Oct 17

True Love…Is It Real? Part 2

“The Love of my Life”

That is something that someone would say to express ‘true love.’ Someone you honor and respect receives this title. And if we are the ones that God has chosen as His people, and considering all that He has done for us, we must acknowledge that He is the love of our life. And in return, all that he asks from us is, respect, admiration, gratitude, and submission.

But that’s where the devil makes that hard. He knows our weaknesses and he knows how to manipulate us dragging us further from our heavenly Father. Farther away from the one who is our ‘True Love’.

We read that our God is the epitome of love and that He is faithful love! In Psalm 57:10 and 86:15, we read of the depth and abounding nature of His love. The love that God has demonstrated toward us, along with his compassion and consistent care, its one that we are not physically and humanly capable of possessing or, to be honest, understanding. Having the love of Christ is difficult, and having a faithful, enduring love and striving to remain faithful and true to our ‘True Love’, can be hard in this world in which we live in. However, when we think on a much broader scope, was it ever easy for anyone? Regardless of the time period, regardless of the living conditions, regardless of state of the world?

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church  (1 Corinthians 7), he addresses the struggle that they are having with sexual immorality. He addresses both those who are single and struggling with that sexual desire, as well as those who are single and not tempted in that way. To those who are struggling,  he encourages them to go ahead and marry. Sexual sin is not a ‘new thing’ that has recently been ‘discovered’. Christians then and now struggle with it. Sin has been in this world since Genesis 3. Temptation is ever present, and God’s word even tells us that, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (I Corinthians 10:13)

It is hard to not to be distracted by the things of this world that are constantly put in front of us. However, the blessings and love of God are present here as well. Take a minute and turn your gaze up from the ground and SEE it. It’s there, we (sadly) make the choice to not enjoy and reflect on it.

Every day, we make choices. Some of them, will bring us closer to Christ, and some will take us further away from Him. We always have a choice. One choice could make us stronger, more resilient and draw us closer to the safety and unconditional love of God. The other will keep us stagnant and pull us closer to the place void of His presence. We read of it in scripture, but see a more vividly painted picture in the book of Revelation (read about the ‘lake of fire’ in Rev. 20:14-15).

Everything we do, is driven by something. Passion, desire, and a will to have something that we don’t necessary need. A want for something or a love for someone that doesn’t draw us closer to God. It reminds me of the song “The Greatest Commands” and the soprano’s words as they quote Luke chapter 10, …love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind… God IS love and He is the epitome of what ‘True Love’ is. But do we treasure our ‘True Love?’ Do we take Him and what He’s done for us for granted? Will we love Him with all our heart, soul, strength and mind?


I love my family — my parents and my brothers. I love my boyfriend, my friends and all of my brothers and sisters that I am so blessed to have in Christ. And I love those who are not yet in Christ’s family. However, and I believe this with all my heart, God is the reason I love all of these people. Why? The answer is simple. “Because He first loved me…” Psalm 139:13 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Sep 19

True Love…Is it Real? Part 1

“Wuv…Twu wuv will fowow you foweva…so tweasure your wuv.”
I’m probably one of the few people who does not particularly believe in the idea of ‘love at first sight’, but I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for those Hallmark movies that make it seem so realistic and possible to achieve. For the longest time, I had in my mind that somehow, someway, I would fall in love in one of the ways that I had seen on so many Hallmark movies. Eventually, that idea fizzled out and I began to give up on the idea of ‘Love at first sight’ and even on the idea of ‘True Love’. The result of that caused me to turn my focus not just to my school work at the time, but my responsibilities as one of the spiritual leaders for the Freed-Hardeman University Chorale. I began immersing myself into more in depth bible study and, at times, conversations with various people inside and outside of that group, of whom, I consider to be some of my closest friends and spiritual family. I began to realize that the more I immersed myself into studying the Bible, the less I felt the need to be receiving love, as much as I had the desire to show the love that I had gained in my heart for others. As soon as that happened I found within my heart a desire to really show others just a sampling of what the ‘True Love’ of God looked like. I started feeling more fulfilled and happier with my life than I can ever remember feeling and before I could blink twice, God sent me a blessing that, for the past 8-9 years, I can remember praying for. I would not say that my boyfriend and I are a perfect God is Lovematch by any means, but as he so eloquently put it just recently, “We may not be a match made in heaven, but we’re a match made FOR heaven!” God’s love for us is more than just ‘True Love’, its Everlasting Love.

God’s love is a never ending love that, if we give it the opportunity, will prove just that. His love is shown to us in many ways, each and every day. His love is letting us make mistakes. His love is granting us the things we ask for. His love is sometimes letting us reap the consequences of our decisions. As odd as it may seem to us, and to others who are learning about Christ, the ultimate showing of God’s love is shown to us is in scripture by letting His Son, Jesus Christ, die for us (Matthew 26-27; Mark 15; Luke 22-23; and John 18-19). Nothing and no one would ever be able to match that kind of love. Giving up your most precious possession. The thing that you hold the most dear. Letting that go, facing the world, enduring all kinds of ridicule and frustration, all because of that thing you cherished so much.
If you were not able to interpret the quote at the beginning of this, that was a quote from the movie The Princess Bride, during the wedding scene near the end. In “English” it translates, “Love, true love, will follow you forever…so treasure your love.” Yes, we will have things that we ‘love’ or really care for as we go throughout the years of our lives, but that is dangerous ground if we do not realize that the love we should really be concerned about and focused on is our True Love, Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Sep 16

STEPS: Believe

Probably the most striking statement of belief that we read in God’s word comes from the gospel of Mark. While Christ is talking to a man whose son has been demon-possessed from childhood, the man says, “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (Mark 9:20-24) Christ tells him all things are possible to the one who believes. Then, as if speaking across the generations, the man replies, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

As followers of Christ, we understand and follow the steps of salvation; we hear, we believe, we repeat, we confess, and we are baptized. And still, under Satan’s attack and the turmoil of life, we find these same words flowing from our hearts; “Help my unbelief!” This Sunday (September 17th) we’ll be looking closing at that second step of salvation and how examine just how deeply do we believe. Take the next step on Sunday morning and join those of us who…’Believe.’

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, September 17, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“I Know Whom I Have Believed” – 524

There are a lot of things we don’t know. How long has this world been spinning, how did God create this world, why would God send His Son to redeem mankind? Lots of unknown questions, but as this song affirms, “I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED!” Even with so many unanswered questions, when it comes to our relationship with our Creator and His Son…we believe.

“Tis the Blessed Hour of Prayer” – 849

When we bow our heads (bend our hearts) and pray to our Father it is a blessed hour. And we pray because we believe He hears.” The last verse of this song is a great statement of faith, “At the blessed hour of prayer, trusting Him we believe that the blessing we’re needing we will surely receive…”

“Trust and Obey” – 915

Typically an ‘invitation song’, this spiritual song takes our trust (our belief) and reminds us to walk with the Lord. Just remember, He will abide with us as we do His good will. The question that must be answered is do you, will you, trust and obey?

“We Saw Thee Not” – 342

As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper, this hymn reminds us that even though we didn’t witness His birth, or see His vicious death on the cross or the empty tomb after His resurrection, we believe! By faith…we believe.

“Bethlehem…Galilee…Gethsemane” – 357

Christ was born in Bethlehem. Christ lived and walked alone the shores of Galilee. And Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane hours before his death. As referenced in the earlier song, we weren’t there, but we believe. It is for this reason we are propelled to take each step toward salvation.

“Ancient Words” – no book

“Ancient Words, ever true…changing you and changing me.” But is our heart changed when we hear and read God’s Word, or are we just ‘going through the motions?’ We WILL be changed when we fully believe and act on that belief that those ‘ancient words’…those ‘holy words’ are ever true!

“Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” – 679

Though typically not an invitation song we’ll begin this song with the chorus; “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!” To ‘prove’ something means that you will ‘establish it as truth.’ Do you believe to the point that over and over again you establish Jesus Christ as TRUTH? Remember what He said in John chapter 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

“I Believe in Jesus” – 356

We’ve talked about how we take the next step to believe in the message of salvation. Now, don’t just say or sing it, but live and practice it. Take that step as we close and affirm, “Yes, I believe in the One they called Jesus…and I believe that He’s the answer for me.”

Aug 29

“…In the Light of His Word.”

How often do we focus on the unbearable heat of the sun (that we dread encountering… especially in the summer time) as opposed to its soft, soothing warmth? As I was driving to class one morning, I got a bit of a chill and then happened to drive past a portion of sunshine that had broken through the trees and immediately I felt its warmth. This feeling, which to me is an indescribable feeling, brings a sense of comfort and ease, and in that moment, I felt peaceful. If you take a moment to think about it, are you at peace? Are you focused on what is happening within the ‘darkness’ of our current events, or are you focused on a more positive ‘light’? Just by watching and observing the people around me and even tuning into the focusnews for 5 minutes, I can tell that our focus has been diverted. Our comfort, has been ‘disrupted’. I would also go so far as to say, that our way or pattern of how we do things has been absolutely shredded to pieces. All because our main goal has been lost (in the eyes of the Almighty God) in the minutest and most miniscule of things. Feelings have been hurt and many are taking those actions performed by others, personally. How long has it been since you felt at peace? Peace, comfort, and ease are things that are very much lacking within our country right now.

So, I’ll ask this. Where is YOUR focus? Has it been diverted, upon hearing all about the lack of trust and ease within the government and among people around you? As unsettling as it is, do not let the overwhelmingly (and at times unbearable) place that we often find ourselves in, affect how we trust God. Will you focus on the dreaded and unbearable ‘heat’ that is being demonstrated so prevalently today, or will you be the gentle and soothing ‘warmth’ (example) of the trust and peace we can find in God? Re-direct your focus to God and you’ll find it is muchIMG_2363 easier to walk, “in the light of His word…”. You are the light of the world.” Matt. 5:14

“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word; what a glory He sheds on our way. While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.”

A big thank you to my dad, Myron Bruce, for giving me the opportunity to write for his website!

Aug 18

9-1-1 or 4-1-1?

Almost 35 years ago, a comedy hit the silver screen with the tag line, “Who ghostbustersya gonna call?” Most know the response as the title of the movie…”Ghostbusters!” If you have ghosts, call for help. But away from Hollywood, some 25 years earlier, the ‘Universal Emergency Number’ was established. You know that number as 9-1-1. A home invasion, a car accident, an injury or a threat on your life, any type of emergency would justify a call to 9-1-1. But when was the last time you picked up the phone and dialed 4-1-1? Do you know what you’d hear if you pushed those three numbers? This short, three digit number was established as directory assistance.

Whether you have ‘ghost,’ real-time emergencies or just need help finding some one’s number, we have an answer for that. But how often do we ignore the one who has all the answers and can assist us in any emergency. Do we take time to “call” the one who knows our needs even before we do? When life hits you with emergencies, and when you need ‘assistance,’ Who ya gonna call?’ Join us on Sunday morning as we ‘pick up the phone’ and make a call…though it might not be to 9-1-1 or 4-1-1.

 

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, August 20, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“Come Thou Almighty King” – 19

One of my favorite ‘Call to Worship’ songs is this plea we offer for God to come; help us, reign over us, bless us and descend upon us. Before we sing this last verse, notice what we’re saying…our highest praise we offer is to God, not just now, but forever (“Hence ever more…”). And as this verse concludes we ask one more request, “may we see His majesty in glory (heaven), and love Him and adore Him throughout all eternity.” You know…we’re opening our song service with a prayer.

“I Will Pray” – 840

When do you pray; at supper, in the morning, before you go to bed? Though we don’t sing this one very often, it is all encompassing hymn we sing to our Father. “Father, in the morning, at the noon and in the evening…I will pray!” Interestingly, the last verse proclaims we the idea that will pray from the beginning (birth) to the end (death).

“My Eyes Are Dry” – 792

What does it mean to have ‘dry eyes?’ We’re not singing about a medical condition, unless you talk about a hard heart. “My eyes are dry, my faith is old, my heart is hard, my prayers are cold…” Those are symptoms of a life that has forgotten who God is. But we sing this as a reminder that we don’t have to live with ‘dry eyes.’

“When My Loves for Christ Grows Weak” – 350

Follow the progression through this song. We’ve discussed it before (DATE), but let’s review. When my love for Christ is suffer, remember the garden where Christ prayed before His arrest. And as you recall that night, figuratively, ‘walk amid the shades’ and you’ll see that ‘suffering, friendless One weeping (Hebrews 5:7) and praying alone.’ But, when you ‘see’ a man distraught, but it doesn’t faze you (“When my love for man grows weak…”), then go to the cross, the Hill of Calvary. There, you will see the agony of the cross and the faith and love of Christ.

“Before the Throne of God” – No Book

During the passing of the collection plate, we’ll come “Before the Throne of God above…” We’ll sing it, but we’ll also talk about during this morning lesson’s. I wonder, would this song be a 9-1-1 or a 4-1-1?

“I Will Call Upon the Lord” – 63911

For the song before the lesson (9-1-1…), it’s fitting that we ‘call’ upon the Lord. Why? Because, “He is worthy to be praised…” Psalm 18:3

“Lord We Come Before Thee Now” – 797

Though not a typical ‘invitation song,’ we’ll follow the message of this morning as we sing/pray, “Lord, we come before Thee now…” We’ll sing verse 1, 3 & 4, but let’s save the second verse as the closing. Notice the wording, “Lord, on Thee our souls depend: in compassion now descend; fill our hearts with Thy rich grace and tune our lips to sing Thy praise.”

“Be With US, Lord” – 778

As we close this morning, we’ll sing a familiar ‘closing song’ but with a twist. Rather than singing in the singular (Be with ME, Lord) we’ll sing it in the plural. “Be with us, Lord we can not live without Thee, we dare not try to take one step alone. We can not bear the loads of life unaided. We need Thy strength to lead ourselves upon.”

Aug 04

A or B: Finding & Following God’s Will…Aug. 2nd

One of my favorite passages is found in Romans chapter 10 as Paul admonishes the church in Rome with a reminder from the book of Joel, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered…”  Paul wrote in verses 14 & 15…How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will a or bthey believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’ ”  Did you notice the progression; to be delivered (saved), one must believe. In order to believe, you must hear. To hear, you need someone to preach and the ‘preacher’ must be ‘sent.’

For this Sunday’s sermon we know in order to find and follow God, you have to hear the message of salvation. But once you hear it…you have the choice to follow His lead or not? Our songs this coming Sunday will call us to follow. It’s as easy as selecting A or B…once you find God, will you follow Him?

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.”  I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, August 2, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“He Leadeth Me” {to the tune of “Our God, He is Alive”} – N/B

Letting go is difficult. We often want to hold on to what we see and can feel and that gives us a sense of control. Savior lead meYou’ve heard, “Let go and Let God,” but is much easier said than done. And as this song says, He leads us. He will lead us, and we must follow. The Lord is always there, standing at the ready, to guide our thoughts, our steps, our decisions and ultimately our actions…if only we let Him.

“Savior, Lead Me” – 409

When we ask God to lead us, is our intention is to be led down a desired path. But is that path His will, or our desires? Asking for His guidance should truly be a humbling experience that requires a genuine and contrite heart. He’ll lead us where He wants us to go, gently and safely at His side and when the storms come, we’ll feel safe and secure knowing that we are being steadied by the guiding love of our Savior.

“Follow Me” – 395

This world presents many ‘lonely roads.’ We complain and get frustrated at times, but in this song, we’re reminded that Christ, with all His suffering simply calls us to, “go and make disciples…” We’ll sing, in essence, the message He gave to Peter and Andrew (Matt. 4:18-19), “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Following Him down that ‘lonely road’ can be a daunting request. But He wouldn’t ask of us something He didn’t already do. (Thanks, Trey Morgan, for that illustration Wednesday evening.)

“Lead Me to Calvary” – 332

With so many things in our lives demanding our attention, we absentmindedly make the world a priority. It’s a sad thing to think that we so often allow the world to get in the way of focusing on Jesus Christ. Keep Him at the forefront of every thought…every minute of every hour of every day. The devil wants and tries to be ‘king of your life,’ don’t ‘accidentally’ let that happen.

“Jesus, Let Us Come to Know You” – 768

The simple idea of being able to make a petition to God, is altogether astounding and humbling. The thought of being able to see God face to face, the fact that He allows us an avenue of communication to Him, is something we take for granted. And the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Chris, should bring us to our knees. Consider this petition as we sing, “Jesus, let us come to know You, let us see You face to face…” A request that we all long for is perfectly stated in the end of this spiritual song, “Only let us, live in you.”

“Who Will Follow Jesus?” – N/B

A simple and yet to the point question, “who will follow Jesus?” Christ asks for our dedication to follow Him and to serve Him unfailingly. So what’s your answer…A or B? It takes more than just saying, “Yes, I will!” It takes follow through. With a decision to follow either path, we must realize that there WILL be eternal consequences, regardless which path we choose. So will you say, “I am on the Lord’s side.” and be ready to follow Isaiah’s lead as he said, “Here am I, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)

“Where He Leads Me I Will Follow” – 876

Blindly leading someone is dangerous, so why would you follow someone to a place unknown? In following Christ, you’re not blindly wandering. You know where you are going, it’s just a matter of following where He leads. He has set out the path to follow, and though it may lead you to some unfamiliar and uncomfortable places, the comforting thing is knowing you are not walking it alone.

“Where He Leads I’ll Follow” – 417

“Sweet are the promises, kind is the word…Pure was the mind of Christ, He is the great example…” He is who we are called to follow. I will follow where He leads, because He will not falter, He will not lead me astray, and He will fulfill all of His promises. “Where He leads…I will follow.” Will you?

Jul 28

If a Loss of Altitude Occurs…July 30th

“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure…” do you know what will happen, do you know what tooxygen mask do? With the loss of cabin pressure, there is a loss of oxygen. With the loss of oxygen, comes a loss of consciousness. And while unconscious, with little or no oxygen, suffocation is the result. If you have ever been in a plane that begins to lose altitude, you know the reason for the drill. Secure the oxygen mask on yourself, then help your child or the one who needs your assistance. Why take care of yourself first? Doesn’t that sound a little self-serving? Shouldn’t you help the weak and helpless first?

The practice is obvious when you consider the consequences. If you don’t prepare yourself for the loss of oxygen (difficult times), you’ll never be able to assist those who are ‘suffocating’ and dying? Putting on your oxygen mask first is making sure you are able to help those who need your assistance. In essence, be prepared! Join us on Sunday morning (July 30th) at the Faith Village church of Christ in Wichita Falls as we learn what to do… “When a Loss of Altitude Occurs.”

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, July 30, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“Praise Him! Praise Him!” – 300

Opening our time together praising the Father is the best way to focus our hearts and minds this morning. “Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer…” Let’s strap on our oxygen masks and be ready to praise God and encourage one another.

“He Is My Everything” – no book

Immediately following our first song, we’ll segue into this spiritual song proclaiming, “He is my everything, He is my all...” Have you notice the verse… “Some folks may ask me, some folks may say, ‘Who is the Jesus you talk about oxygen mask2every day?’.” In other words, why are you so concerned about an oxygen mask?

“I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord” – 609

Sing with energy as together we make this strong proclamation; “I’m not ashamed to own my Lord, nor to defend His cause. Maintain the honors of His word, the glory of His cross…” If you fail, can not or will not proclaim your loyalty in this setting (surrounded by the family of God), I’m afraid you’ll be hard pressed to help someone with ‘their oxygen mask.’

“A Hill Called Mount Calvary” – 373

Hope this isn’t one that is too new for us (although it was written in the late 1960’s), but the message and connection it has for the Lord’s Supper is striking. Plus, you’ll see it has a strong tie with the song to follow…we’ll sing, “…And when time has surrendered and earth is no more, I’ll still cling to the old rugged cross.”

The Old Rugged Cross” – 313

Continue singing; “…So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, til my trophies at last I lay down.” The cross is a symbol of the death our Lord and Savior suffered for us. We don’t ‘worship’ the cross, but we do recognize what Paul encouraged the church in Philippi to remember, “…walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk…that are enemies of the cross of Christ.” Let’s not be enemies of the cross, but let us cherish ‘the old rugged cross’ of Christ.

“All to Us” – no book

No one can sing this song and miss the fact they have securely put on their own oxygen mask. “Precious Corner Stone, sure Foundation. You are faithful to the end. We are waiting on You, Jesus. We believe You’re All to us.” Notice that verse…we are waiting on Jesus. With a loss of spirituality in the world (cabin pressure), and with sin suffocating this world, we must secure our oxygen mask. Then, only then, will we be able to help the helpless and show them the Savior.

“Give Me the Bible” – 450

As we need oxygen, more importantly we need God’s word. Would that we understand the importance of this spiritual song and admonish one another to “hold up faith’s lamp to show my Savior near.” Are you able to answer this call for those who are needing help with their oxygen? When I ask, will you give me the Bible?

“Only a Step” – 940

Putting on your oxygen mask is not that difficult. It literally starts with one step. But we first need to listen and hear the call from our Savior. As we sing we remember His plea, “Come unto Me, I am the way…”

rescue the perishing“Rescue the Perishing” – 639

Perhaps this song fits the message from this morning more than we might realize. There are those who are perishing, suffocating for lack of oxygen. They need some help putting on their oxygen mask. IF you have your oxygen secure, you can care for the dying, and lift up the fallen. We must be ready (with our oxygen mask secure) to rescue the perishing…’in the event of the loss of cabin pressure.’

Jul 20

A Cry of Compassion…July 23rd

The sight of an animal being mistreated causes most of us to feel sorrow for the abused. But when you see a lost child waiting for someone to stop and help, it stirs Lost childthe heart to action. Perhaps one of the most valuable traits we can possess in this life is compassion. To be able to not only see when someone is hurting, but to act upon that need…that is compassion.

Our Savior’s compassion was demonstrated over and over again…“Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes…” (Matt. 20), “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him..” (Mark 1), “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her…” (Luke 7). No wonder Paul instructs the follower of Christ to “…put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12) But how far does that compassion care us? Is there a limit to our compassion. Join us on Sunday morning (July 23rd) as we turn our hearts and listen to “A Cry of Compassion.”

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, July 23, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah” – 3

Beginning the worship together with a song from the scripture is a great way to praise our God and focus on His word. You may want to read over the 148th Psalm…or just sing it while you turn in your Bibles. You’ll notice the chorus (Psalm 148:13) is sung last. It’s a great account from the text to the sheet music.

“Lord, We Come Before Thee Now” – 797

A song, a prayer, setting for us an example of how we should/could come before God’s throne. With a petition (suit) we ask for His mercy, compassion and guidance. Notice verse 2, “Lord, on Thee our souls depend; in compassion now descend; fill our hearts with Thy rich grace, (and) tune our lips to sing Thy praise.”

hear my prayer“Hear Me When I Call” – no book

“Hear me when I call, O God my Righteousness…” Again, a song from God’s word (Psalm 4) as we come bowing in prayer before the throne. This hymn/psalm is a call for God’s compassion, and a stirring line from the 1st and 4th verse never ceases to move me, “…hold my trembling hand, lest helpless I should fall.”

“O Sacred Head” – 318

Some will say this is a difficult song to sing as a congregation, and it does sound of Old English, with a composer from the 1700’s, but the message is unmistakable. Follow the 2nd verse, “What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend, for this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end.” Pity can mean ‘shame, or disappointment,’ but in the context of this hymn/spiritual song, pity means compassion. His compassion never ends. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper, and as we see His wounded, sacred head, remember His pity, His compassion, for us.

“If That Isn’t Love” – 379

“God demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8 “If that isn’t love…” than we have no idea of compassion. And so we’ll sing in verse 2, “Even in death He remembered the thief hanging by His side; He spoke with love and compassion, then He took him to Paradise.” Thanks be to God for that kind of compassion…may we live like Christ died!

“O To Be Like Thee” – 429

Brother T.O. Chisholm penned a hymn in the late 1800’s that we’ll sing this morning to encourage us and remind us of the compassion Christ had for His church. Notice verse two…“O to be like Thee, full of compassion; loving forgiving, tender and kind…” But that’s not all that goes into compassion, let’s keep singing. “…Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, seeking the wandering sinner to find.” Are we compassionate; are we helping those who can not help themselves? Do we encourage those who stumbling? Are we compassionate?

“Does Jesus Care” – 507

How do I know if Jesus cares about me? Is His compassion for everyone but me? If you are still wondering about that, you haven’t heard the message of His compassion. The soul needs only look to His cross to see HIS love and compassion. So what about you…Do you care, do you have a heart of compassion?

“Love Divine” – 140

This closing song seems to sum up our message from today, but look closely at the end of this verse, “Jesus, Thou art all compassion, pure unbounded love Thou art. Visit us with Thy salvation, enter every trembling heart.” Our Savior is all compassion, but will our hearts be ‘trembling’ enough to allow Him to enter in? Will we hear and be moved to action by “A Cry For Compassion?”

Jun 30

Dealing with Rejection…July 2nd

“To dismiss or refuse a proposal; to shun or cast out.” At one time or another each of has experienced REJECTION. Have you ever said, ‘That was a good idea, how could they just shoot it down?’ When you believe in a project, and have taken a strong stance, only to be soundly rejected…how do you handle it? To be honest, we all know that rejection hurts.Rejection

But when we consider the level of rejection the Messiah experienced, our ‘broken heart’ is minor at best. And He knew His disciples would be faced with times of rejection as well. Therefore He tried to prepare them (and us) for being told ‘NO…’ Read Mark chapter 6… “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you…shake the dust off the soles of your feet.” Join us on Sunday (July 2nd) as we consider the idea of ‘Dealing with Rejection.’

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.” I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, July 2, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“Holy, Holy, Holy” – 47

Beginning with the soprano voices and adding each subsequent part, we sing the words of Revelation 4; “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty (vs. 8)…all the saints adore Thee, casting down their golden crowns around the crystal sea (vs. 6)…Only Thou art holy! There is none beside Thee (vs. 2-9)…Who wast, and art, and ever more shall be!” (vs. 8)

“Create in Me a Clean Heart” – no book

Taken almost verbatim for Psalm 51, we’ll sing the words of King David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast (right) spirit within me. Do not cast me away (Cast me not away) from Your presence (O Lord). And (take not) do not take Your Holy Spirit from Me. Restore (un)to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit (renew a right spirit within me).”

“We Saw Thee Not” – 342

The next two songs will be in a medley using verse one from “We Saw Thee Not” followed immediately with verse 1 & 2 of “Ten-Thousand Angels.” Notice the connection… “We Saw Thee Not when Thou dids’t come to this poor world of sin and death; Nor yet beheld Thy cottage home in that despised Nazareth…But we believe Thy footsteps trod it’s streets and plains, Thou Son of God…” “They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where He prayed, they lead Him through the streets in shame. They spat upon the Savior, so pure and free from sin, they said ‘Crucify Him! He’s to blame.”

twelve legions of angels“Ten-Thousand Angels” – 349

As we continue this medley before the Lord’s Supper, the pattern will continue; back to verse 2 of our previous song, “We saw Thee not when lifted high…” transition to verse 3 & 4 of Ten-Thousand Angels; “When they nailed Him to the cross…” and “To the howling mob He yielded…” Be sure to focus on the words and the message these two spirit songs provide as you prepare for the partaking of the Lord’s Supper.

“We Saw Thee Not” – 342

Coming back to where we started before the Lord’s Supper, we’ll remember that even though we never gazed in the open tomb nor walked with those who saw Him “from the earth ascend…” we still believe in His death, burial and resurrection. We may not have seen, but we believe!

“Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” – 391

Not if, but when we face rejection that causes our hearts to melt, we look to our Savior for strength and leadership. He love us and He will lead us. He is the one who will defend us, receive us and free us! Perhaps we should be more earnest in our following of Him, and as we sing in the third verse…“Early let us turn to Thee.”

“Jesus Is Tenderly Calling” – 947

Being rejected can cause us to feel weary and entice us to sink into despair. But that’s not where we stay. We must never give up as that causes us to drift, “…farther and farther away.” So you have to ask yourself, when rejection comes and depression covers our hearts (dust covers our feet), will we sink away or shake the dust off and answer His call? He is calling today…what’s your answer?

“Hand in Hand with Jesus” – no book

A great message that focuses us through the days of rejection. Notice verse 2… “In my night of dark despair, Jesus heard and answered prayer. Now I’m walking free as air, hand in hand with Jesus.” But we must remember that we can only ‘handle the rejection’ when we stay close to Him overcomes. “Hand in hand we walk each day. Hand in hand alone the way. Walking thus we will not stray… hand in hand with Jesus.”

Jun 15

How Did We Get Here?…June 18th

Driving down the street with your mind on that meeting; your spouse’s doctor appointment and the ‘conversation’ you had with the kids earlier, did you notice the stop drivingsign? Of course I did, I stopped didn’t I…didn’t I? After leaving the house you drove those familiar streets to your next stop, but have you ever ask yourself, “What did I pass, how did I get here?”  

This Sunday morning we’re not talking about driving, but we are going to look at what we have done (what happened while I was raising my family) to get where we are today. And since its Father’s Day, we’ll look at a father whose son challenged him at every corner. With or without challenges, you have grown up in a family that brought you to this day, so maybe we should ask the question…“How Did We Get Here?”

“…I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.”  I Corinthians 14:15

Sunday morning, June 18, 2017

The following songs are found in the hymnal, Songs of Faith & Praise.

“Let Every Heart Rejoice and Sing” – 8

We’ll open our worship with a song encouraging ALL to rejoice and sing. “…Ye aged men and children bring to God your sacrifice…” Together we will lift up our hearts as a sacrifice of praise!

“Wonderful Words of Life” – 543

Dads (Grandads), as you raise your family insure that you are singing to your children about a God who created them and loves them? Sing so that your children would say, “Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life…” If you want your family to head toward heaven, point them toward God. You can do that by singing to them about the wonderful words of life.

“There is a Redeemer” – 287

The next two songs will usher us toward the Lord’s Supper. The prayer we’ll sing is simple, “Thank you, O my Father for giving us Your son.” Tell your children and your grandchildren about the gift God has given us through His Son! Without it, our families will be in distress wondering ‘how did we get here?’

“It Is Well with My Soul” – 490Old rugged cross

The second verse of this song before the Lord’s supper we’ll focus on a call to remember Christ sacrifice, “My sin! O the bless of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to HIS cross and I bear it no more…Praise the Lord!” Maybe this could be a song before the Lord’s Supper.

“Remind Me Dear Lord” – 606

“Nothing good have I done to deserve God’s own Son, I’m not worthy of the scars in His hands. Yet He chose the road to Calvary to die in my stead, why He loved me, I can’t understand.” Sometime we need the curtain of our memory rolled back so we can remember where we came from…we need that if we are ever going to know how we got where we are!

“Faith of Our Fathers” – 754

Before our lesson we’ll sing about the faith of our forefathers. We stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. If we fail to see what our fathers have done to bring us this far we miss the value of our legacy. Not to mention we’ll never know…you got it…how we got here!

“How Deep the Father’s Love” – no book

An invitation song that might not be ‘typical,’ but one that clearly reminds us (if we’re thinking about the words) that we were once a wretch, but now we are His treasure. That it was my voice that was heard among the scoffers and my sin that held Him to the cross. And perhaps most importantly, I have NO answer as to why I should gain from the reward of His death and resurrection. If we fail to examine this, our destination might not be the end result we all are hoping for. We might wonder not how did I get here…but why did I do that?

“Oh, To Be Like Thee” – 429

You want to have certainty of where you’re going? What to have confidence in knowing you’re directing your family toward heaven? Then consider this song, “Oh to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer! This is my constant LONGING AND PRAYER…” If our constant longing is to be with our God, and if we are leading our families in that direction, and if we obey God’s instructions to join Him in heaven…we’ll know how we got there!

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