Brother Moon

Yikes it’s been a little too long. I’ll write a post in a bit explaining why this post has taken so long to write. This next song is most definitely outside the norm for Sunday worship. The song always reminds me of Psalm 19.

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.” – Psalm 19:1-2 (The Message)

The language and imagery are very similar. I am also a fan of songs that use nature images to bring glory to God. This is probably because being in nature make me feel closer to God. I do not go hiking or spend a lot of time outside, but when I can I see God in the forest, in the majesty of the mountains, in a sun set, or on a quiet night with a full moon shining down. Nature images just show me who God is. He is so great and big and powerful and creative and awesome, and the only thing I can do is sing a little song to Him with my little voice, clumsily strumming a guitar. The great thing is God loves it anyway.

“Maker of it all, You provide it all

In You we live, in You we move

In You we have our being, You’re glorious”

Nature shouts God’s glory. In my blog about “After All (Holy)” I talked about the difference between God’s holiness and His Glory. I shared that God’s glory is what we see of Him, it is what shown. Nature displays God’s greatness, creativity and omnipotence, nature shouts God’s glory. God provides everything for us, without Him we do not live, He gives us our body, our breath, everything. This song reminds us of the scope of God’s power and creativity, and that still despite that, He cares enough to give us these gifts, gifts that amount to life, and a life that can be overflowing (John 10:10)

Oh Great Love of God: Part 2

When I set out to write about this song I did not intend for it to take two posts. The song has a lot of lyrics, and so it is taking longer. This is not a bad thing, it just is. We left off discussing portions of the chorus. If you hav not read the first post, please do so before proceeding farther. Now I am going to turn my attention to verse two, then the bridge. It seems that almost the entire song will be covered in these two posts:

“Servant King of rich and poor, beggar that the world ignores,

Oh let me see Your face, hidden in simple thing.”

These lines are reminiscent of the passage of scripture in which Christ tells the disciples that whatever one does to a “brother, even the least of them, he has done it to Me,” (see Matt 25:34-40). Not only is this singing scripture, which is an act of worship, but it is reminding us of another act of worship, serving other in love! Often in our culture we only see worship as the 90 minutes that we gather together every weekend. This however is only a very small part of what our worship should be. This time of worship, should fill us to the point of overflowing so that we may serve others and worship God individually throughout the week. The chorus communicates, in a way, what Sunday is about.

“This is not a song, this is a revival”

Sunday is about reviving our strength, and our faith. Each song should spark a revival in our lives and faith. If it is not, then something is wrong, not with the song, not with the church, and not with the worship team, but more than likely with the worshiper. Worshipers do not worship through the week, and so they wonder why their Sunday worship is so dry. Sunday worship should overflow into the weeks worship, and the worship from the week should overflow into Sunday. If this is not the case, then one needs to grow. I have been in this place all to often.

“This is a return back to life, oh Your life in my life, it’s Your life in my life that I’m dying for”

Is this something we believe? That acquiescing to Christ is a return to life to true life, to abundant life (John 10:10).

This blog had some tough things in it, I try not to sugar coat when I can, and it may be off putting to some. It’s a struggle for me to put such things in a blog, as it sometimes appears to be done out of arrogance. In reality I am on the same journey as you the reader is. These lyrics speak to my heart and soul, they challenge me, and convict me, just as I hope they do you. Which is why it is in my “Dream CCLI top 25.”

What about this song challenges you?

Oh Great Love of God

Worship is about bringing glory to God. It isn’t about singing, it’s not about having the coolest music. This next song is probably one that many worship leaders would avoid. I believe that many worship leaders would label it as ‘unsingable’ or at least hard to sing. Does a higher percentage of singing in the congregation lead to authentic worship? I would argue and encourage worship leaders to include songs that may be difficult to sing but congregationally but have great music, lyrics and most importantly theology, to help teach this theology to their congregation. This is exactly what this song is. Over time the congregation will become familiar enough with the song to sing along as well.

“Oh Great Love of God” has some lyrics that I feel are awkward, but are theological truths that often get left out of worship songs (at least the ones I hear and know). The first verse for instance:

“Victim of our Sacrifice, gift of love a perfect life, all for a wayward bride, all for a wayward bride.”

The repeated phrase is a little awkward. Perhaps we know that we are the ‘Bride of Christ’ but how often are we reminded that we “have wandered away” as the scriptures say. Despite this Christ still died for us. Let us turn to the Chorus:

“Oh great Love of God, who takes away the sins of all of us, gone forever,

Heaven open wide in a resurrection, You won’t be denied, bringing life to the dead and dying.”

I suppose we can argue that this resurrection is the resurrection at the end times. I instead believe that it is a resurrection of the spirit or soul of a man upon salvation. The work of Christ is to restore life, “and life abundantly” This lyric speaks of the mission of God, a mission that sadly some churches do not pursue. I do not wish to bash the Church or churches, for the Church is the hope of the world, for it is the Body and Bride of Christ. It is just a simple truth that church leaders must work to rectify. There are a number of other lyrics that merit a writing about. For now I will leave it here, and instead of writing a novel of a blog, I will write a part 2 for this song.

Thanks for reading!

 

After All (Holy)

Here we are once again, taking a look at a song for my “Dream CCLI 25.” This time around we are looking at probably my favorite song on this list, which is saying something, because I love all the songs I picked. I actually responded to an e-mail from the worship leader at our church asking about new song ideas, and this one I did quite a bit of talking on this song. Firstly, this song, like most songs, can be broken down into a simple chord structure that is easily reproduced. However, it also has a complexity if you intend to duplicate the sound and layers of the song. So it’s a simply complex song, which is indicative of many Crowder songs. The most important part of this song is the lyrical content. This song does two things. It communicates our reaction and perception of God. However, it does this in a grand, clear and honest way. Let’s look at the lyrics:

“I can’t comprehend your infinite beautiful and perfect love,

Oh I’ve dreamed dreams of majesty as brilliant as a billion stars

But it’s never bright enough”

This is the first verse, the second verse is similar:

“I will sing a song for you my God with everything I have in me,

But it’s never loud enough”

What do these lyrics communicate? That our worship, our efforts to glorify God are never enough, I hesitate to say they are never good enough, because it sounds so negative but it’s true. The Bible says that even our best offerings are like filthy rags when compared to God’s holiness and glory. This is the way we should perceive God, as so far above us, so much holier and glorious than us that we cannot worship him perfectly or sufficiently yet. However, this does not mean we should not worship God, “After all” He is “Holy.”

The chorus of this song repeats over and again that God is Holy. This is the second  aspect of the song, not only does it present a human perception of the truth of God. It presents the reality of who God is, holy! This is why we need to worship God.

The bridge of the song declares that God’s glory is everywhere, that it is much to big for us as well. “My soul it overflows, full of Your glory, Your Glory.” And finally ends with a praise to God for his salvation saying, “Hosanna we are found for after all, You are Holy.” This line simply puts the reality of what God through Christ which is gained through the power of the Holy Spirit has done for us. A perfectly holy God that reached down and saved us, he found us while we were lost. Praise the Lord!

I feel like many worship leaders would not want to use this song because of the verses, how they communicate our deficiency to be able to worship God sufficiently. This perception could be very wrong, but if it’s not, then I encourage them to take a risk and use this song. The chorus is so memorable and easy to learn (after you drop the key a bit) and there is so much truth and ways to worship God with this song, that it must be used!

The Doxology

On my list of songs that I think should be on the CCLI top 25 list, the Doxology starts us off. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) Its short, simple and easy to remember, 2) It is trinitarian in nature. Most of our popular worship songs today are not trinitarian in nature. Additionally the Doxology communicates something very important, and quite apparently (if your looking). It communicates that all of creation is called to worship God. Lets take a look at a few lyrics:

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow”

If we are to praise God, and praise Him properly we are to do it fully to God. This means worship must be trinitarian. I have no doubt that anyone could argue that worship shouldn’t be trinitarian, but I believe it must. At the very least because the blessings of the Lord are possible to us through the word of the trinity. We are brought into a whole relationship with Father through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and by the endwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. Thus, the blessings of God are made possible because of that relationship, sent by the Father, through the blood of Christ and we are only able to accept them because of this blood and the indwelling of the spirit.

Ok next lines:

“Praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above, ye heavenly Hosts.”

These two lines encapsulate all of creation. It does not say “Praise Him all humanity here below.” it says “creatures”! If you turn to Revelation 5-7 you will see how all of creation ends up praising the Lord.

Lastly,

“Praise, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”

Trinitarian worship, more fully spelled out. This song calls all of creation (and perhaps more specifically the Church) to praise God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen!

Separation of Church FROM THE State

I feel I must take a break from the Worship War series to write this:

Earlier this week the governor of WA approved the rights for gays to marry. I’m sure a great many of Christians and Evangelicals are outraged, or upset, or possible apathetic to this decision? They may see it as part of the continual degradation of our culture and government into moral decay. I believe I take a unique stance in this particular area. I disagree with what took place theologically, however philosophically I agree with the decision. How is this possible you may ask? Well I am a true free churcher. Most people, especially Christians, don’t realize that the USA was founded on religious freedom. “Thats crazy of course we know that.” What most of you believe is that we wanted freedom from the religious powers of England or France or Spain, or whoever. That was true initially. However, our Founding Fathers were wise enough to realize, that they couldn’t allow the State to run the Church, or vice versa. They couldn’t allow our fledgling nation to fall into the trap that so many old world nations/churches had fallen into.

If you are a true free churcher, and truly  believe in freedom of religion then you will philosophically, nay you must philosophically believe that WA state has made the right choice. It is not for the Church, or the state to dictate moral law onto it’s people. Yes the state must maintain civil order and protect it’s citizens, but to deny the right to religious freedom is outside of the states jurisdiction. We Christians may disagree theologically with the states decision and we should from this angle. However, I must ask the question, who’s fault is it that our nation, our state has come to this? It’s the Church’s! For too long we have squabbled inside our own walls over song style, trivial theological nuances or carpet color, while the world has longed for someone to tell them the truth. And in our absence they made up there own and now here we are.

So Christian, don’t be angry at the state for doing it’s job, thats not fair, thats like being angry at a bar tender for cutting you off when you’ve already had one too many (which is illegal in WA state btw). Christian be angry that you sat comfortably in your padded chair on a Sunday morning but didn’t apply that message on evangelism. Be angry with yourself that you didn’t talk to your neighbor about Christ. Be angry with yourself that you held signs that said “Fags go to hell.” That is why we are where we are today. Now I know that you, my reader may not be any of these people. However, there are those that have done these things, and unfortunately a vast majority of Christians fall into these areas.

What are we to do now? Love the world, tell them lovingly about the Son of God who has come from heaven to earth and lived and died for your sins and for their sins. Tell them of the great love of God that allowed for their sins to be removed. Tell them how Christ is risen, and loves them despite their sin. Remember to do it in love. For as 1 Corinthians 13 (read the entire chapter) tells us if we do great things in the name of God without love it is for naught.

You may disagree with me, and that if fine. I am more than ready to admit that this is my humble, but forceful opinion. Tell me your thoughts, I want to know so that I can learn and grow from your wisdom as I hope you learn and grow from my feeble attempts at wisdom.

How are you impacting your world?

The Worship War: The Battle of Eden

This post is long over due. As we move onto the next worship battle, we will see that the odds are un-even. Only this time they favor Satan and not God’s side. The major players in the second battle are, as usual, Satan and man, specifically Adam and Eve. In this battle, Adam and Eve are living their life together and partners in the Garden of Eden. They are tending to the garden, they are working together in harmony with everything around them. One day, Satan sneaks into the garden in the guise of a serpent. Satan is still livid that God beat him in heaven and threw him to earth. To get back at God Satan decides to go after God’s most prized creation man. If Satan can get man to turn from God and worship something else, then he will have tricked them into worshiping himself!

Satan confronts Eve (it is believed that Adam is right there watching) and tempts her to eat the fruit off a tree they forbidden to eat from by God. Satan lies, telling Eve that eating from this tree, The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that they will not die but instead will become ‘like God’. This seemed like a great deal to her, so she grabs the fruid an eats it. I believe she realizes at this point she screwed up, but not wanting to be the only screw up offers it to Adam, who eats then fruit too. Now they are both screw ups. Satan had tricked Adam and Eve into elevating themselves to the place of God, they began to worship themselves. However, as I pointed out in the first blog in this series, worshiping anything other than God is idolatry, and idolatry really is worship of Satan. Satan it seems had won this battle.

The death promised by God if they ate of this tree came. Not a physical death mind you, but a spiritual death. Man was no longer able to communion with God, they were separated, spiritually dead which would only make their later physical deaths more bitter. What did Satan win out of this victory? Sway over man. Before man was utterly and perfectly devoted to God, not in an automotonamous way however. Now satan has a foothold into man’s heart and can sway man into sin. In addition, this first disobedience in man plants a spiritual disease in all of us. We are all infected with a spiritual death, also known as a sin-nature.

If we are keeping score of these battles the first victory (the battle of heaven) goes to God, while the second (the battle of eden) goes to Satan. The score is tied at 1-1. There are many other minor skirmishes throughout history, and still continue to be today. Satan either believes he can beat God, or is just trying to stab a giant with a toothpick at this point. There is, however, one more major battle in this war. I call this “The Battle of the Wilderness.” In this battle Jesus squares off against Satan. We will look a this battle next time.