Music for Sunday 8/26/12

I’m excited for our service this Sunday! For our Back to Church service, I’ve based the music on one of my favorite themes: Children of God. We have so much to celebrate! We’re not just “religious people” or “people who go to church.” We’re not some club or civic organization. We are the beloved children of our heavenly Father.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (I John 3:1)

This Sunday the adult choir, children’s choir, and praise band are combining to bring our special music, a song called…Children of God. This is a song by the band Third Day that you may have heard on the radio. I loved these words the first time I heard them and I’ve been looking forward to doing this song for a long time.

Praise to the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
Our God and our King, to Him we will sing;
In His great mercy He has given us life.
Now we can be called the children of God.

Great is the love that the Father has given us.
He has delivered us. He has delivered us.

Children of God, sing your song and rejoice,
For the love that He has given us all.
Oh, children of God, by the blood of His Son
We have been redeemed and we can be called
The children of God.

A mystery is revealed to the universe,
The Father above has proven His love;
Now we are free from the judgment that we deserve,
So we are called the children of God.

We are the saints. We are the children.
We’ve been redeemed. We’ve been forgiven.
We are the sons and daughters of our God.

Think about what a love that is! Once we were all God’s enemies, in complete opposition to His holiness. It’s only because of His unfathomable love that we have been welcomed into His family. What can we do but sing His praises?

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul.
I worship Your holy name.

The sun comes up. It’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass or whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.

You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing:
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.

And on that day when my strength is failing,
The end draws near and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending;
Ten thousand years and then forevermore!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul.
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul.
I worship Your holy name.

10,000 Reasons is a contemporary hymn by Matt Redman and another song you may have heard on the radio; the choir also sang it a few weeks ago. This Sunday we’ll use it as a congregational song so we can join together to sing these words and worship His holy name.

We’ll also sing We Praise You, O God, Our Redeemer, a hymn that’s so fitting as we gather as a family to thank God for His blessings and seek His guidance for a coming year:

We praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator,
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before You, we kneel and adore You,
We bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing.

With voices united our praises we offer,
And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
With You, Lord, beside us, Your strong arm will guide us.
To You, our great Redeemer, forever be praise.

We’ll follow that with The Master Hath Come.  I love the third verse:

The Master hath called us, in life’s early morning,
With spirits as fresh as the dew on the sod:
We turn from the world, with its smiles and its scorning,
To cast in our lot with the people of God:
The Master hath called us, His sons and His daughters,
We plead for His blessing and trust in His love;
And through the green pastures, beside the still waters,
He’ll lead us at last to His kingdom above.

And we’ll close the service with Let It Be Said of Us.  Let’s make this our prayer for the coming year:

Let it be said of us that the Lord was our passion,
That with gladness we bore every cross we were given;
That we fought the good fight, that we finished the course
Knowing within us the power of the risen Lord.

Let it be said of us we were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love and delighted in meekness;
We were ruled by His peace heeding unity’s call,
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song;
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us be known.

Children of God: words by Mac Powell; music by Mac Powell, Tai Anderson, David Carr, and Mark Lee. Copyright 2010 Songs from the Quarry. 10,000 Reasons: words and music by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. Copyright 2011 Shout! Publishing/Thankyou Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Said and Done Music.  We Praise You, O God, Our Redeemer: words by Julia Cady Cory; music: Netherlands folk song, arr. Edward Kremser.  The Master Hath Come: words by Sarah Doudney; music: traditional Welsh melody.  Let It Be Said of Us: words and music by Steve Fry.  Copyright 1996 Maranatha! Music/Word Music, LLC.  CCLI # 3163058.

Friends in Christ…

This week in our worship service we will conclude our series of messages that have taken us through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae. Our scripture passage comes from Colossians 4:7-18 and is the conclusion to his letter. In this passage of scripture we read about all these people that are in Paul’s life. Friends of his in Christ who have walked with him, supported him, prayed for him and even been imprisoned with him.

It causes me to stop and ask the question…do I have these types of friends in my life? Maybe an even better question would be…am I the type of friend that we find in these passages to those who call me friend? The people we surround ourselves with have a deep and profound impact on our lives. If we are surrounded by negative and discouraging people we will in fact find ourselves becoming as they are…negative and discouraging. However if we surround ourselves with people who are believers in Christ that are devoted to fulfilling the work He has called us to and who will pray for us, walk with us, and share in the work of Christ with us…we will find ourselves to be more positive and devoted to the work of the Lord. Join us this Sunday as we complete this great letter from the Apostle Paul.

Also make sure you stay after our service Sunday for our Annual Fish Fry. Come to worship the Lord, stay for the food and fellowship! (casual dress recommended)

Blessings…

P. Mike

Sharing Christ…

We are getting close to the end of our study on Colossians on Sunday mornings. This week our scripture passage comes from Colossians 4.2-6  and we see Paul begin to address some concluding thoughts. He is continuing the theme he has been on in the previous chapter as he talks about the new self that we become when we place our faith and trust in Christ. We have seen how the change that takes place impacts us and the way we relate to others. Now Paul instructs his readers in how we can prepare to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others around us.

Many Christians get very uptight when you start talking to them about sharing their faith in Christ with others. It is often hard to share your faith with those you know closely, but sharing your faith with anyone can be challenging. This is especially true if you are not prepared to do so. We need to remember though that we are not given an option of whether or not we will share our faith…we are commanded to so so. Both in Matthew 28.19-20 and Acts 1.8 we are instructed to go and tell. If we are to take these two passages of scripture seriously then we need to be prepared to share our faith. Paul gives us some practical ways we can prepare to share our faith verbally as well as live it out before others. Join us this Sunday as we see what Paul has to say about sharing our faith.

Blessings…

P. Mike

 

Music for Sunday 8/12/12

This Sunday we’re covering Paul’s guidelines for family relationships found in Colossians 3:

  • Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
  • Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
  • Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
  • Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

It’s important to see these guidelines as part of the larger context we’ve been covering the past few weeks: our lives as God’s holy people.  These verses probably have their own heading in your Bible–my NIV Bible has them listed under “Rules for Christian Households”–so that it looks like this is a whole new topic…but it’s not.  These aren’t just some random, feel-good ideas to help everybody get along.  They’re a continuation of the rest of the chapter and the chapter before, where we’ve seen:

  • We were dead in sin, but now we are raised in Christ, with our sins forgiven (2:9-15).
  • We died with Christ to the basic principles of this world (2:20).
  • We have been raised with Christ and we are to set our hearts on things above (3:1-2).
  • We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature (3:5).
  • We are God’s holy people, and as such, we are to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; we are to bear with each other; we are to forgive as the Lord forgave us; and we are called to peace (3:12-15).

And so, continuing that thought, we see what those principles look like within a family unit made up of God’s holy people: husbands and wives who love each other, parents who love their children, children who obey their parents.  A family that’s able to serve the Lord, to serve one another, and to serve others, in harmony and love.  This is the result of a family clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

With that in mind, we’ll be singing the hymn A Christian Home.

O give us homes built firm upon the Savior,
Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide;
Where every child is taught His love and favor
And gives his heart to Christ, the Crucified:
How sweet to know that, though his footsteps waver,
His faithful Lord is walking by his side!

O give us homes with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him;
Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers,
Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim;
A home where each finds joy in serving others,
And love still shines, though days be dark and grim.

We’re also singing We Are an Offering, and I love the idea of these words applied not just to the church body but being sung as a family:

We lift our voices, we lift our hands,
We lift our lives up to You; we are an offering.
Lord, use our voices, Lord, use our hands;
Lord, use our lives, they are Yours; we are an offering.
All that we have, all that we are, all that we hope to be,
We give to You, we give to You.

And we’ll follow this with Seekers of Your Heart, a simple but powerful little prayer:

Lord, we want to know You, live our lives to show You
All the love we owe You–we’re seekers of Your heart.

The choir will be singing Find Us Faithful.  We sing the chorus of this song in our worship services, but this choral arrangement also includes the verses.

We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road,
And those who’ve gone before us line the way.
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witness,
Let us run the race not only for the prize;
But as those who’ve gone before us, let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone,
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind,
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful,
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

And we’ll finish the service with The Family Prayer Song, taken from Joshua’s familiar words in Joshua 24:15.

Come and fill our homes with your presence;
You alone are worthy of our reverence.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord;
We will serve the Lord.

A Christian Home: words by Barbara B. Hart.  Copyright 1965 Singspiration Music.  CCLI #3163058. We Are an Offering: words and music by Dwight Liles.  Copyright 1984 Word Music, LLC.  CCLI #3163058. Seekers of Your Heart: words and music by Melodie Tunney, Dick Tunney, Beverly Darnall.  Copyright 1987 BMG Songs/Pamela Kay Music.  CCLI #3163058.  Find Us Faithful: words and music by Jon Mohr.  Copyright 1987 Birdwing Music and Jonathan Mark Music.  CCLI #3163058.  The Family Prayer Song: words and music by Morris Chapman.  Copyright 1994 Maranatha Praise, Inc. CCLI #3163058.

Christ and Our Relationships at Home

This week our scripture passage comes from Colossians 3.18-4.1.  In this passage of scripture Paul addresses the relationships within the home as he continues to teach on how to relate to one another as a new creation in Christ.  Some would argue that the verses on slavery do not belong within the context of the home, but Paul is clearly writing about those slaves within the homes.  Not that Paul is endorsing slavery, rather he is addressing those who find themselves in that situation.

Our new faith in Christ no doubt has an impact on every aspect of our lives.  Our homes are no different.  In fact, our faith in Christ should impact our homes more than any other place.  We spend more time at home and with those in our homes than we do anywhere else (at least we should).  I do recognize that more and more our jobs and responsibilities keep us away from home, but this is even more reason to be Christ-like in our homes and let His love rule in our hearts and relationships.  If we are spending less time at home than generations past, who would want to spend those times in turmoil and strife?  The other aspect of this is that our home life affects all other aspects of our lives.  When things at home are out of order, this often bleeds over into other areas of our life.  As we seek to grow in our faith and know Christ more let us be a people that seek to live out our faith in love, especially in our homes.

P. Mike

Music for Sunday 8/5/12

Here’s what Colossians 3:12-15 says about relating to each other in Christ:

  • Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
  • Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
  • And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
  • Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Let it be said of us that the Lord was our passion,
That with gladness we bore every cross we were given;
That we fought the good fight, that we finished the course
Knowing within us the power of the risen Lord.

Let it be said of us we were marked by forgiveness,
We were known by our love and delighted in meekness;
We were ruled by His peace heeding unity’s call,
Joined as one body that Christ would be seen by all.

Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song;
By mercy made holy, by the Spirit made strong.
Let the cross be our glory and the Lord be our song
‘Til the likeness of Jesus be through us be known.
Let It Be Said of Us: words and music by Steve Fry.  Copyright 1996 Maranatha! Music/Word Music, LLC.  CCLI # 3163058.

Let it be said of us.  What can be said of us?  What impressions would an outsider looking in form about us?  Could it be said of us, as representatives of God’s holy people, that we’re marked by forgiveness, or ruled by His peace, or joined as one body?

Above all, can it really be said of us that the Lord is our passion?  When others look at us, can they say, “His passion is the Lord” or “Her passion is the Lord”?  Or do they see something else entirely–maybe that our true passion appears to be TV, or video games, or sports, or money?

We have another “therefore” this week.  Remember last week’s message, that we have taken off our old selves and put on the new, putting to death the lives we once lived?  That’s what this “therefore” is talking about.  Once we were marked by immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language.  Now we are God’s holy people.  Now we are to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, peace, and love.  What a contrast!

The Servant Song is a hymn about serving each other in this new way of life:

We are travelers on a journey, fellow pilgrims on the road;
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the nighttime of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.

Sister, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
Brother, let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
The Servant Song: words by Richard Gillard.  Copyright  1977 Scripture in Song/Maranatha! Music. CCLI # 3163058.

After that, we’ll sing Speak, O Lord.  You may have noticed that I love this hymn and use it often, and that’s because the beautiful text has so many applications in our worship settings.  This time I chose it specifically for the second verse:

Teach us, Lord, full obedience, holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes in the radiance of Your purity.
Speak, O Lord: words and music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.  Copyright 2006 Thankyou Music. CCLI # 3163058.

I took the theme for our first three songs of the service from verse 16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. So
we’re going to sing three songs of gratitude: a psalm, a hymn, and a spiritual song.  O Worship the King is first, with a text taken from Psalm 104:

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
O Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
    he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
    and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
    flames of fire his servants.  (Psalm 104:1-4)

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.

Next is To God Be the Glory, a favorite hymn by Fanny Crosby.  All glory for our new life and our life to come goes to God:

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!

And third, we’ll sing Give Us Clean Hands, a newer song that’s a prayer for guidance as we take off the old and put on the new:

We bow our hearts, we bend our knees;
O Spirit, come make us humble.
We turn our eyes from evil things;
O Lord, we cast down our idols.
Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts;
Let us not lift our souls to another.
O God, let us be a generation that seeks,
Who seeks Your face, O God of Jacob.
Give Us Clean Hands: words and music by Charlie Hall.  Copyright 2000 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music. CCLI # 3163058.

Finally, we’re observing the Lord’s Supper this week and the choir will be singing All to Us, which ties together Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us with our response as God’s holy people, the redeemed.

Only Son of God, sent from heaven, hope and mercy at the cross.
You are everything, You’re the promise, Jesus, You are all to us.

So let the glory of Your name be the passion of the church.
Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns.
Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives.
We believe You’re all to us.
All to Us: words and music by Chris Tomlin, Matt Maher, Matt Redman and Jesse Reeves.  Copyright 2010 Thankyou Music/worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/Vamos Publishing/Said And Done Music/Matt Maher Designee.  CCLI #3163058.

Relating to Believers

In this week’s message we will be continuing in Colossians.  Our scripture passage will be from Colossians 3.12-17.  In this passage of scripture we will see Paul continue to instruct his readers in ways we should relate to each other once we become believers in Christ.  In particular he is talking to them about how to relate to other believers within the church setting.  We know that relationships in general can be tough to handle and the relationships that we have with others within the church community are no different.  However when we put on the new clothes of Christ and become this new creation in Him (as we talked about last week) we should learn to deal with others in a more Christ-like way…especially within the church setting.  This Sunday we will look at some of the ways that Paul says we should engage others within the church as we allow Christ to rule in our lives.  I hope that you will join us as we continue this journey through Colossians and seek out how our faith should impact our lives in real and practical ways.

Blessings…
P. Mike

August Newsletter

The August newsletter is here.

Music for Sunday 7/29/12

In contrast to last week, this week I knew right away a song I wanted to use: Before the Throne of God Above.  While this hymn’s text is partly taken from Hebrews 4:14-16, other parts are from  Sunday’s passage in Colossians.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2).

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea;
A great High Priest whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:3-4).

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God!
Before the Throne of God Above: words and music by Vikki Cook and Charitie Lees Bancroft.  Copyright 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (admin. in the US & Canada by Integrity’s Hosanna! Music).  CCLI #3163058.

This will be the first time we’ve sung this hymn in worship, although I have played it for the offertory or communion several times.  Here’s a version on Youtube if you’d like to check it out:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Then in the next section of the passage, we see our response to our new life.  We are to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature: immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed.  These are the
way we used to live, but we are to abandon these.  Put them to death.  We have taken off our old selves and have put on the new.

Knowing You is a song about this contrast, forsaking things of the world in light of Christ, our all in all.

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.
Knowing You: Words and music by Graham Kendrick.  Copyright 1994 Make Way Music.  CCLI #3163058.

Be Thou My Vision also speaks of setting our minds on things above and forsaking the world:

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art:
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, or man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

We’re starting the service by observing baptism.  What better way to open a service focusing on our new lives!  Our first hymn will be Jesus, Our Lord and King, speaking of dying to sin and rising to our new life in Christ:

Jesus, our Lord and King, to You our praises rise;
To You our bodies we present, a living sacrifice.

As dead indeed to sin, we rise to walk anew,
Henceforth, as not our own, but Yours, we follow only You.

Baptized into Your death, with You again we rise,
To newness of a life of faith, to new and endless joys.

Congratulations to Katelyn and Steven on their baptism!  Let’s lift them up in prayer as they continue to follow the Lord’s leading in their lives.

Change, Change, Change

This week’s scripture passage for Sunday will be Colossians 3.1-11. As we look into this passage we will be considering the change that takes place in us when we place our trust and faith in Jesus Christ. This will also begin a short series within a series as we deal with relationships over the next few weeks. Of course we all know that the most important relationship is our relationship with Jesus Christ. Only when we get that relationship right will we then be able to get the other relationships in our life right, including the one with our self.

Is there a dramatic way that you have seen your life change since you came to faith in Christ? How has your faith changed your relationships? How do you think God can use you and the changes in your own life to impact others for His glory and Kingdom? These are all questions we should ask ourselves and consider…I would love to hear what’s on your mind concerning how your life has been radically changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

P. Mike

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