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This post is a little different from past Songs for Sunday because we had church this morning.  So it is coming from an “after service” perspective.

The songs we sang this week were:

Made to Worship

He is Exalted

I Stand Amazed in the Presence (How Marvelous)

Rescuer

The Wonderful Cross

The highlight for me was the theme of redemption that ran through the entire service this morning.  Charles Gabriel wrote the hymn I Stand Amazed and in it he paints a beautiful picture of Christ’s redemptive act of love from the cross.  In the first verse it says “and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.” How many times do we come to church just beaten down by our sins from the past week and we feel so unworthy, so unclean, and then we come into the presence of our Lord. Like Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and exalted on His throne, he said “Woe to me! I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King.” But in Isaiah’s vision the seraph then flies to him with a live coal, touches his lips, and says “See this has touched your lips, your guilt is taken away.” In the same way Christ bore our sin with Him on Calvary, and he paid the price of sin for us when he died on the cross. The second verse of I Stand Amazed describes this when it says:

He took my sin and sorrow

He made them His very own

He bore the burden to Calvary

And suffered and died alone

How amazing is that? Sometimes our concept of grace is that God simply looks past our sin, but in reality a very real price was paid for our sin, because it had to. The Son, Jesus Christ, was obedient to death, even death on a cross! The chorus of the song then becomes a heart cry of praise:

How Marvelous, How Wonderful

And my song shall ever be

How Marvelous, How Wonderful

Is my Saviors love for me.

Great time of worship this morning, and may it carry on to the next day, and the next…

Isaiah 55:9 – As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thougths.

Last year I went to a worshiptogether.com conference in KC and they gave us a book at registration called The Hole in Our Gospel written by the president of World Vision, Richard Stearns. It sat on my shelf all this year and I finally decided to read it about a month ago. It’s a fairly decent book and one that I would recommend reading sometime, so buy one here, or you can have my copy. There is a great story in it about how God does great, amazing things, through our simple acts of obedience. Below is that story taken from the book. Plus my mom and brother teach Sunday School at a boys prison here in town and I thought they would like this. Check this out:

“One of the most remarkable insights I have ever had regarding how God uses our seemingly insignificant puzzle pieces to accomplish significant things is the story of a young man from Boston, name Edward Kimball. Edward taught Sunday school at his church because he felt called to invest himself in the lives of young boys and men. To get to know his students better, he would often visit them during the week where they lived and worked. One Sunday a challenging teenager showed up in his class. The boy was seventeen, a bit rough hewn, poorly educated, and prone to outbursts of anger and profanity. Edward thought about how he might reach this boy and one day decided to visit him at the shoe store where he worked for his uncle. Kimball passed by the store once, trying to get up the courage to speak to the boy. What would he say, he wondered, and how would he be received?

Finally, he entered and found the boy in the back, wrapping shoes and putting them on the shelves. Edward went to him, simply put his hand on the young man’s shoulder, and mumbled some words about Christ’s love for him. And apparently his timing was just right, because right there in the shoe store, the boy was moved to commit his life to Christ. His name was Dwight L. Moody, and he became the most successful evangelist of the nineteenth century, preaching to an estimated one hundred million people during his lifetime and traveling perhaps a million miles–before the time of radio, television, automobiles, and air travel!

But the story gets better. Moody himself, in 1879, was instrumental in the conversion of another young man, F.B. Meyer, who also grew up to become a minister. Meyer subsequently mentored J. W. Chapman and led him to Christ. Chapman also became a pastor and evangelist and started an outreach ministry to professional baseball players. One of the players he met, Billy Sunday, became Chapman’s assistant and advance man for many of his evangelistic meetings.

In time, Sunday, having learned the art of preaching from Chapman, started to hold his own evangelistic meetings. He went on to become the greatest evangelist of the first two decades of the twentieth century in America. One of his revivals, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the 1920’s, was so successful that an associate of his named Mordecai Ham, who years earlier had given his life to Christ at one of his crusades, was asked to come back to Charlotte a few years later to hold a second series of evangelistic meetings. On one of the final nights, when Ham was preaching, a gangly teenager came forward and responded to his call to “give your life to Christ”. His name was Billy Graham.

Do you sometimes feel that you have nothing worthwhile to offer – that you are a nobody when it comes to doing great things for God? I wonder if Edward Kimball felt the same way. He never did anything spectacular or particularly newsworthy. He just showed up out of faithfulness to God, an hour or two each week, to teach the boys in his class. And yet Edward Kimball’s dedication to teaching Sunday school faithfully and caring about those boys changed the world.”

A remote mobile home gleams faintly in the crisp Autumn sunrise. Within that metal refuge in the high deserts of central Oregon, a young mother is having a quiet time with the Lord. Her toddler is still asleep. Her husband is a full time college student, and the couple is surviving on $400 per month. They have no home church, no friends nearby, and she does not drive. Even the expense of a long distance phone call might leave them without milk or bread in weeks to come.

Such is the backdrop of Laurie Klein’s classic praise song, “Love You, Lord”, written in 1974.

“It was a very hopeless time, a very depressed time,” she summarizes. “I felt the poverty of my own life keenly at that point, both emotionally and physically.”

“That morning I was so empty,” she says, recalling her time with the Lord. “I knew I didn’t have anything to offer Him. I asked if He would like to hear me sing . . if He would just give me something He would be in the mood to hear.”

Klein describes “I Love You, Lord”, as a gift from God that emerged spontaneously: “I sang the first half and put the chords with it with no effort,” she says. 

 

I love You Lord 
and I lift my voice 
To worship You 
O my soul, rejoice!

Intrigued and moved by these words, she remembers thinking, “maybe I should write that down.” She stopped long enough to get a pen. When she came back, the last two phrases came just as easily:

Take joy, my King 
in what you hear 
May it be a sweet, sweet sound 
in Your ear.

I love how Laurie asked God to give her something that He would be in the mood to hear, and he gave her the words, “I love You, Lord”.  This week’s worship set is going to have a major theme of God’s greatness, His majesty, His wonder. We are going to sing:

Everlasting God

God of Wonders

Glory to God Forever

There is a Higher Throne

But we are going to end with the simple chorus “I love You, Lord” penned by Laurie out of a difficult time in her life in 1974. May this song be our heartfelt response to a God that is awesome and mighty and a friend of sinners.

Growing up it seemed like my family was always the last to get stuff. We didn’t get a VCR until like 1988.  We held out on the cordless phones until they became cheaper than the regular kind. I don’t think it was because we couldn’t afford it, but we just wanted to see if this kind of stuff was going to take off.

I think I have learned the “wait and see” thing well, as I”m not one to rush into things, so I think after a little waiting and a little research I’m ready to take the plunge and do what I know I should do, even if I”m probably on the downhill swing of things.

That’s right, tonight I am going to text HAITI to 90999. You see, I haven’t really gotten the texting bug yet, so that’s kind of new to me, and it seems pretty amazing that a simple thing like that gets 10 dollars to help out the people in Haiti, but over $10 million dollars has been raised so far this way and I’m ready. Here goes…

Hey, that was easy. I selected new message, typed in Haiti, hit continue, and sent it to the number 90999. In a few seconds I got a message back for me to type in YES to confirm the 10$ on my next phone bill to go to the Red Cross. Very cool.

If you haven’t already, give it a try. Or donate online here.

O Worship the King

Power in the Blood

Amazing Love (You are my King)

Breathe

Blessed Be Your Name

Very excited for this weeks’ worship set. Last week went great, although I had a very distinct impression from God that I was not prepared spiritually for the role I am in (back in). Kind of bad to admit, but the message I got was that I have kind of been on cruise control for the last year or so and I need to be seeking God and staying close to Him a lot more than I have been. It’s kind of hard to describe, but while everything went fine with the worship time, I could just tell that alot of things are happening there in the spiritual realm and I need to be ready for that and sensitive to that. It was just like, “whoa, this is ministry, help me Lord.” But I guess it is better for me to get that message loud and clear the first week instead of six months down the road.

Allright, this week should be pretty familiar with maybe the exception of O Worship the King which is a familiar hymn but we are doing the Passion version. We did this one last week as kind of a dismissal song and it ended up going  well as we ended up slowing it down a touch when we played it. This worked great, because if the verses are too fast it can be hard to sing all those words. So, I liked it. This is a great song to start off the worship set as it puts us in the right frame of mind.

We are going to introduce a new song this week called Glory to God Forever written by Steve Fee and Vicky Beeching. Sometimes you just have a hunch about a song, and I think this one could be a keeper.  This is one of those songs that the second time through the chorus you can sing along and you are good to go with only a couple of listens. It has a really easy chorus, some well written verses, and I great bridge that really builds. I wish I could say that I planned it this way, but we are going to introduce this song during the offering and here is part of the second verse and the bridge:

So let my whole life be
a blazing offering
A life that shouts and sings
the greatness of the King

Bridge
Take my life and let it be
All for you and for your glory
Take my life and let it be yours

Isn’t that cool? A nice remember that God wants our entire lives as an offering to Him.

Romans 12:1 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.

Joshua 7:19      Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the LORD,  the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

Have you ever had a Bible verse just jump up and smack you in the forehead? That’s basically what happened to me the other day. I’ve been reading through the Eugene Peterson paraphrase “The Message” this year, (I know, I know, “Not really the Bible”, whatever, I like it) and the way that it stated Isaiah 22:8-11 hit me pretty hard as I have been planning the worship sets at church. It says:

“You looked and looked and looked, but you never looked to him who gave you this city, never once consulted the One who has long had plans for this city.”

Oh man, reality check. How easy it is to casually pick some songs you like, slap them together, put in some nice transitions, pick out a bible verse, and there you go, a worship set. Or worse yet, we can scrutinize every detail, analyze each song for lyrical content and theme, orchestrate every instrument to the last detail, and carefully plan every word we say for maximum impact, and what do we forget?

Oh, how easy it is to “never once consult the One who has long had plans for this city”

That’s gonna leave a mark.

Mars Hill Church has got it goin’ on. I love their website at http://www.marshillchurch.orgbecause they give all their content away for free and there is lots of good stuff to choose from. Everything from sermons, to songs, to study notes and videos is there to keep you interested and coming back. One of the books that their pastor (Mark Driscoll) highly recommends is John Glynn’s Commentary and Reference Survey. This book gives you information about the hundreds of commentaries and bible reference materials so that you can be informed about what you are getting before you start to build your theological library. So two things I like are 1) free stuff, and 2) consolidated information.

To that end, there are a few websites for worship leaders that I have found that give away free original songs, along with chord charts, mp3 files, and lead sheets, and sometimes full sheet music. One of them is http://www.resoundworship.org and the other is www.worshipland.com

Resound worship is out of the UK and has some really great songs, especially if you are looking for something a little different, but still accessible. If you are like me, a worship set can easily end up having 2 or 3 Chris Tomlin songs, which isn’t a bad thing because he keeps writing great songs for the church, but sometimes it is nice to play something different. These songs from resoundworship.org just have a little different feel to them than what we normally sing. Maybe it’s just a UK thing.

The other website for free songs is called worshipland.com. This site is very well constructed and it is really simple to navigate through. There are some contributions from Michael Gungor, which are excellent.

Finally, a great website for worship leaders is www.hotworship.com.  This is one that you will keep coming back to because it simply puts a ton of worship leading resources with links all on one page. Everything from podcasts, blogs, articles, mp3’s, graphics, and more. Good stuff.

Mars Hill church and John Glynn would be proud.

In the last post we looked at the importance of singing songs of Petition or Engagement in our worship services.  These are songs that we sing to God from our perspective. A song like Breathe is a good example, where we sing about how we are desperate for God, how we are lost without Him, and how we need Him like the air we breathe. A well-planned worship set will have this point of engagement and it can be a powerful time of interaction and worship of God. But as important as this time is, it must be alongside songs that express the greatness of God, his sovereignty, his majesty, and his goodness and everlasting love for us. These kinds of songs express powerful truths about who God is and how he is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Lyrically, hymns can express these truths in powerful ways, and can be a great addition to a worship set, but there are also many modern worship songs that do this as well. Or better yet, a hymn arranged with contemporary instruments, like Chris Tomlin’s version of O Worship the King. Check out these lyrics and the background commentary taken from “The One Year Book of Hymns

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

“This hymn by Sir Robert Grant is based on Psalm 104, a psalm of praise. The progression of titles for God in the fifth stanza is interesting. God is first our Maker, our Creator. Then, even before our conversion, He is our Defender, our Keeper from harm. We know Him then as Redeemer, our personal Savior from sin and its penalty. Finally, as we walk day by day with Him, as we commune with Him and enjoy His fellowship, we know Him also as Friend.”

Fantastic! What is your favorite song, traditional or modern, that best expresses God’s greatness to you?

He Reigns

Glory in the Highest

Heart of Worship

How Can I Keep from Singing

O Worship the King

I’m really excited for this time of worship as it has been awhile since I have led. I’m really looking forward to playing again with Paula, Jack, Linda, and Matthew, and can’t wait to see what God is going to do in us and through us. Exciting stuff!

Well, for this weeks worship set, I decided to review a pattern of choosing songs based off of some comments made by Brenton Brown in the Vineyard Worship Resources DVD “Leading Worship“.  He uses a liturgy of sorts for choosing songs based on a Call to Worship, Praise songs, Engagement or Petition songs, and Response. I might go over each one of these areas in detail in later posts, but for now let’s focus on the Engagement or Petition songs.

This is where our worship gets personal, where we ask God questions, where we pour ourselves out to Him. Brenton says that when we fail to sing songs that connect us with God we can feel like God is not aware of our needs. God is aware of our needs, but if all the songs in our set are about God’s majesty, or sovereignty, or His power, we can start to feel like God is too big to care about us.

So this week, I decided to go with the very familiar “Heart of Worship” for that Engagement song.  It is sung from a “Person to God” standpoint and really wraps up what I think corporate and personal worship is about.

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about you, it’s all about you, Jesus.”

Col. 1:17  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

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