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Friday, April 29, 2011

Song Series: Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)

Read Acts 2:14-36


What a great day! A work associate, whose investments had exponentially grown, recently purchased a motorcycle as a personal reward. He was describing what a great deal he’d gotten through one of the online clearing houses, and how he couldn’t wait to ride it home. Now, this wasn’t the first “great deal” he’d come across. He also owned several rental properties, a business, and like I said many positive and equitable investments. For all intents and purposes, things were really going his way. One might even say, “His day had come.” Well, after having the bike less than a week he found himself lying in ICU at a local hospital as a result of a traffic accident with said motorbike. The very thing which days earlier symbolized good times and good days ahead now represented the precariousness and unpredictability of life.

In Acts 2:20, Peter was quoting the prophet, Joel, from Joel 2: 28-32. He wanted the gathering crowd to understand that prophecy was being fulfilled in their midst. God’s Spirit was being poured out on ordinary people right in front of their eyes as a precursor to the great and awesome day of the Lord. He was clearly stating to everyone present, Jesus, the Christ, could return at any moment!

Believers in Peter’s day lived with the full expectation that Jesus could and probably would return at any moment. Now, two millennia have gone by and believers still live in expectation and hope of Christ’s soon return…or do we. When was the last time we actually lived life in the light of eternity. The day to day practice of our faith does help keep things in perspective. A daily quiet time, moment by moment prayer, a thankful spirit, and a continual self-reminding that all we do is to be done for Christ are essential elements for remembering Christ’s soon return. Jesus really can return at any moment and I, for one, want to live in the light of His coming.


Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified, freely forever.
One day He's coming, Oh glorious day


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Song Series: Our God Reigns: Sing Strong

Our God Reigns: Sing Strong

Read: Revelation 19

Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. - Revelation 19:6

God is not against LOUD PRAISE! There is coming a day when the bride of Christ, the church, will sing before the Lamb of God. All of our miscues, misunderstandings, and misrepresentations, as well as, all our dysfunctions, disagreements, and denominations will come to an end and we will stand together clothed in white linen (representing purity) praising the One True God with a really LOUD voice. There is a time for quiet reflection, even silence, but I’m convinced that holding back when we should be hollering God’s greatness is absolutely and unequivocally wrong.

One of the best ways we worship leaders can guard against timidity in worship is to know the song we’re singing. Sure we should understand the melody and chord progressions, as well as, the rhythm and breaks; that’s just common practice. However, until a song has ministered to us and we’ve made it our own we may be able to sing it loud, but we will not - cannot sing with heart felt abandon.

Here’s a method for learning a new song that may work for you (I call it R.I.P.D. pronounced “ripped”)

1. Rhythm: Playing along with a recording is helpful, but make sure you can play it solo without losing your way. First, find the tempo and practice your part several times through with a metronome. Then, break down the sections that seem to be giving you trouble. Most musicians will have difficulty with anything syncopated or off the beat, so spend time locking in
2. Inference: What’s the scripture reference, study it, memorize it, and meditate on the message. Also ask yourself, “What’s the song saying to me, how can I express it emotionally, visually, and of course musically?”
3. Parts: this is straight forward if you’re a vocalist, but when you’re part of a band that has several instruments, determining your specific space becomes critical and a lot more difficult to discover. You may need to actually sit down with the other musicians for a special session or develop a predetermined approach for each new song
4. Dynamics: Here’s where things get a bit tricky in a live presentation. Our tendency is to rip the upbeat songs fast and furiously, depending on how much we’re “into it”. Many song writers spend hours crafting songs to emotionally enhance the message in the music through very specific levels of volume, swells (crescendos) and accents. That’s what dynamics are all about. So, respect the writer and learn it the way he wrote it before changing it to how you want it.

Here are some additional ideas from The Palms Community Worship Team:
Listen to the song several times without singing or playing it.
Learn to sing it first, even if you're an instrumentalist.
Learn to play the song by ear before looking at the chord chart.
Listen to the lead singer. (believe it or not, this suggestion came from our drummer!)
Loop the songs in your media player until you know it well enough to play without the CD. Learn the flow of the song but be ready to follow the worship leader if things begin to change.


Sing to the King of Glory.
Sing to the King of kings.
All creation declares Your greatness as Your people bring You praise.

Quiet Time: Prayerful Participation

Prayerful Participation
The early church seemed dynamically dependent on prayer. Today’s church too. However, I often find that prayer is sometimes added, indifferently, to a pressing need. Come on, you’ve heard it: a voice filled with emotion, maybe a tear, and then the plea, “Hi friends, please remember that this is a viewer supported ministry; your prayers and gifts are greatly appreciated!” Then the announcer spends the next several minutes emphasizing how much the donor’s support is needed, without a peep on prayer. It seems to me that Paul took a much higher view of the power of prayer in ministry.

Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to “join” him in ministry through prayer (2 Corinthians 1:11), he told the believers in Rome to “strive” with him through prayer (Romans 15:30), and declared to the Philippian church that he would be “delivered” through prayer (Philippians 1:19). He spoke as if everything depended on prayer.
So, after reading Paul’s view I asked myself, “When was the last time I joined a pastor, worship leader, teacher, missionary, insert name here ________, in the ministry through prayer?” To be honest, I can improve.

Who knows, may-be God’s been waiting on me to get involved. Therefore, I’m determined to become dynamically dependent on prayer. How about you?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Quiet Time: No Substitute for Self Control

 No Substitute For Self Control

Read: 2 Timothy 2:14-16

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God -

1 Timothy 2:15

One of my favorite bible teachers is Christian financial adviser, Larry Burkett. He often said, "There is no substitute for self-control." I typed out taped up this bit of wisdom to my locker at work to remind myself that working with excellence is a choice. We all know that we should do whatever our hand finds to do "mightily as unto the Lord and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23) but how often do we accept good enough as good enough.

Last week our worship team discussed the need for personal discipline in practicing on our own at home. Learning our parts to the point of excellence takes time and good ole hard work. But the rewards are tremendous. Come Sunday, we find ourselves actually leading the congregation toward intimate worship and we also discover the joy of knowing that God is pleased with our effort, because we've chosen to work as unto to Him and not unto men. We sense that we are "workmen that need not be ashamed." (2 Timothy 2:15)

In my vocational position with a local power company we have a saying after a hard day's work: "I don't back up to my paycheck." What that means is that we actually gave an honest eight and more. For the Christian, there is no other way to work. We do everything with excellence all the time, or at least that should be our goal...including personal practice.