About Me

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sunday Song Devotions - June 27, 2010

Psalm 99:9 - "Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!"
Author: Phil Wickham

This song is one of my favorites and is a wonderful anthem of praise.  When we acknowledge who God is and what He's done, our only response can be that of obedience, surrender and awe.  This song inspires that in me and I'm hoping that by teaching it to our church that it will do the same for each of you.  This song is all about that journey from understanding who God is and how worthy He is to our only possible response to that revelation - worship.

Here are the words...

It's falling from the clouds, a strange and lovely sound
I hear it in the thunder and rain
It's ringing in the skies like cannons in the night
the music of the universe plays

You are Holy, Great and Mighty
the moon and the stars declare who You are
I'm so unworthy, but still You love me
Forever my heart will sing of how great You are

All Glory, Honor, Power is Yours AMEN!
All Glory, Honor, Power is Yours AMEN!
All Glory, Honor, Power is Yours, forever AMEN!!!

What a beautiful anthem of declaring worth to God.  I pray that as we go through our daily routines, and regular difficulties this week that we will be recognizing and celebrating God's amazing worth and through our obedience, our kindness, our love and our service to others we will give Him the worship He alone deserves.

A Mighty Fortress is our God
Author: Martin Luther

A Mighty Fortress
Author: Christy Nockels

I put these two songs together because, to me, they go together.  They both talk of the safety and security we have in Christ.  I think that there are too many frilly, girly worship songs out there (not that I don't love some of them).  I just think that it would greatly benefit the body of Christ to have more songs like these two in our worship services.  I think they are the type of songs that men connect with - the ones that bring with them mental images of battle, war, weapons, fire, victory and triumph. 

We can talk about how lovely and beautiful Christ is - and that is important too - and very scriptural and true.  But we also can't forget how mighty and awesome and powerful God is - able to conquer any foe, demolish any stronghold and bring victory to any battle.  That's the God of the Bible! 

Think about Old Testament stories like that of David, Moses, Abraham, Gideon, Esther - all magnificent stories of God intervening in this world and bringing victory to His people.  The New Testament carries the word of the most amazing triumph in all of history - that of Jesus Christ, the Son of God - Creator of the Universe triumphing over sin and death on the cross.

Worship is about coming to a greater understanding of who God is and what God has done and responding in whatever way God is leading - in Spirit and in truth.  These two songs each tell the truth about who God is and inspire in us a reverence for the power and majesty of God. 

It is said that Martin Luther was inspired by Psalm 46 when he was writing this famous hymn.

Psalm 46 says:

"1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.


4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.


8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields [b] with fire.

10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sunday Song Devotions - June 13, 2010

I've been a bit under the weather this week, so this post is late - sorry.  But better late than never definitely.

I absolutely love each of the songs chosen for Sunday's service.  I love that each of them flows into the next and they all tie together.  Although it is not always the case, I often try to take a sort of journey with the songs that I choose for a Sunday morning.  I believe that worship is our response to who God is and what God has done.  Considering that definition, it is important to start with who God is and what God has done and then it is an easy transition to begin to think (or sing) about what that means to us in the here and now.  So that's what Sunday's music was all about. 

We began our service with a celebratory song about God's holiness (Holy is the Lord).  This song, written by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio reminds me of the verse in Isaiah 6 that says, "And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isa 6:3). 
I especially love the bridge of this song that says, "It's rising up all around, it's the anthem of the Lord's renown."  The words, though a bit complicated and fancy simply are saying that we (the Lord's renown) are raising up an anthem of praise for the Holy One.  Beautiful.

Next comes I Stand Amazed in the Presence and My Jesus, I Love Thee.  Both of these songs are all about what God has done through Jesus Christ.  My Jesus, I Love Thee is one of my favorite hymns because of the simplicity and tenderness of the lyrics.  It was written by a man named William Featherston, who was actually sixteen at the time!  As far as we know this is the only hymn written by him in his short life - he died at the age of 26. 

I have had the awesome privilege of leading worship for middle, high school and college students for several years.  There is something so authentic about the worship that students bring.  It always amazed me how they, who are so young, can be so beautifully passionate about Jesus.  It's no wonder that youth are the ones who start revivals.  They are the ones who can change the world with that kind of passion - Just as William Featherston wrote a song that has been affecting lives and hearts for over 100 years!

Immediately after singing about what God has already done through the cross, we continue in worship of the Lamb who WAS and IS and IS TO COME by singing the song, Revelation Song

I love that picture.  From the cross to the second coming - He is and was and forever will be the Holy One - the Almighty - the Only One worthy of our worship!

I found an article written by Jenny Lee Riddle, the author of Revelation Song, that details how the song came to be and what it means to her.  Here's a part of her article:

I, again, began telling Him how much I wanted to SEE and HEAR all creation worshipping Him. The songs being sung by the Bride at that time were focusing on need. My heart longed to focus on something far greater than my need, knowing that all needs would be satisfied with just one glimpse of Him.

Therefore, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me write a song that painted Him; a song that the angels and creation were already singing, so that we could join in with One Voice, as One Bride, to One King.  My heart recalled Ezekiel 1:26-28 and Revelation 4:

“And then, as they stood with folded wings, there was a voice from above the dome over their heads. Above the dome there was something that looked like a throne, sky-blue like a sapphire, with a humanlike figure towering above the throne. From what I could see, from the waist up he looked like burnished bronze and from the waist down like a blazing fire. Brightness everywhere! The way a rainbow springs out of the sky on a rainy day—that's what it was like. It turned out to be the Glory of God! (Message)

“…a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was[like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns[] of gold on their heads. And from the throne proceeded lightenings, thunderings, and voices… Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal… And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures… And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘ Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’…”

I put the baby down to play with his toys, picked up the guitar, and began to play four chords I had “discovered” the day before. Immersed in those scriptures, the Lord helped me paint what I was seeing through those passages," Clothed in rainbows of living color, flashes of lightening, rolls of thunder..." The melody stuck. It had the sound of heaven in it. The song wouldn’t leave me and I sang it for weeks.

... (and my favorite part of the article):

“Revelation Song” has taken on a life of its own, and it has been an intense joy to watch the Father “grow it up”, and to hear the Voice of the Bride sing to Jesus; Her voice is so lovely.  I often get asked the song story, and even more often, the question of “how” it got “out there” comes up.  My only answer is that God chooses what He chooses.  No amount of maneuvering, strategizing, posturing, or pitching would have gotten my music “out there”… whatever that means.  I remember telling Jesus with complete sincerity that I could wait until I got to heaven to hear my song sung (although, I also suggested that it would be a terrific song for the angels and great cloud of witnesses to sing when He comes back for us…In the event that He had not already chosen one for the occasion, I didn’t think it would hurt to ask!).

for the full text of the article, or for more articles by Jenny Lee, visit the link below:


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sunday Song Devotions - June 6, 2010

We Will Glorify
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." - James 1:17

Author: Twila Paris

We will glorify the King of kings
We will glorify the Lamb
We will glorify the Lord of lords
Who is the Great I Am

Lord Jehovah reigns in majesty
We will bow before His throne
We will worship Him in righteousness
We will worship Him alone

The following is from the book, "Open the Eyes of My Heart" devotional book by Integrity:

"Thomas Aquinas taught that God is pure act.  In other words, whatever God is, God does.  It is impossible for God's acts to be inconsistent with His character.  For example, we may be patient people but have impatient moments.  Not God.  The great "I Am" is consistent, always the same.  So we glorify our King, our Lord, the Lamb, worshiping Him alone because we can rely on Him 100 percent of the time.

No burden or need exists that His character can't meet.  He doesn't have days off or suddenly decide to treat us differently.  In fact, He is able to do much more than we could ever think or ask. 

When we need a loving parent, Hw is our "Abba" Father (Romans 8:15)
When we're feeling insecure, He is a "sure foundation" (Isaiah 28:16)
When we're thirsty, He is our "spring" of living water (John 4:14)
When we're vulnerable, He is able to "keep us from falling" (Jude 24)
When we're lost, He is our "light" and our "salvation" (Psalm 27:1)

We get into trouble when we try to meet our needs ourselves!  When we focus on God's amazing sufficiency, we find more than enough.  He wants to fill us to overflowing.  Thank God for being your great "I AM".  He alone deserves your worship!"

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
11"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." - Revelation 4:11
Author: Edward Perronet, 1726-1792.  Altered by John Rippon, 1751-1836

This hymn is often called the "National Anthem of Christendom."  The hymn first appeared in the November, 1779, issue of the Gospel Magazine, edited by Augustus Toplady, author of "Rock of Ages".  This text has been translated into almost every language where Christianity is known; and wherever it is sung, it communicates to the spiritual needs of human hearts.  One writer has said, "So long as there are Christians on earth, it will continue to be sung; and after that, in heaven."

Edward Perronet was born at Sudnridge, Kent, England, in 1726.  He was a descendant of a distinguished French Huguenot family who had fled to Switzerland and later to england because of religious persecution in France.  Edward's father, a pastor in the State Church of England, was strongly sympathetic with the evangelical movement spearheaded by the Wesleys and George Whitefield.  Edward, too, became a minister in the Anglican Church but was always critical of its ways.  Once he wrote, "I was born and I am likely to die in the tottering communion of the Church of England, but I despise her nonsense."  Soon, however, he broke from the Church and threw himself strenuously into the evangelistic endeavors of the Wesleys during the 1740s and 1750s.  It was during this time that the Wesleys and their followers suffered much persecution and even violence from those who disagreed with their ministry.  Eventually, Perronet's strong-mindedness and free spirit caused a break with the Wesleys.  Perronet continued to the end of his days as pastor of an independent church in Canterbury, England.

His last words have also become classic:

     Glory to God in the height of His divinity!
     Glory to God in the depth of His humanity!
     Glory to God in His all-sufficiency!
     Into His hands I commend my spirit.

Many interesting accounts have been associated with the use of this hymn.  One of the most remarkable is a story told by E.P. Scott, a pioneer missionary to India.  One day he was waylaid by a murderous band of tribesmen who were closing in on him with spears.  On impulse the missionary took his violin out of his luggage and began to play and sing this hymn.  When he reached the stanza "let every kindred, every tribe," he saw to his surprise every spear lowered and many of these tribesmen moved to tears.  Scott spent the remaining years of his life preaching and ministering God's love and redemption to these people. 

Glory to God Forever
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. - 2 Corinthians 4:8-11

Author: Steve Fee, Vicky Beeching

This song reminds me that no matter what we go through in life, be it financial issues, loss of a loved one, divorce, health problems that our life is to bring glory to God regardless.  I have personally had moments in the midst of great difficulties and incredible pain where I didn't know how in the world it would bring God glory, but have had to say "Glory to God anyway!"  I heard a wonderful sermon a few months back titled, "Hallelujah Anyway".  The message was simple, that no matter what comes at you in life, whether good, bad, painful, difficult or devastating - there is only one response that is always appropriate - to worship and praise Him anyway - to say "Hallelujah Anyway!".
I think that this song has a very strong message to that effect.  I love the words of the bridge:

Take my life and let it be all for You and for Your glory
Take my life and let it be Yours!

I sincerely want that to be my constant prayer to God - to take me and use me in any way that will bring Him the most glory.  Like Paul, who was poured out as a drink offering to the Almighty or like Jeremiah, who was called the weeping prophet because he spent his entire life proclaiming a message no one wanted to hear.  Like Abraham, who was willing to kill his own son as an offering of worship to His God.  Or like Esther who gave up her family, her name, her safety and all she had known in order to save God's people by sharing a bed with the one who could have destroyed them all!  We all have different life circumstances, different difficulties, different hurts and sorrows - but we also all have one purpose here on this earth - to glorify the LORD our Maker!

I am reminded of another song that I find to be a beautiful anthem of surrender and worship.  It's called Bring the Rain, by Mercy Me.  The lyrics are below.  I pray that this becomes your anthem today.  No matter what you are going through.  You can decide right now that God's glory is more important than your comfort or peace or freedom.  Sing these words to God in an act of surrender.  God is worthy of glory - not just despite our circumstances, but right in the middle of them!

I can count a million times people asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me - Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord, My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times

So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace, Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of the dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me by suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain

So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty