20 Aug

Wednesday Is for Worship: Behold the Lamb (Communion Song)

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

This is Wednesday, but it’s also the day that we have scheduled at our church to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Our church has two campuses, and one of the ways we try to promote unity is to worship together on Wednesday nights, and about every four months, the gathered campuses celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Tonight is that night for us.  So, today’s song is a Lord’s Supper song, “Behold the Lamb (Communion Song).”

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23 Jul

Wednesday Is for Worship: “We Believe”

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

Songs are powerful.  As we often hear, music soothes the savage beast.  They have the ability to affect us deeply on so many levels.  They can capture and remind us of an intense moment in our life, bringing either joy or sorrow to the foreground of our hearts and faces.  They can incite one to nearly every emotion imaginable.  They are powerful indeed!

But on this Wednesday, we must be reminded that songs are also a powerful teaching tool.  That’s one of the strongest reasons why Christianity is a singing religion.  Through verse and melody, the faith is transmitted into the hearts and minds of Jesus followers.  That’s why it’s so important for the Christian songs we sing to be biblically correct, but that’s another post I suppose.

A great example of how Christian songs teach is the Newboys recent release “We Believe.”   Read More

25 Jun

Wednesday Is for Worship: I’m Going Free (Jailbreak)

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

As many of you know, I’ve been a worship leader in some capacity since 1999.  I’m passionate about music, especially music that magnifies the Lord!

Today I want to reintroduce a weekly series that I’ve taken about a year-long break from, but since moving to pastor at Eastwood Baptist Church and getting to sing to the Lord under the leadership of our worship pastors Mark and Dana, I’ve felt led to pick the series back up again.  I pray it will be beneficial to you.

The series is called “Wednesday Is for Worship,” and each week I’ll post a worship song to God.  I pray you’ll use it first to sing praise to our great God and then to introduce it to others, hopefully even your congregation.  Some of the songs will be new.  Some will be old.  But, all of them will extol the name and glories of God.

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Have you ever been locked up in jail?  Whether we have or not, all of us have had the shackles of sin chaining us up.  Today’s Wednesday Is for Worship song is a celebration of being released from the bondage of sin and condemnation.  It’s called “I’m Going Free (Jailbreak).”

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25 Sep

Wednesday Is for Worship: I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

Wednesday-Is-for-Worship

On this Wednesday morning, have you said “hello” to Jesus yet?  If not, stop what you are doing and do so right now.  Recognize His presence and His lordship.  And now, get ready to worship Him!

Today’s song that will help you do so is originally entitled “Je Te Sa­lue Mon Cer­tain Re­demp­teur,” which translated from French is “I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art.”  The song was written in French because it was penned from the heart of the French theologian Jehan Cauvin, who is better known by his anglicized name John Calvin.  Calvin was a 16th-century Protestant reformer, who mainly ministered in Geneva, Switzerland, and is considered to be one of the greatest theological minds of Christian history.

Penned in 1545 and eventually sung to the tune “Toulon” (composed by Louis Bourgeois for the Genevan Psalter in 1551), the song was later translated into English by Elizabeth L. Smith in 1869.  The words are unquestionably beautiful, deep, and biblical.

I love how the first verse basically says “hello” to Jesus:  “I greet Thee.”  Notice that Jesus is called “who my sure Redeemer art.”  That speaks of a settled security that we have in Jesus Christ.  Our redemption is certain in Him.  It then goes to focus on Jesus as the Savior on whom not only were our sins and stripes laid but on whom we can also lay our cares.

The second verse describes Jesus as the Almighty King, inviting Him to lead us.  The third verse praises Jesus for being our sustainer.  The fourth verse recounts the gentleness that Jesus has toward His people because of His grace.  The fifth verse declares that our only hope is in Jesus and asks Him to help us endure in that hope until the end.

So, this morning, may you say “hello” to Jesus and then pour forth His praise as you sing along with worship leader Bob Kauflin!

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
O grant to us the grace we find in Thee,
That we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.

11 Sep

Wednesday Is for Worship: Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)

 Wednesday Is for Worship

Hello to you on this Wednesday!  It’s been a while since I’ve put out a Wednesday Is for Worship, but I’m excited about getting back into the groove.  I’m always blessed by the songs featured here, and I pray that you are too.

Today I want to share with you a song that is so encouraging.  We undoubtedly live in times of trouble and face instability all around us locally, nationally, and internationally.  Furthermore, wickedness abounds.  There is plenty to be fearful of, but today’s song reminds us that those who are Jesus Christ’s ultimately have nothing to fear.  I’m talking about “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies).”

Written in 2012 by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, and Scott Cash and published through Worship Together Music, “Whom Shall I Fear” is the first single released in 2012 from Chris Tomlin’s seventh studio album called “Burning Lights.”  Both the song and the album have hit #1 on the Christian music charts.  It’s so easy to see why!

The first verse reminds us that God never turns a deaf ear to us, His children, even in times of darkness.  His light always breaks through.  The second verse declares the victory and protection that is ours through God.  The final verse rejoices in God being our strength, our savior, our deliverer, and the victorious one.

Each verse ends with the ever-relevant question, “Whom shall I fear?”  which draws from the biblical context of Psalm 27 where David asks that very question.  The intended answer, of course, is nobody but God.  The reason is spelled out in the chorus.  The God of Angel Armies envelopes us before and behind; the God of angel armies in all of His sovereignty is a friend to us, on our side, and always by our side.  That’s an awesome, encouraging reality!

The bridge rehearses the fear-stifling realities of the impossibility of defeat.  No weapon formed against us will stand because God has the whole world in His hands.  He has promised to protect us and is faithful to His promises.

The songs seems to draw heavily on themes from Psalm 27, but Tomlin points to the story in 2 Kings 6:8-23 as the core biblical inspiration of the song.  It really is a must-read passage!  There the king of Aram was bent on capturing the prophet Elisha because he kept prophetically telling the king of Israel where to fortify against Aramean attack.  The Aramean king sent his army to the city where Elisha was and surrounded it.  When Elisha’s servant saw the army, he became fearful, but Elijah comforted him, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” (2 Kings 6:16).  Surely the servant was like, “Uhmm, Bro. Elisha, there’s nobody with us but us!”  So, Elisha then prayed to the Lord to reveal to the servant all of God’s angel army that actually surrounded and outnumbered the Aramean army.  It was an awesome sight to behold and had the effect killing the servant’s fear.

Friends, that God in the story of Elisha is the same God we serve today.  He is still the God of Angel Armies, the Lord of Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts.  In light of this awesome reality, may you fear no one or no thing but God!

I invite you to sing along with Chris as you worship our Almighty God!

VERSE 1
You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear?

VERSE 2
You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though trouble linger still
Whom shall I fear?

CHORUS
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

VERSE 3
My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?

BRIDGE
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

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You can hear Chris Tomlin tell the story behind the song, perform the song, and demonstrate how to play the song at http://worshiptogether.com/songs/songdetail.aspx?iid=1975092.

19 Jun

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Come, Thou Almighty King”

Wednesday Is for Worship

This Wednesday I’m in the middle of Vacation Bible School week, and we’re thoroughly enjoying Group’s Kingdom Rock.  One of the reasons that we always do Group’s VBS material is their great music, which is geared more toward actual worship than other VBS music seems to be.  They do a great job of introducing our kids to contemporary and historic hymns of the faith.  This year I’ve been particularly struck by their version of “Come, Thou Almighty King.”

While it’s clear that Fe­lice de Gi­ar­di­ni wrote the melody in 1769, the author, who probably penned the lyrics in the 1740s, is debated.  Many attribute the song to Charles Wesley, but there is only circumstantial proof that he wrote it.  Therefore, most simply accredit it to “Anonymous.”  Interestingly enough, there’s a good reason the writer wanted to remain anonymous.  Mark Creech relates the story—which he learned from the the 1926 edition of A Junior Hymnal with Song Stories and Worship Programs from The Standard Publishing Company and compiled by J.E. Stugis and W.S. Martin—in this way:

The book provides some history on “Come, Thou Almighty King” that I’ve never read anywhere else, which may throw some light on why the hymn’s authorship is in question. What is more, the story is a patriotic one that demonstrates America’s deep roots in the Christian religion.

The book recounts a time in our nation’s history when we were in deep trouble – that period when America was struggling for its independence from the tyranny of England’s King. The crisis was so intense the people could hardly bear it and a company of them who lived in Long Island gathered together for worship in their church.

England, as we know, had a national song, “God Save the King,” the first verse of which reads:

“God save our gracious King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King.
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the King.”

The words were sung to the same tune as our own, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”

When these patriotic followers of Christ were meeting in church for worship, a company of British soldiers showed up and their commander had them march up the aisle. It was an extremely threatening and fearful situation. When the commander reached the front of the sanctuary, he turned to the congregants and demanded: “Sing, ‘God Save the King.'” The organist began playing the tune everyone knew so well, but instead of singing “God, Save the King,” they sang this prayer:

“Come, Thou Almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise:
Father all glorious,
O’er all victorious,
Come, and reign over us,
Ancient of days!”

The commander and the soldiers were so taken aback – so moved by such deep spirituality – so moved by this earnest prayer to God and its devotion to Christ as King – they marched out of the church without any further threats or intimidations.

Though the book’s story doesn’t give specifics such as the date, name of the church, etc., it certainly seems plausible and consistent with similar records of history for the same time period. One Crown-appointed British governor wrote back to Great Britain complaining: “If you ask an American who is his master, he’ll tell you he has none. And he has no governor but Jesus Christ.” A motto of the American Revolution directed against King George III was: “No King but King Jesus!”

Perhaps one of the reasons the authorship of this hymn has never been clear is because that is the way the author wanted it. Whatever name had been associated with its text would have likely been executed for treason to the Crown. [citation]

Wow!  What an awesome story!!  No king but King Jesus, indeed!!!

I’m going to share with you today the Kingdom Rock version of “Come, Thou Almighty King,” which simply repeats the first verse.  If you have the 1991 or 2008 version of the Baptist Hymnal, it’s in there.  Get it out, and sing praise to King Jesus!

1. Come, Thou almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise!
Father all-glorious,
O’er all victorious,
Come and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.

2. Come, Thou Incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword,
Our prayer attend;
Come and Thy people bless
And give Thy Word success;
Stablish Thy righteousness,
Savior and Friend!

3. Come, holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear
In this glad hour.
Thou, who almighty art,
Now rule in every heart
And ne’er from us depart,
Spirit of Power!

4. To the great One in Three
Eternal praises be
Hence evermore!
His sovereign majesty
May we in glory see
And to eternity
Love and adore!

05 Jun

Wednesday Is for Worship: “Lord, I Need You”

Wednesday Is for Worship

On this Wednesday, what are you in need of?  The list very well may be long, but at the top must be the Lord.  He is what you need more than anything else.  He created you, He’s sustaining you, and He’s made a way for you to be saved.  Even those who right now either reject that they have a need of the Lord or are ignorant of their need of Him nevertheless need the Lord.  That’s why today’s song is so relevant.  It’s simply called “Lord, I Need You.”

Written in 2011 for that year’s Passion conference by Christy Nockels, Daniel Carson, Jesse Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, and Matt Maher and published through worshiptogether.com songs, this song has as its hook just enough of a nugget of the classic hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” to remind us of that great tune.  However, everything else in it is completely new in this prayer of desperation sung to God.

The chorus declares that there’s not a moment when we don’t need the Lord.  Twenty-four/seven dependence, particularly for his protection and righteousness!  The first verse reminds us that in God we find rest, stability, and guidance.  Verse 2 beautifully captures the glory of God’s grace covering over sins, freeing us through Jesus Christ to be holy for the Lord.  The bridge simply asks the Lord to help the worshiper to lean on Him, especially in temptation.

What I love about Maher’s version of the song below is the authentic, folksy desperation with which he delivers the vocals, making your heart long for the Lord.  Excellent!

Alright, so worship the Lord right now.  You know you need Him!

VERSE 1
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

CHORUS
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

VERSE 2
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

BRIDGE
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

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You can hear from Matt and Kristian how the song came together at this edition of New Song Café.