Posts Tagged ‘Worship Music’

Sunday May 30, 2010 Sermon Recording: live it

Proverbs 2

We wrapped up our “Hearing God” series this past week with the emphasis on how important being in an active relationship with God helps us to hear him better.  The more we walk with God the more we understand him, just as it is in any relationship.  And just like any healthy relationship, hearing God is not about manipulating him to tell us what we want or to give us every answer we need.  It is about learning from God and being guided to a point to where the decisions we make have the character of Christ in them.

In our attempts to hear God we sometimes fall at the extreme.  One end we claim to want to hear God but do nothing to cultivate that hearing or do anything about what we think we hear.  On the other end we seek God to make every decision for us.  Neither constitutes a healthy relationship.  No healthy person likes to be ignored and no healthy person really wants to make every decision or have every decision made for them.  God’s desire is not that we live God’s life but to live our life with God.  This means that for us to grow to mature faith we learn how to decide things for ourselves by watching Christ.  Does this mean that we do not go to God for guidance? No.  Does it mean that God never has something particular for us to do? No.  But it does mean that we can learn how to walk with God, hear God, listen for God, with out fretting with anxiety if we are disobeying God as we live and breathe through the many decisions and moments that happen in our daily life.

I closed the sermon by sharing with you the closest thing to a formula Dallas Willard came to in his book, “Hearing God”.  Below I will share with you those points and a prayer by James Dobson.  However, there is a major disclaimer.  This is not a formula to get God to talk to you.  It is simply a practical way to help you tune into what God is already saying and what to do when you can’t hear him.

There are 7 steps mentioned

Foundational Steps:

  1. Be intentional in your walk with God.  Make a conscious effort to live as Christ. And Be committed.
  2. Seek the fullness of new life in Christ as guided by the Holy Spirit willing to follow God beyond the things that are in our control and power, and into the goodness of God. (remembering that Faith is not opposed to knowledge, only sight)

Steps to Hearing God

  1. Meditate on God’s principles for life given to us in Scripture, striving to understand their meaning and application. (small groups are a very helpful way to do this)
  2. Be alert to what is happening in our life, mind, and heart.  Here is where God’s communication identify themselves.
  3. Pray and speak to God constantly and specifically about the matters that concern us. Nothing is too insignificant or hopeless.
  4. Use a regular plan.  (see example of plan below)
  5. In those cases where God does not speak to you in a matter concerned.
  • Ask God to inform you, in whatever way he chooses, if some hindrance is within you.  Be quiet and listen in the inner forum of your mind.  Don’t endlessly pursue this, but set aside specific times to pray and believe that if a problem exists, God will reveal it.
  • Take counsel from at least two people whose relationship with God you respect (not buddies) maybe even in a group setting if your issues aren’t too intimate.
  • If you find cause, correct it.  Just do it.
  • If you cannot find cause, then act on what seems best to you after considering the itemized details of each alternative. Find Christ in your action.

Example of a plan

Dallas Willard quotes James Dobson,

  • “I get down on my knees and say, “Lord, I need to know what you want me to do, and I am listening.  Please speak to me through my friends, books, magazines I pick up and read, and through circumstances.”
  • Take time to be still before God each day and ask him to reveal himself to you.

If you do these things with the intention of getting to know God better, and yourself, you will find yourself immersed in a wonderful relationship with God.

Book Used

Dallas Willard’s “Hearing God”

Worship Music This Past Sunday

  1. First and The Last
  2. Beautiful One
  3. Mighty To Save
  4. Center

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Sunday May 23, 2010 Sermon Recording Who Said That?

Scripture: Acts 2 and John 10: 1-4

Pentecost. A day that changed the world and a day we can continue to experience.  I have heard Pentecost preached on and talked about in many different ways and generally the focus is placed on the extraordinary means of the miracle and not the miracle itself.  It is often assumed that the means of the miracle, the manifestation of multiple languages being spoken and understood by a great many people, is the miracle when in reality that is just the means.  Just like the burning bush and Moses, the amazing thing is not that there was a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire, but by the fact that God desired to speak to him in the first place.  The Moses story also puts on another perspective; Moses wasn’t chosen because of his qualifications.  And so with Pentecost, God chooses to speak to all people regardless of their background and baggage.  Peter declares, all will be saved who call upon the name of the Lord.

All. Everybody.  No excluions.  Pentecost is God’s willingness to pour himself out upon all who would receive.  He speaks to all who would listen.  The difficulty for most of us is not that we don’t want to hear, but that we resist doing the things that help us hear.  I was watching “My Name is Earl” on my lunch break today and he met a woman who was too vain to wear glasses so she had a Very Large Print Bible.  Here is the clip.

Now she wants to read, but she is going to miss out on a lot reading like this.  Why are we so resistant to change our lives for something we know will improve our life.  My grandmother refuses to wear a hearing aid.  We would be in discussions and she would ask me a question and because she couldn’t hear well she would just make up an answer to either satisfy herself or make her upset. She had the tools at her disposal to hear me, but wasn’t willing to change her behavior to do so.  The result was that she would often be mad at stuff I never said.  (Of course, she also laughed at things I said that were never funny to anyone else.) I would hate for us to miss out on what God has to say to us because we are unwilling to learn how to listen and unwilling to step into a deep relationship with him.

Sunday Worship Songs:

  1. Here Is Our King
  2. How Great Thou Art
  3. Glory To God Forever
  4. Take My Life

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Sunday May 17, 2010 Sermon Recording:   Small Voice

Video used (watch this brief 2 minute video before listening to sermon)  Selective Attention Test

Scripture:  1 Kings 19

The idea of God using a “small voice” can, on the surface, seem frustrating.  This is one of those thoughts I sometimes have mid sermon and wish I had time to explore more, or at least have thought of the day before.  During the second service I began thinking of that old Seinfeld episode with the quiet talker.  It was the episode that Jerry agreed to wear one of her ‘pirate shirts’ mainly because he couldn’t hear what she was saying and didn’t feel like asking again.  I wondered how many times we just nod along with what we think God wants and never seek out confirmation.  We would rather God just speak up.

On the surface I can’t blame us for wanting God to speak up.  There are times I made poor decisions on what I thought was good information, or at least good guidance.  Yea, I know,  I sound like a politician now.  That sound is what happens when we do honest self-reflection.  We can easily turn into what Shakespeare calls “the anointed sovereign of sighs and groans” (don’t let that impress you, I do like William, but I got that off my Shakespeare coffee mug of insults.  Hey, even my pottery is sarcastic! Who knew?)  Basically, as I reflect upon my times of frustration with God, I usually, if I am honest, discover the frustration is with myself.  Sure, it begin with God, but what I come to realize is that my urgency is because I have come to God a little too late with my issues or didn’t quite listen.

I used to work for a company called BMI.  A reputable company, and one that I believe their existence is important, but made of humans and all that comes with that baggage. Just like any corporation, there are VP’s, and Directors, and Managers, and cubicle people.  Being one of the cubicle people (the only time I ever really appreciated Dilbert) I remember getting directives to drop whatever we were doing and do only what the VP’s were telling their Directors to tell their managers to tell us to do. I also remember thinking, “why is your neglect turned emergency our emergency”.  Now, I know the answer to that, I’m a cubicle person and I existed for the sake of the company.  But, that always stuck in my crawl (whatever that is).  There was a break down of communication and another persons neglect became my emergency.  There were times that we had ways to fix a problem but VP couldn’t hear us because they were in a crisis and that was all they could see.

Now flip the chain of command.  We are in a place where we suddenly need direction, help, whatever.  We seek God.  He speaks to us, but we can’t understand because we are bombarded with the noise of our anxiety.  Does God need to speak up, or do we need to quiet down.  Sydney, my daughter, is 2 years old.  There are times I marvel that someone so small can make a noise that loud.  I have worked with children enough in my life and study their behavior enough to know that reasoning does not work.  Sometimes, we just have to let her let it out.  We don’t give in, because that only feeds the behavior, but we let her have her right to cry (or scream like a banshee… whatever that is).  Once she settles down, lets the noise out, we can then communicate and learn that she wants the plastic Buzz Light Year not the stuffed Buzz Light Year  (I know, what was I thinking).  In our desire to hear God, usually our inability has more to do with the noise we are making than the volume of the speaker.  How do we reduce the noise?  It is learning how to hear his voice.  The only way to do that is to listen daily.  The noise of the world will keep coming, but if we seek out the voice of God daily in our life, we will find we can hear his whisper above all else.  As a matter of fact, the very act of trying to listen to God starts to transform how we live.

I challenge you to try this exercise this week; take 5 to 10 minutes each day and pray this prayer. Lord, teach me to hear you through all of my senses and all I do, by what I see, hear, taste, touch, and even smell.  Once you pray this, be still for a few minutes.  After your time of meditation, reflect on what you heard, think you heard, or were being directed to do.  It may be to read more scripture, it may be to care for a friend, change how you treat a co-worker, it may be to be still.  It may be that you didn’t hear anything, but just keep doing this.  It might be good to keep a journal.  I would also encourage you to share some of this with a trusted friend.  Maybe even commit to you both doing it and sharing with each other what you discovered at the end of the week.  Above all, don’t despair if this is not easy or you hear nothing, God is not excluding you, seek guidance from those you trust who are mature in the faith.

I am not promising miracles, but the beginning or a renewal of a connection with God.  The saying is true, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

Worship Music this past week:

(for those who use this section for song ideas, we have a little retro recently, but will be adding new songs soon)

  1. Your Grace is Enough (Matt Maher)
  2. O Praise Him (David Crowder)
  3. Everlasting God (Chris Tomlin)
  4. You Are My King (Billy Foote)

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To hear this past weeks sermon click the following link.

It Is It Isn’t Sermon

Working through this series on “Hearing God”, it doesn’t take long to realize that a great deal of scripture wrestles with this very topic.  Isn’t that what each story seems to share, God speaking to people and how people respond to that word?  As a matter of fact hearing God is so central to the message of God that God deemed it vital to embody his word.  Sometimes people wonder why “the Word become flesh” is important.  I think about it like this; people I really want to get to know, I want to talk to them in person.  Conversations that are very important, I want to have them in person.  God’s desire is relationship, for only through his relationship are we truly whole. When we talk about “hearing God”, we are essentially talking about a healthy relationship with God.

This past week we explored the fear many people have of being alone and briefly on some of the ways we attempt to make up for that deficiency.  We heard the good news in Romans 8, that in Christ, we are never alone.  Dallas Willard, essentially, was the outline for this past weeks sermon and he in his book “Hearing God” drives this point home, that we are made for relationship with God and it is his nature to draw us to him.  There were also a couple of really great points he made.  One point he makes is that if we look at scripture such as Romans 8:35, Psalm 16, and Psalm 23, the promises made are not that bad things will never happen to us, but that no matter what comes at us we are still beyond genuine harm because God is present with us.

That begs the question of what “general harm” is.  I shared the example Sunday that when a home is broken into the most upsetting thing that happens to the home owner is not the loss of their stuff, but the loss of their security.  Essentially, the soul has been violated.  Some thing with abusive language, manipulated feelings, disrespect for another person, etc.  What scripture is saying, what God is saying, is that let me guide you in your value and I can heal you from all violations.

So what does all of this have to do with hearing God?  Well, the only way to receive the benefits of a relationship (with anyone) is to actually participate in the relationship.  The only way for us to discover this peace is to find ourselves with the peace maker (I don’t mean Smith and Wesson).  We are called by God to be in a conversational relationship with him.  Exodus 19:6 and Rev. 1: 5-6, both say that we are called to be a priesthood to the nations.  Let me “de-religion” that for you.  We are called to be co-workers with God.  Living a life of lifting up, creating, caring, loving, healing, making whole, building relationships.  The Gospel of John says that Jesus calls us friends.    So we are called to be friends and called to work along side God.  This means we are called to be engaged in the business of God.

The funny thing about that last sentence is that so many people interpret that as meaning we are all called to be pastors.  Why is that funny?  Because, really, yes the job of a pastor is about God’s work but only a portion of it.  As a matter of fact, the job of the pastor is to get you to work along side God in whatever it is that you do.  I think we get confused about hearing God and discerning his will because we limit our understanding of God’s desires.  Our actions indicate that the pinnacle of our week is Sunday Worship, that we are working for that day.  We act like we are doing God a favor by going to to church.  This is a lot like telling a friend that you are going to do him a favor by eating the food in his fridge.  You are helping him clean the fridge out and helping him not waste food.

The reality is that worship on Sunday’s is the beginning of the week and it here we remind ourselves that we want to be about the business of God because that is where life is.  Then both you and I go into the rest of the week and we work with God.  Ahh, but what work is that?  This is where we drop the ball.  Some o us wonder what God’s will is for every second of the day and we become immobilized.  Others of us just ignore it because we think it is impossible to hear God.  The big problem is that the best way to hear God is to work with him, but many are saying how can I work with him if I can’t hear him.

I have the solution.  Ok, I have a way to practice listening to God by what you are doing.  Can you tell the difference between good and bad?  Someone does something that really annoys you… got it in your head… now bad would be to say what you were really thinking out loud.  Good would be to say nothing…. well, that’s a start.  Really good would be when you started to think that thought, you pray for them, yourself and the situation (probably a prayer in your head, they may freak out if you put a hand on their shoulder and…) Another example are the potential acts of goodness all around and you know what they are.  It doesn’t have to have scripture attached to it to be holy.  These are starting places and as you do them, try to see Christ.  This combined with reading scripture and daily asking God to reveal himself to you will be fruitful in your walk with God.  You will begin to learn to hear him.  Then when you learn to hear him in the little things, discerning prayer for the big moves in your life will make more sense.

Later, I will share some of Dallas Willard’s thoughts on some of the mistakes we make in listening to God, but in the mean time, seek him out in scripture, community, and learning how to see with the eyes of Christ.

Last Sunday’s Music and Video Clips

  1. Awesome Is The Lord Most High
  2. Jesus Messiah
  3. Revelation Song
  4. I Will Rise

Mother’s Day clips

  1. I’m Sorry Mom
  2. You’re the Reason

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Sermon Recording: Relating To God

Ok, so I changed my mind on what I was preaching about this past Sunday.  As I was working on the sermon I realized that I needed to say something else before I could say what I was going to say… “say what?”  Well, I’m just saying.  So what did I say?  If you weren’t there I invite you to take a listen to the sermon link highlighted above.  If you were there, here are some of the highlights.

We say we want to hear from God, but I wonder if we really understand what we are asking.  Have you ever had someone ask you a question and as you start to answer they tune you out.  They don’t really want the answer, they want appeasement, justification, anything but to hear the truth of the matter or to enter into any kind of dialogue.  Perhaps my question itself reveals some of the problem of our “hearing” from God too.  You may notice that the question implies that we only want to hear from God because we are seeking an answer.  Is that the case with most of your dialoguing with God?  What is it we are looking for?  Why do you want to hear from God?  Why do God’s words matter to you?

I think the heart of the matter boils down to the word relationship.  How we communicate with one another has a lot to do with the kind of relationship we have with one another.  I have met people in my life who have only wanted to know me for what I could offer and not for the person I am.  I have also met people that I only wanted to know them for what they had to offer.  We have all done this.  It is not always wrong nor is it always right.  The point is that essentially those relationships are boiled down to commerce.  Think of a vending machine and the relationship you have with it.  If it has what you want, you like it.  If it does not, it means nothing to you or frustrates you.  If it takes your money and gives you something in return, best of buds.  If it keeps returning only your old wrinkly dollar, it is a dumb machine that deserves a good kicking.  How often do we turn our relationship with God into this very kind?

Think for a moment about a good relationship.  Hardly anyone gets involved with someone with the hope that they will only do what I want to do or vice versa.  Never once have I entered into a relationship where I was hoping that I lost all sense of identity.  Boy, wouldn’t it be great if I never had to think for myself again!  If we do not want that kind of relationship with people, why do we think that it is that way with God?

We can admit that we want to hear from God, but so few of us are ready to be in the kind of relationship where we can respect the God we desire to hear from.  We have established in the past that God does desire to speak with us, but we must be in a position where we know his voice.  1 John 4 says that we are to love one another as God loves us, that we are to abide with God.  In other words we are called to make our home with God and he with us.  For us to hear God well we must be in intimate relationship with him.

When I first came to the church I am now serving, I would joke with some of the people on our worship team telling them to never try to guess what I am thinking.  Mainly because they did not know me that well and I do not think like most people think. (I am non linear).  My wife, on the other hand, knows me well and I am amazed at how well she “gets” me.  It is because we are in a healthy relationship with one another.  How can we hear God if we are not in a healthy relationship with God?

I go into further detail in the sermon, but I would leave you with this; what are the ways you foster a healthy relationship with God?  Feel free to share some of those ways as well.

Music for this Past week:  We went a little retro.

  1. Not To Us
  2. Did You Fell the Mountains Tremble
  3. I Bow Down
  4. Here Is Love

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  • Season: Eastertide
  • Series:  Hearing God
  • Sermon: A Principle of Love
  • Scripture: John 15:14-19
  • Songs:

9:30AM Service

  1. How Can I Keep From Singing
  2. Almighty God
  3. Joyous Light
  4. Lead On O King Eternal

We began a new sermon series this past week called, “Hearing God”.  I imagine most of us in our life have been at a point where we fell like no one is listening to us, like we are talking to a brick wall.  Perhaps you remember my illustration of throwing a ball to no one, essentially playing catch by ourselves.  Our prayer life can feel like this.  It is amazing how many people pray but how few of those people ever expect a response.  What is even more amazing is that we are created to hear God and it is his desire that we do.

I remember sitting in the parking lot of a used CD store in Nashville, TN (a place I spent a lot of time… the store, not the parking lot) called the “Great Escape”.  A friend of mine and I were having this discussion and I told her that the Bible was a story about man in search of God.  She said no, “it is about God in search of man”.  That struck me deeply.  She was absolutely right.  The story of our existence is about relationship with God and his continual outreach toward us.  We spend a lot of effort learning how to speak to God but we spend little time learning how to hear from God.  A major reason is that many of us don’t think God would speak to “little o’ me”.  We don’t expect him to throw the ball back.

We are however, created for relationship.  It is a fabric of our being that we are able to hear God in different ways.  Genesis tells of God speaking into existence and creation responding.  Not until the darkness hears God’s voice, does it begin to know light, form, and life.  So to is our life.  Only in believing that God speaks and learning to listen can we begin to discover that abundant life Jesus talked about.  Over the next few weeks we will begin to explore how we can orient our lives into a better position to hear God speak.

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Easter Sunday March 28, 2010

  • Season: Easter
  • Sermon: The Only Hope
  • Scripture: Luke  24: 1-10
  • Songs:

9:30AM Service

  1. How Can I Keep From Singing
  2. Christ The Lord is Risen Today
  3. Everlasting God
  4. offertory:  It’s Your Love
  5. Communion: I Will Rise
  6. How Great Thou Art

11:00 AM Service

  1. Christ The Lord is Risen Today
  2. He Lives
  3. How Great Thou Art

What an Easter Sunday.  3 services, standing room only in the second service, men wearing pastel, women wearing hats, 3 baptisms and 6 confirmands, lots of music and Sydney dancing by the cross.  That is how we are called to break a fast; celebrating life.  My expectations were exceeded on Sunday.  I don’t mean the number of people.  I mean the worship of people.  There was simply a great community of worshipers on Sunday.  Some people didn’t even realize they were worshipping.  Joy filled the room.  I honestly had a hard time communicating what I wanted to say on Sunday and part of that is because it was already in the room, the other part is that because at the time I tried to cut my sermon in half on the fly.  I bring that up, not as an excuse, but so you understand what I am about to say.  Sometimes the words the preacher says are superfluous to the action that is going on.  We need celebration.  It is very easy to get caught up in the fears of this world and think that God only has something for us one day, but the fact is he has something for us today.  I am not in the one day, I am in the now and the good news is that God is in the now too.  We keep looking for the solution, the escape, the hope for our problems at home and around the world and Easter shows us the answer.  The answer is found on the blood of the cross and the empty tomb.

Why do we look for the living among the dead?  The point is that there is no longer the dead, but the living.  It is like this, we are told in scripture that God will turn our mourning into dancing.  This does not mean that we do not mourn.  Of course we will mourn.  It is sad to be separated from loved ones.  It is heartbreaking to see tragedy on the global scale as we have seen it over and over these many years.  But we do not mourn as if God is dead.  We do not mourn as those without hope.  We mourn with hope, expectation, and empowerment.  Why?  Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  This wasn’t the end, it was the beginning.  Jesus rose on the first day of the week.  The first day of the new creation.  This means we stand with Christ in his resurrection knowing that death and pain declare nothing obsolete, but the living presence of God declares that He will make all things new.  The question that should be before our eyes is if we are ready to view the world with the eyes of Christ.  No to view the world as something crippled by it’s own sin and decay, not as something to be feared, but as something to be liberated with the love and power of our Almighty God.  If you believe that God is raised from the dead, then yes our mourning can turn to dancing.   We dance the story of Christ to our neighbors, to our friends, to our co-workers, strangers and enemies.  We dance the passion and love of God through each movement of our chest as we breathe in and out the life of the Almighty.

Leave it to my daughter to steal the show and deliver the best sermon anyone could possibly see.  First she sees me singing while we are taking communion.  She shouts ‘Daddy!’  That should be our response to communion, to look with delight upon our heavenly Father and shout Daddy, as if to say “there you are, I delight in you as you delight in me”.  Sydney’s next point was to break free from her mommy while we sang How Great Thou Art and run up on the stage.  She danced around the communion table and then around the empty cross.  New life, full of energy and joy dancing in front of a symbol that was once meant for shame and death.  Take that Satan.  Take that death.  How Great God is indeed!  That is where we belong, dancing at the foot of an empty cross and an empty grave.  You see?  He turns our mourning into dancing.  That is the Easter Story.  Live it.

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