At Christ Community, we have seen this pandemic period help us focus on the essentials: praying, preaching, praising. Each of these elements put our focus on God. Each gives us the opportunity to worship Him. Each are essential in the life of a believer.
It is easy to see the necessity of prayer and preaching, but, sometimes, it is easy to let our time of praise turn into a time of entertainment and slip into a consumer mentality.
Prayer gives us one-on-one time with the Most High where we have access to Him like a child in the lap of our Father. Preaching gives us the very words of God from His lips to our ears, every Truth profitable for our lives. And that time of corporate worship – all of our voices lifted together, some in sorrow and others in joy – connects us all by our shared belief in King Jesus. In those moments, all of the sorrows and trials in this world – that every, single one of us face – fade away because we are one voice crying out to the One and Only who can save and lift us up.
Sometimes praise is hard. Sometimes joy seems so distant. The psalmist echoes this sentiment:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God.”Psalm 42:5 & 11
Singing lifts us up. We sing because we have hope in God. We sing because we are in turmoil. Satan wants us to believe that we are so beaten, so defeated, that singing praises to God is a worthless gesture. When God’s people were in exile in Babylon, they were convinced of this to the point that they hung up their praise like we would a jacket.
“By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”Psalm 137:1-4
They allowed themselves to despise those songs of praise. They allowed something essential to be taken away from them. We must not!
Rather than hanging up our praise and allowing the shame, depression, and confusion to wash over us, drowning out our cries of praise and pleas for mercy from God, let us lift up our voices. Let us “hope in God”. Let us echo Psalm 42 and say that we “shall again praise Him, [our] salvation and [our] God”!
You see, the things that torment us or try to steal our joy are not more powerful than our great God – “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4)! Everything that we war against is under “subjection under [Jesus’s] feet” (1 Corinthians 15:27)! That’s good news!
And that is exactly what we are going to sing out tomorrow!
These verses were on my heart as the worship set came together this week:
Here are our songs:
- Praise Your Name – No matter what turmoil we came out of or what awaits us when we step back into the world, God is worthy of our praise. We can echo with Job that no matter the difficulty “blessed be the name of the Lord”! All of the things that hold us down or back must bow down to King Jesus – including ourselves!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: John 1:4-5, Psalm 34:4-5, Luke 1:79, Isaiah 9:2, John 8:12, Psalm 43, Psalm 23:4, Matthew 17:20, John 8:32, Psalm 119:50, Psalm 42:4-5, 1 John 1:5-10, Job 1:21-22, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, John 14:1-6, Psalm 42:11, Luke 3:21-24, Matthew 28:18, Psalm 110:1, 1 Corinthians 15:26-27, Hebrews 2:6-8, Psalm 119:37
- Great I Am – This song genuinely fills me with awe and fear of the Lord. The same God who is powerful enought to defeat anything that opposes Him – the same Lord who could level a mountain with a thought, is gentle and personal to His children. Everything shakes and trembles in fear before Him, but we can kneel before His throne with confidence becasue He loves us!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Psalm 73:28, Philippians 3:20, 1 Corinthians 15:54-56, Revelation 5:9-13, Psalm 113:1, Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8, 1 Samuel 2:2, Revelation 5:4-6, Revelation 15:3, Revelation 11:17, Exodus 3:14, John 8:58, Psalm 145:18, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:13-18, Proverbs 8:13, Psalm 119:63, Ezekiel 37:1-14, Isaiah 64:1, James 2:19, Luke 8:31-33, Luke 10:17, Psalm 76:7
- Good, Good Father – Continuing in the same vein as “Great I Am”, the sovereign God of the universe is personal. If you are born again (saved), then you have been adopted by God. You are His child, and He is your Father – not impersonal, He is your Papa. This is good news! Sometimes we find ourselves fallen in the dust and dirt and need to have the feeling of being picked up and cradled in the arms of our heavenly Daddy.
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: John 5:25, Revelation 3:20, Matthew 25:23, Hebrews 13:5, 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 119:68, Nahum 1:7, Psalm 68:5, Psalm 36:5-7, John 3:16, John 15:13, Romans 5:6-8, Ephesians 2:4-5, Colossians 2:6-8, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 139:4, Matthew 5:48, Romans 11:33, Ephesians 3:8, 1 John 4:7-11
- Goodness of God – God’s goodness is enough to carry us through. Just as a single match can instantly defeat the darkness around us, God’s goodness is more than a match for the evil around us. More importantly, He cares for us! We can revel in Him. And when we lift our voices to Him, He is sure to hear. Even as I type this, Xander is telling me about something he just figured out. The joy I have listening to my kiddos is only a pale shadow of the joy our Papa must feel for us!
- Scripture References / Inspiration for the Song: Deuteronomy 6:5, Lamentations 3:22-23, Isaiah 64:8, Psalm 139:16, Deuteronomy 6:7, Psalm 113:3, 2 Timothy 2:13, Psalm 27:13, Psalm 31:19, Psalm 145:9, Psalm 150:6, Psalm 107:1, 1 Kings 19:11-12, Hebrews 1:3, Isaiah 43:1-3, Jeremiah 23:23-24, John 15:14-15, Psalm 23:6, Luke 9:23-24
- (inv/closing) Redeemed – It is important that remember whose we are and who He is making us to be. As we lift our voices in response to the preaching of the Word. Let us either remember that we have been redeemed and rejoice, or let us repent and be redeemed!
As always, I look forward to seeing you either person or via one of our live platforms.