Music for Sunday 11/18/12

These sufferings, this passing tide
Under Your wings I will abide,
And every enemy shall flee.
You are my hope and victory.

Those words are from the choir’s song for this week, Praise the Father, Praise the Son, and set the theme for our service: that we can praise God under any circumstances or sufferings.  I love the image of hiding in the shadow of God’s wings, as found in Psalm 57: Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed and in Psalm 17: Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

This song is made up of a chorus…

Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Spirit, Three in One.
Clothed in power and in grace; the name above all other names.

…and three verses giving reasons that we praise Him: He is the Almighty God, He is our hope in trials, and He is our salvation.  In the first verse, God is the Almighty:

O sovereign God, O matchless King, the saints adore, the angels sing,
And fall before the throne of grace.  To You belongs the highest praise.

In the second verse, above, He is our hope and victory in any circumstances.  And in the third verse, He has made us whole.

To the valley, for my soul; Thy great descent has made me whole.
Your Word my heart has welcomed home; now peace like water ever flows.

The first song in the service will be Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King.  The choir sang this song several weeks ago, and now it’s your turn as we join in singing it as a congregation–especially fitting because of this line in the chorus: Hear Your bride, to You we sing.  We, the church, are the bride of Christ, and it’s our privilege to gather together and sing His praises as a body.  Why do we do this?  The answer is in the first verse: Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.

The verses of Come Thou Fount will be familiar to you–they’re the verses of the hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  I like this song because it has something for everyone when it comes to music styles: it’s an old hymn, with a new chorus, set in a contemporary style but keeping the traditional melody.

And finally, we’ll sing Give Thanks:

Give thanks with a grateful heart; give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now, let the weak say, “I am strong;” let the poor say, “I am rich,”
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
Give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Praise the Father, Praise the Son: words and music by Ed Cash and Chris Tomlin.  Copyright 2008 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Vamos Publishing/Alletrop Music. Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King: words and music by Robert Robinson and Thomas Miller.  Copyright 2010 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Vamos Publishing/Hillsong Publishing.  Give Thanks: words and music by Henry Smith.  Copyright 1978 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music.   CCLI #3163058.

Praising God in the midst of trials

Life is hard, there is not anyone I know who would dispute that. It is easy to sing our praises to God when things are going well, but how do we still sing praises to God in the midst of the trials of life? How do we sing praises to our heavenly Father when we feel like our world is falling down around us? These are difficult questions and these are questions that are always easier to answer after we are on the other side of our trials and difficulties. When we are on the other side of these struggles things are always more clear.

This week in our message we will try to learn from the biblical examples we have of how and why we can praise God in our storms of life. The group “Casting Crowns” has a song our titled I Will Praise You in this Storm. That song talks about praising God in the storms of life because no matter what we are going through He is still worthy to be praised.

In the book of Revelation we see in chapter 4 that God is worthy of honor and praise because He created all things and through Him all things are made. This fact does not change because we are encountering issues and struggles and trials of life. He is still worthy to be praised. Join us Sunday as we look into this in more depth. Our primary passages of scripture will be James 1.2-4 and Romans 8.28.

Wildfire Weekend

The 2013 Wildfire Weekend men’s conference featuring Tim Tebow will be March 8-9 at Liberty University.  Find out more at wildfireweekend.com.

Music for Sunday 11/11/12

Worthy of Worship will set the theme for our service this week:

Worthy of worship, worthy of praise,
Worthy of honor and glory;
Worthy of all the glad songs we can sing,
Worthy of all of the offerings we bring.

You are worthy, Father, Creator.
You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer.
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful;
Worthy of worship and praise.

Our God–our Father, Creator, Savior, and Sustainer–is worthy.  He is deserving of all our worship, all our praise, and all our offerings, whether financial gifts, our time and talents, or, ultimately, ourselves.  In the light of who God is, our whole lives become acts of praise and worship, including our giving…which leads to one of my favorite lines from the hymn Speak, O Lord: Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.

There aren’t a lot of hymns specifically about financial giving, but there are many that speak of the themes that guide our attitudes toward giving: that God is worthy of our offerings, that God has a plan for us, that we must be willing and obedient and yield our wills to His.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail, let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds; help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us–
Truths unchanged since the dawn of time that will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built and the earth is filled with Your glory.

For the prelude, I’ll be playing Enough by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio.

All of You is more than enough for all of me.
For every thirst and every need,
You satisfy me with Your love.
And all I have in You is more than enough.

You’re my supply, my breath of life.
Still more awesome than I know,
You’re my reward worth living for,
Still more awesome than I know.

More than all I want, more than all I need,
You are more than enough for me.
More than all I know, more than all I can say,
You are more than enough.

Finally, our first two songs this Sunday will be in recognition of  Veterans Day as we honor those who have served, those who are serving, and those who have given their lives.

O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine!

Worthy of Worship: words by Terry W. York and music by Mark Blankenship.  Copyright 1988 Van Ness Press, Inc. Speak, O Lord: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music.  Enough: words and music by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio.  Copyright 2002 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music.  America the Beautiful: words by Katharine Lee Bates and music by Samuel A. Ward. CCLI #3163058.

Praising God

This week in our worship service we shift our focus to our praise of God. There are so many ways we can praise God. Really we can praise Him in any circumstance of life. Now I understand that in the most difficult times of life that becomes more challenging, but it can happen. There are many different ways we can express our praise and adoration to the Lord. We do not have to wait until a worship service to do so. But many of us find great joy in praising God in corporate worship.

But have you ever thought about how your financial support of the church and giving to the work of Lord is an act of praise and worship? Giving financially to support the churches shows that your trust in God. It shows that you trust Him to meet your needs and you trust Him to insure your gifts are used properly. If we truly believe that God has blessed with all that we have, why do we find it so hard sometimes to give back to Him what is already His?

Join us this Sunday as we consider how we can give more generously to the Lord as an act of worship and praise. Our primary passage of scripture will come from 1 Corinthians 16.1-2.

Music for Sunday 11/4/12

This Sunday, two songs with the same theme will serve as “bookends” for our service: Create in Me a Clean Heart at the beginning and Change My Heart, O God at the end.  First, I’ll be using an arrangement of Create in Me a Clean Heart for the prelude.  If you’re not familiar with this song, here are the lyrics, which are taken directly from Psalm 51:10-12:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, O Lord,
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
And renew a right spirit within me.

And for our closing song, we’ll sing Change My Heart, O God:

Change my heart, O God, make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God, may I be like You.
You are the Potter, I am the clay;
Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.
Change my heart, O God, make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God, may I be like You.

These “bookends” set up our worship service with our emphasis on spiritual renewal and revival, seeking God’s face, surrendering our wills, turning from our own ways to follow His.

When this is our prayer and our desire, when we truly ask God to create in us clean hearts, we come to realize:

All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss;
Spent and worthless now compared to this:

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You;
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best, You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You, Lord.

Now my heart’s desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours;
To possess by faith what I could not earn,
All-surpassing gift of righteousness.

And in the middle of the service, we’ll sing two songs that bring into focus the reason we can turn from sin and reason we must turn from sin: Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us–the debt we can never repay.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou:
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow:
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

 

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I would count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.
Oh, the wonderful cross, oh, the wonderful cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live.

Oh, the wonderful cross, oh, the wonderful cross;
All who gather here by grace draw near, and bless Your name.

Create in Me a Clean Heart: author unknown.  Change My Heart, O God: words and music by Eddie Espinosa.  Copyright 1989 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing.  Knowing You: words and music by Graham Kendrick.  Copyright 1994 Make Way Music.  My Jesus, I Love Thee: words by William R. Featherston and music by Adoniram J. Gordon.  The Wonderful Cross: words by Isaac Watts, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and J. D. Walt and music by Lowell Mason, Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, and J. D. Walt.  Copyright 2000 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music. CCLI #3163058.

Revive Us Oh Lord!!

This Sunday in our message we will consider our need for revival. As we look at a familiar passage of scripture, 2 Chronicles 7.14, we will seek to answer the question: can we experience spiritual revival. And if the answer is yes we can, which I believe it is, the question then becomes how do we begin that process and work our way through it.

I am not talking about the revival of a nation, state, or even our community. I am talking about us as Christians experiencing a spiritual awakening in our own lives once again. I believe that we skip many of the necessary steps in order for us to experience a spiritual refreshing of our souls. Join us Sunday as we consider how we can apply this passage to our lives and begin to experience anew the grace of the Lord.

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 10/28/12

The choir is singing another Getty/Townend hymn this week, By Faith.  Take a minute to read our scripture for this week, Ephesians 1:15-23, and then read these words:

By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation’s grand design,
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness,
Who walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith our fathers roamed the earth
With the power of His promise in their hearts
Of a holy city built by God’s own hand,
A place where peace and justice reign.

We will stand as children of the promise;
We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul’s reward.
Till the race is finished and the work is done,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By faith the prophets saw a day
When the longed-for Messiah would appear
With the power to break the chains of sin and death
And rise triumphant from the grave.

By faith the church was called to go
In the power of the Spirit to the lost
To deliver captives and to preach good news
In every corner of the earth.

By faith this mountain shall be moved,
And the power of the gospel shall prevail.
For we know in Christ all things are possible
For all who call upon His name.

We will stand as children of the promise;
We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul’s reward.
Till the race is finished and the work is done,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

What encouraging words!  I love how the text moves from the testimony of those who have gone before us, to our present work, to the power of Christ for the future.  And while this song was originally inspired by Hebrews 11, the “by faith” chapter, it continues with the same themes found in our passage from Ephesians: our faith, our inheritance, the power of the risen Lord and His headship over the church.

Here’s the interesting thing: we hadn’t originally planned to sing this song this Sunday.  Back in the summer, I had planned for the children’s choir to sing on this date, but several weeks ago I found out that half of the kids in choir wouldn’t be here this week.  So I needed to find a song for the adult choir to fill this spot, and decided on By Faith because it fit with our theme of using our gifts (By faith the church was called to go in the power of the Spirit to the lost to deliver captives and to preach good news in every corner of the earth).

Meanwhile, Mike’s focus of his message was changing somewhat from what he had originally planned, so I didn’t know his specific theme or the scripture he would be using when I planned any of the service.  It was just yesterday that he told me what he had decided to cover in his message (be sure to read his post below mine), and I just looked at him and thought excitedly, “This will go so well with the music!”

That actually happens to us all the time.  I often tease Mike that if he starts deviating from the sermon schedule he’s given me, he’s going to end up with random music that has nothing to do with his topic…but that’s never actually happened.  Sometimes we even end up with much better services than what we had planned in the first place.

And I see that as God working through us to bring His message.  Not just through Mike and me, but through everyone involved in bringing the music each week, through our Sunday School teachers and church leaders, and through those who faithfully pray for our church.  This isn’t a responsibility to take lightly.  We as the church are all both God’s messengers and the receivers of His message.  Whether we’re taking part in leading a worship service or working behind the scenes or going through our daily lives, we must be open to hearing God’s message and to allowing ourselves to be His channel.

So come join us this week.  Come find the message God has prepared for you, and the message He has given you to share.  Come and sing:

We will stand as children of the promise;
We will fix our eyes on Him, our soul’s reward.
Till the race is finished and the work is done,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.

By Faith: words and music by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2009 Thankyou Music. CCLI #3163058.

A Word of Encouragement

This week will be the final message in our short series on being “Gifted for Service”. I want to do something not specifically about serving and yet at the same it is. I want to give you a word of encouragement this week. A word about our faith and what that means, a word about the great inheritance that we have once we become believers in Jesus Christ and a word about the power our Father in Heaven has along with the power of His son Jesus.

All of these words of encouragement really should drive us to more service for the Lord as we see and come to know that we do not serve in our own power, but in His. Our scripture passage will come Ephesians 1.15-23. I hope you will join as we worship the Lord our God and His son Jesus Christ.

Pastor Mike

Music for Sunday 10/21/12

Teach me the mission appointed for me, what is my labor and where it shall be.  That’s the theme for our music this week: opening ourselves to God’s guidance and being willing to follow Him in using the gifts He has given us.

Master, Thou callest, I gladly obey; only direct me, and I’ll find Thy way.
Teach me the mission appointed for me, what is my labor and where it shall be.

Willing, my Savior, to take up the cross; willing to suffer reproaches and loss.
Willing to follow, if Thou wilt but lead; only support me with grace in my need.

Master, Thou callest, and this I reply,
“Ready and willing, Lord, here am I.”

That text is by Fanny Crosby–author of To God Be the Glory, I Am Thine, O Lord, Blessed Assurance, and over 9,000 other hymns–and I think it’s the perfect hymn to go with a study of using our gifts.  This has to be our attitude: Here I am, Lord.  Use me.  Show me what You would have me do, as we’ll sing in Cry of My Heart:

It is the cry of my heart to follow You.  It is the cry of my heart to be close to You.
It is the cry of my heart to follow all of the days of my life.

Teach me Your holy ways, O Lord, so I can walk in Your truth.
Teach me Your holy ways, O Lord, and make me wholly devoted to You.

Open my eyes so I can see the wonderful things that You do.
Open my heart up more and more, and make it wholly devoted to You.

We’ll be using two hymns this week by the writing team of Stuart Townend and Keith and Kristyn Getty, the authors and composers who, separately or together, have written In Christ Alone, Speak, O Lord, My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness, The Power of the Cross, How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, and many more beautiful and powerful new hymns.  The first of the two is Compassion Hymn, a song that I love more every time we use it.  In the light of Christ’s immeasurable compassion for us, what can we do but share His compassion with the world?

There is an everlasting kindness You lavished on us
When the Radiance of heaven came to rescue the lost;
You called the sheep without a shepherd to leave their distress
For Your streams of forgiveness and the shade of Your rest.

And with compassion for the hurting, You reached out Your hand
As the lame ran to meet You and the dead breathed again;
You saw behind the eyes of sorrow and shared in our tears,
Heard the sigh of the weary, let the children draw near.

What boundless love, what fathomless grace
You have shown us, O God of compassion!
Each day we live an offering of praise
As we show to the world Your compassion.

We stood beneath the cross of Calvary and gazed on Your face,
At the thorns of oppression and the wounds of disgrace;
For surely You have borne our suffering and carried our grief
As You pardoned the scoffer and showed grace to the thief.

How beautiful the feet that carry this gospel of peace
To the fields of injustice and the valleys of  need.
To be a voice of hope and healing, to answer the cries
Of the hungry and helpless with the mercy of Christ.

What boundless love, what fathomless grace
You have shown us, O God of compassion!
Each day we live an offering of praise
As we show to the world Your compassion.

The second is the choir’s anthem, Hear the Call of the Kingdom.  Here’s the second verse of that song:

Hear the call of the Kingdom to be children of light;
With the mercy of heaven, the humility of Christ;
Walking justly before Him, loving all that is right,
That the life of Christ may shine through us.

This hymn reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  God has given us each specific gifts, and these are not to be hidden or kept to ourselves, but used for His glory.  This week, let’s seek God’s guidance in using our gifts to spread His light.

Lord, Here Am I: words by Fanny J. Crosby and music by John Ness Beck.  Music copyright 1984 Beckenhorst Press.  Cry of My Heart: words and music by Terry Butler.  Copyright 1991 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing. Compassion Hymn: words and music by Stuart Townend, Keith Getty, and Kristyn Getty.  Copyright 2009 Thankyou Music.  Hear the Call of the Kingdom: words and music by Stuart Townend, Keith Getty, and Kristyn Getty.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music. CCLI #3163058.

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