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!

Jun 01

How Can I Know There Is a God? … June 4th

There is a question that has been asked for generations, from young and old, ‘How do you know? You say this is the way it goes, but howquestion mark do you know?’ Some will tell you that the answer to the question is this…but how do they know? Even the jury needs to know for sure before coming down with a verdict. As a Christian, you have been told that there is a God. Still some may ask, “How do you know?”

The Christian stands tall on faith that what the Bible says is true. God is alive and Jesus loves me because…‘the Bible tells me so!’ But is there anything concrete I can share with my unbelieving friends? Can I give them something outside of God’s inspired word that confirms my belief that God is real? This coming Sunday morning at Faith Village church of Christ in Wichita Falls, come join us as we look at the question… “How Can I Know There Is a God?”

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

Sunday morning, June 4, 2017

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

“All the Way My Savior Leads Me” – no book

Where are you going in life? Is there an ‘end game’ to your daily activities? As God’s children we know that He directs our path (Proverbs 3:6) and we follow Him by faith. Thus we sing, “All the way my Savior leads me, O the fullness of His love. Perfect rest to me is promised in my Father’s house above.” Maybe we should all ask ourselves, who is leading me and were exactly am I going?

following Christ“Step By Step” – 15

Following our opening song, “Jesus lead me all the way,” we reaffirm that we will follow Him, step by step. But not just follow Him. We will seek Him in the morning and we will learn to walk in His ways…all the way He leads us.

“Redeemed” – 458

When you know that there is a God and you are His child, it’s easy, and sweet, to sing this next song. “I’m redeemed! By love divine, Glory, glory, Christ is mine, Christ is mine.” When we believe, obey and follow God we will have a ‘sweet song’ (verse 1) and experience great joy (verse 2)!

“O Listen to the Wondrous Story” – 496

Though perhaps not known as a ‘song before the Lord’s supper,’ the chorus supports our claim that we can have assurance and know there is a God. With a short Q&A, we ask, “Who saved us from eternal loss?” Answer, “Who (else) but God’s Son upon the cross?” Question, “Why, what did He do?” Answer, “He died for you!” Question, “Where is He now?” Answer, this is good… “Believe it thou (you), in heaven interceding!” (Read Romans 8:34, “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”)

“I Believe in the One They Call Jesus” – 356

How can we say we know for sure that God is real? Perhaps we follow the words from Romans 4:18 as Abraham’s faith was being discussed, “In hope against hope he believed…” That’s why, within this one song, we sing the word ‘believe’ eight times, in verse one alone. And before it’s all said and done, we’ll sing that we believe in Jesus, in His power, His authority, His life and His death a total of 22 times. So then you must decide if you’ll sing the last line of the chorus, “And I believe that He’s the answer for me.”

“Our God, He Is Alive” – 23

Written less than 50 years ago, this spiritual song has become one of the most popular hymns within churches of Christ. And perhaps there is no song more fitting as we consider our lesson today than the song with this title, Our God, He Is Alive! But look closely at verse three. Often skipped over and misunderstood by many, this verse reminds us that God is not only in control, He is in charge. He holds in His hand the secret of life, and though men may search for the answer, they will never find it. Why, because only God understands!

“I Know Whom I Have Believed” – 524

We have lots of questions in life. Even with this invitation song we find 5 questions we might ask. From God’s grace and His love, how the Holy Spirit ‘moves,’ what my future holds and when Christ will return. But even with these ‘queries,’ we sing with confidence…“I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him (my life in Christ) against that day.” (See II Timothy 1:12, “…for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him UNTIL that day.”…I believe that!)

“Blue Skies and Rainbows” – no book

Some say this is a campfire song…maybe, but notice the last two verses and how they support our message today. “Green grass and flowers all blooming in spring time…are works of the Master I live for each day…” and, “Tall mountains, green valleys, the beauty that surrounds me, all of this makes me aware of the One who made it all.” Look around you and you’ll see God’s hand. Then you’ll sing, “I know that Jesus is well and alive today!”

May 25

FOCUS!

Do you have trouble focusing? By definition, focus is more than just seeing something clearly. It can also mean, getting your mind wrapped around what needs to be done. And if we’re honest, that can sometimes be a difficult task.

Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard for me to focus. But the truth is, circumstances affect my thoughts. The ‘obstacles’ that affect my focus may be external or they may be internal. Externally, we might lose our focus when a truck (or even a bird) is heard outside the window, or cookiesthe wafting smell of fresh, homemade cookies baking in the kitchen. Even the shadow of a dark cloud covering over the sun can cause my focus to turn toward the skies. Perhaps ‘focus’ is a fragile thing to be swayed by such small factors. Unfortunately our focus is so splinted in life, that we find ourselves focused on so many things that we miss what’s most important. Work, sports, entertainment, even ‘self’ seems to be our focus today. Take a look at your iPhone, how many ‘selfies’ do you have in your photos? You see, we are good at focusing on our self and too often miss the ‘big picture’ (no pun intended.) And since focusing is a Biblical idea, let me ask you to ‘focus’ on and consider the Hebrew writer’s admonitions…

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

We must determine that our focus in life will be on Jesus Christ, the ‘Author and Perfecter’ of our fix your eyesfaith. And we must be willing to FIX our focus on Him! When we do that, all the other worldly sensations will cease to ‘allure me’ or compete for my attention. The sounds outside the window, the aromas that entice and the sights that distract can be more easily ignored. Ken Young penned a song (psalm) that takes these words, almost verbatim, and gives us an idea of how we keep our focus on Him.

“Surrounded by those who have traveled this road, we throw off the heavy and hindering load. The sin that entangles (distracts us), we lay it aside and run with our EYES ON THE ONE CRUCIFIED.” Consider Him, who endured such opposition from sinful men. Consider Him, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

There are those who believe the person who is ‘unfocused’ needs to be medicated. Of course they do…have you not read Luke 5:27-32, Jesus IS the great physician. But seriously, the only medication you need if you’re having trouble focusing, is to fix your eyes on Christ. Not the world, not the ‘ladder of success,’ and certainly not your own accomplishments. Throw off the entanglements of the world, and run towards the Savior with your eyes ‘focused’ on Him! We know that in life, you have to run with your ‘eyes on the prize,’ but too often our eyes are on the wrong prize. So what will be your focus…the world or the Christ.

May 11

What’s in YOUR Heart?

This article, in part, is borrowed from an anonymous source.

guard your heartProverbs 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Now compare this to the words of our Lord and Savior in Luke chapter 6, verse 45;  “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good…”

Consider the following:

If your heart is filled with love, joy, peace,patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Sound familiar? See Galatians 5:22 & 23), then your actions will prove it. People will say of such a person that they are ‘beautiful on the inside.’ This kind of ‘beauty’ becomes visible on your countenance. (In other words, “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.”)

Remember what Christ said in Luke chapter 6, verse 45;  “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good…” Now take a look at the rest of His sentence; “…and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

Therefore the opposite must be true. If your heart is filled with jealousy, Happy-Grumpyunhappiness, greed, hatred and anger, it will be heard in your voice (language), seen in your actions and ultimately expressed on your face. Even Disney knew how to show us the difference  between ‘Happy’ and ‘Grumpy.’ The actions of the grouch (in December, the Grinch) will lead toward him to becoming a most unlikable person. (Side note: both Grumpy and the Grinch changed their hearts!)

Therefore…guard your heart! Focus on the things in life that are pure and good. Paul gives us a very clear picture of how we should be thinking as he wrote Philippians 4:8, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely (lovable or gracious), whatever is of good repute (reputation), if there be any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell (think) on these things.”

My encouragement to you, make every effort in your day to see the good things in life. And if you’re battling to do that, “Ask the Savior to help you, comfort strengthen and keep you. He is willing to aid you. He will carry you through.” (Yield Not to Temptation; Horatio Palmer, 1868)

Apr 28

Salvation Belongs Our God

One of my favorite things about psalms, hymns and spiritual songs is finding scripture woven within the songs we sing. The 23rd Psalm, “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” Lamentations 3, “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” as well Psalm 121, “Unto the Hills” are songs we sing that quote almost verbatim the text. Recently I have been introduced to several ‘newer’ songs that come straight from God’s word, revelation 7but for the next few minutes consider the words of John as he records a vision from Revelation chapter 7.

The vision John wrote about in Revelation chapter 7 is a look into the throne room of God. How did the saints who stood before God’s throne react to being in the presence of the Almighty? Read what he saw, then listen to the song. “…I looked and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (NAS)

The second verse doesn’t come from the book of Revelation, it comes from the redeemed as we continue to sing. “And we the redeemed shall be strong in purpose and in unity, declaring aloud… PRAISE AND GLORY, WISDOM AND THANKS, HONOR AND POWER AND STRENGTH belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

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