No fear catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

He always is, He always will be
He always has been everything I need
How can this be catching me by surprise
He’s ever strong, He’s ever faithful
His love is real, now nothing is impossible
‘Cause nothing catches Him by surprise

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of mercy holding me
I close my eyes, and I can see
The arms of Jesus holding me

Find rest my soul
Put your hope in God
Put your hope, put your hope in God

Put your hope in God
Put your hope in God

Francesca Battistelli – Find Rest Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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WORSHIPLESS WEDNESDAY – Dec. 9

December 9, 2015

I tapped my foot to an engaging new song while commuting to work.  My mind wandered aimlessly until the words, “Pastor got a look and said, “Ya’ll had better hurry“; Send her off to a little bible college in Missouri”, brought me back to what had so engaged my foot.  The song continued with my full attention as I listened to the song “Getting Ready to Get Down” by John Ritter.

Objection after objection formed in my mind to nearly every stanza of this song.  I turned the radio off with a mixture of anger and sadness.   I was once again confronted with the familiar lie buried into the artistic fabric of our society.

I know this lie all too well.  I believed these lies for long enough to know the truth of their destructive nature.  The Story of JD chronicles my swallowing of the same old lie packaged anew in this John Ritter song.  Consider the gospel that Ritter is proclaiming:

  • There are no consequences to giving your love to whomever you please;
  • There is more to this world than the promises in the Bible;
  • Don’t let anyone, even God, tell you who you should be;
  • The God of the Bible is dry, but the world is exciting;
  • You don’t need to worry about your morality and saving yourself for marriage.
  • It is good to pursue the forbidden sweets of the world.
  • You know what you need more than God.
  • You shouldn’t let God keep you from getting what you need.

That was the message that I absent-mindedly followed with the tap of my foot; A message based on a lie.

I am tired of the same scheming falsehood.
I am tired of the same sneaky deceit.
I am tired of the same hidden distortion.
I am tired of the same crafty fabrication.
I am tired of the same lie of this world.

I want to shout, “You don’t know my God.” 

  • My God is infinitely more valuable than a one night stand;
  • My God’s promises surpass anything the world can offer;
  • My God will make me into the most complete me possible;
  • My God is the most incredible and interesting entity in the universe;
  • My God has given me everything and I give it all back because I love Him;
  • My God created all the sweetness of this world & I’ll follow his tasting instructions;
  • My God gives me all that I need, exactly when I need it;
  • My God knows what I need better than I do.

This world has nothing for me!

If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.
~ John Piper

We are all enticed to nibble at the table of the world.  A smorgasbord of the same lie confronts us in a myriad of ways from the moment we awake to the moment we go to bed:

Songs harmonizing a lie.
Movies glamorizing a lie.
Academics retorting a lie.
Politicians legislating a lie.

It is a sad reality that many who profess Christ will go to bed tonight stuffed with small morsels cut from the same lie.  We must fight this reality.  We must not mindlessly tap our foot to the latest musical rendition of the same lie.  We must not be shaken from the Truth that God is better than anything this world can offer and the source of our everlasting joy.

That is the wonderful Truth for our minds to be set upon.

 Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.
~ John Piper

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SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP (Casting Crown & TKF)

December 6, 2015

 

The favorite Christmas song poll made the round in our mini-van as we traveled to my in-law’s family Christmas celebration.  We had to name our favorite song and artist.  I have two favorite – one serious and one not so much.  My favorite (traditional) Christmas song is  “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns.

One only needs to read the news headlines to know the truth of the lyrics from “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day”:

“And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to me”

Those lyrics reminds me of this quote by Sinclair Ferguson:

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The world, all of mankind, desperately needs the only one who can bring true and lasting “Peace on earth, Good will to men” – Jesus Christ.  That is worth celebrating.

My non-traditional, non-serious favorite Christmas song is “Heat Miser” by Thousand Foot Krutch.

Heat Miser is my anthem as I’m confined in my basement pedaling to nowhere on the trainer.  Maybe, it’s a secret prayer for the Heat Miser to warm things up so I can escape the trainer and get back on the road.

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WORSHIP WEDNESDAY (Pentatonix)

November 25, 2015

I consider it a grave sin to listen to Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving.  However, the link to Joy to the World by Pentatonix was a temptation that I could not resist.

I confess a degree of self-righteousness as I listened to Pentatonix’s performance.  I piously wondered if they really believed what they were singing.  Consider the lyrics:

Joy to The world! the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonder wonders of His love

I don’t know what the members of Pentatonix believe.  I hope they believe that the Savior, the King, the Lord has come.  I hope they believe that He rules the world with truth and grace and that their hearts have prepared room for Christ.

They may believe or it may just be a song that will make them money during the Christmas season.

My self-righteousness was confronted with my hypocrisy.  I wondered how many times that I have sung Joy to the World without meaning it; how many times has a worship song emanated from my lungs and not my heart; how many times have I nodded along with a secular song, glorifying vileness…and meant it.

This Christmas season there will be an array of motivations that will not glorify God.  We will get the opportunity to see them in the market and pew.  I suggest that before we rant against those who are missing the “reason for the season”, we check to be sure that we truly mean what is coming out of our own mouths.

May this Christmas season be a personal season of worship to the glory of God – it is a matter of infinite importance.

“The Great God values not the service of men, if the heart be not in it: The Lord sees and judges the heart; he has no regard to outward forms of worship, if there be no inward adoration, if no devout affection be employed therein. It is therefore a matter of infinite importance, to have the whole heart engaged steadfastly to God.”
Isaac Watts, (wrote Joy to the World in 1719)

 

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