Songs for Sunday – 6/28/2020

If I were to ask you what the most well-known Bible verse is, you would probably say John 3:16. It has been seen on signs in sports arenas and even shown up on the paint on faces of ball players in the games. It has been featured on countless t-shirts and yard signs. But is it written on your heart?

Let’s look at this verse with fresh eyes today:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Or, perhaps, more familiarly:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

This is gospel truth. It’s also one of the easiest things for the Church to take for granted. At Jesus Saves Bro last Thursday, Big John recounted talking to some youth who – even though they had been “churched” – did not know how to be saved. He said that we need to be reminded about what the main thing is supposed to be. Our main thing is Jesus and telling people how to receive Him.

We need to be reminded of these things so that we can tell others!

God loved people enough to send His Son to die in their place. He didn’t send Him to die for good people – there aren’t any (Romans 3:10, 23). No, He sent Him to die in the place of sinners because of love (Romans 5:8). This “world” and “people” are not hypothetical – they are us. That’s right: you and me and the people we see every day. We are sinners, and the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Because or our sin, we deserve that death – we’ve earned it. But here’s where the good news comes in: “the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

How can we receive such a gift? What makes us worthy? First, the Bible makes it clear that there is nothing that makes us worthy of the gift. But that’s how gifts work. Gifts are not based on the worth of the recipient; they are based on the love of the giver. Second, John 3:16 tells us how to receive the gift: “…whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. All you have to do to receive the gift is to believe in the giver and confess Him as Lord.

Romans 10:9 says,

“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Believe upon Him, pray to Him and seek Him out and He shall be found. Romans 10:13 gives us confidence in this:

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

That’s good news! And that’s exactly what we’re singing about this Sunday! You can see all the verses that were on my heart as the worship set came together in the commentary above.

Here are our songs:

I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person, in the parking lot via speaker, or on Facebook or YouTube live!

Songs for Sunday – 6/14/2020

There has been a verse on my mind this week – Nahum 1:7:

The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
He knows those who take refuge in Him.

That verse is comforting.

First, it is comforting because it reminds us of the goodness of God. He is good whether times are good or not. He is good whether we feel it or not. He is righteous and holy and something completely different than everything we have to offer.

Second, it is comforting because – when everything is not good with us – He is still God. He is a stronghold, or a fortress. We can turn to Him in our times of deepest need. His care and love are unparalleled.

And, finally, it is comforting because, while He is God and is our fortress, He is personally involved with His children. He knows us. I do not mean that He knows who we are or that we are casual acquaintances. He knows those who take refuge in Him. He knows those who put their trust, faith, and belief in Him alone.

And that’s good news because we need to be known. It’s good news because – no matter what is going on in your life – we have have someone to turn to who can handle whatever it is. We have the privilege of getting to seek out the Most High and Him respond knowingly with love and care for us.

These verses were on my heart this week as the worship set came together:

  • Nahum 1:7 – see above
  • Psalm 95:1-7a – Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountain are His also. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.
  • Colossians 2:13-14 – And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.

And that’s what we’re singing about this week! Our great God is good and cares for us. He has made a way for us and wants us to trust in Him. He has paid the price for us and wants us to lay our burdens at His feet and trust in Him as our refuge and our salvation!

Here are our songs:

I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person, in the parking lot via speaker, or on Facebook or YouTube live!

Songs for Sunday – 6/7/2020

As I sit here typing this out today, I am excited about Sunday. Aren’t you?

Sunday is not a regular day for followers of Christ. Every Sunday is Easter for us, reminding us how Jesus rose from the dead so many years ago. And, since He is risen, He has had a standing appointment with His people for generations. We should be as excited every week as we are on Easter Sunday. Jesus is alive. He is risen, just as He said.

Covid-19 has not changed this, but, rather than letting my words stir you up, let God’s Word speak for itself. Check out Isaiah 25:8:

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.”

While this was a future event for Isaiah, it is reality for us! That’s right: death has been swallowed up, defeated by Christ on the cross and in His empty tomb! That’s good news! He has paid the price for us and freed us from sin and the grave and given us His Life!

But that’s not all. Isaiah’s prophecy has future promises for us. It points to the future we see in Revelation 21:3-4:

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'”

And that’s what we’re singing about this week. We are rejoicing in the victory that Christ has already won! We are recognizing the shackles and chains that come from sin and celebrating the God who breaks chains and brings freedom! Praise God that there is power in His Name and that He has made a Way for lost sinners – dead in their trespasses and sins – are made alive and receive eternal life by grace through faith in Him. Amen!

These verses were on my heart this week as the worship set came together:

  • Psalm 107:1-2, 14-15 — Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble…. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man!”
  • Acts 4:12 — And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
  • Psalm 145:9 — The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.

Here are our songs:

Songs for Sunday – 5/31/2020

Who am I?

This is one of the biggest questions for people all over the world. We struggle with finding, knowing, and living in our own identities. So many things in the world try and define us and give us an identity that is artificial to us – or that produces an artificial nature in us.

So, what gives us our identities? Our jobs? Our families? Our successes? Our failures? Who or what can define us?

Genesis 1:26-27 says:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Creation gives us at least a peak at our original identity as God intended it, but a lot has happened since “the beginning”. I know, for me, I try to allow my failures to define me to the point that I do not even notice my strengths. I have struggled with letting work and other people define me. And, somewhere along the way, I lost myself for a number of years. I forgot that I am made in the image of God – that I am His.

This is where the gospel – the good news – comes into play. All of Creation is messed up because of sin, but there is redemption to be found in Christ Jesus. He took our sin to the cross and makes us new again – not “good as new” but genuinely new creations in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

Who He says we are matters. It matters more than any voice around, because He created us. Jesus in John 8:34-36 says,

“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

And that’s what we’re singing about this week. We are singing about being washed clean from our sins and resting in the identity that we are given in Christ. We are reminding ourselves that we have reason to praise King Jesus because He has saved us and given us everlasting life. And we can join in with the angels in heaven and sing to him, telling Him that He is holy and worthy and mighty and adore Him together!

These verses were on my heart as the worship set came together this week:

  • Psalm 51:2 — Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
  • Psalm 51:7 — Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
  • Jeremiah 33:8 — [God says] I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive the guild of their sin and rebellion against me.
  • 1 John 1:9 — If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Titus 3:4-5 — But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit….

Here are our songs:

Songs for Sunday – 5/24/2020

If we are truly honest with ourselves, we are often afraid. We are afraid of losing things, people, and control. We are afraid of the future, and we are afraid of the past. Thankfully, we do not have to muster the strength to master our fear. We can submit to Jesus as Master and trust in His strength instead.

Psalm 46:1-2:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

I may put on a brave face, but I am often afraid. This surprises my kiddos, at least for a few more years. It boggles their mind that Daddy is afraid of anything because – to them – I am a source of strength. They look to me and Candice whenever they are afraid, and they expect us to be able to fix everything. Honestly, I am probably more afraid of them realizing that I am not as strong or smart or cool than I am of a lot of things.

The good news of the gospel is that my kids do not need me to take away their fear. They need me to invest the gospel in their lives. They need the Savior spoken of in the gospel to take away their sin and make them His own. Jesus is a much better Savior than me. He is much better at calming fears, too.

The Almighty, Sovereign, Holy God of the Universe is our “refuge and strength”. And He has a plan for us. All we have to do is trust Him.

And that’s what we’re singing about this week: trusting that Emmanuel (God with us) has made a way for us through His death and resurrection. May we lift up our hearts to the Great I Am and trust that, if He can conquer death, hell, and the grave, our fears pale in comparison to His glory, majesty, strength, and holiness.

These verses were on my heart as the worship set came together this week:

  • Psalm 46 – I want us to read the whole psalm together, but I will pick out a few verses for us to peruse today.
    • v 1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
    • vv. 6-7 – The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
    • v. 10 – “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
  • Revelation 17:14 – They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Our Resurrected King has won the victory. And He loves us and is always with us.

Here are our songs:

I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person, in the parking lot via speaker, or on Facebook or YouTube live!

Songs for Sunday – 5/17/2020

Throughout my life, there have been times where I have just wanted to get away from all the hustle and bustle. Those times have been thoroughly satisfied. I want some hustle. I need some bustle – whatever that is!

Extended periods of isolation bring me down. Even though I really identify myself as an introvert, I find that I need the community that comes with being part of the body of Christ. Without that connection to the body, I find that my mind goes back to all the things that bring shame and condemnation. I find it harder to “set [my] mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). I find myself forgetting that there is “there is…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). I find myself forgetting His grace.

The good news is that there is grace to be found – abundant, overflowing grace! And it’s all to be found hoping in Christ.

That’s what we’ll be singing about this Sunday – the grace and love of Christ that overcomes all of our sin and draws us into relationship with Christ!

These verses were on my heart as the worship set came together this week:

  • Lamentations 3:22-24 — The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”
  • Romans 3:22b-25 — For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins.
  • Romans 5:8 — …but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

No matter what the day brings us, God has fresh mercy, grace, and love for us every day. The best part of waking up is not Folgers in your coffee cup, it’s the fresh embrace of a loving Savior, ready for whatever situation you find yourself experiencing!

Here are our songs:

I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person, in the parking lot via speaker, or on Facebook or YouTube live!

Songs for Sunday – 5/10/2020

This Sunday is a big deal. We get to gather together – with appropriate social distancing and guidelines and such. But think about that: we get to gather. Every Sunday is a big deal because 1) it serves as a reminder for the Resurrection, and 2) it reminds us that God makes us part of something bigger than ourselves.

This is good news for us because we are all facing things that we cannot handle alone. Don’t get me wrong: the people sitting in the worship center with you (all sufficiently distanced, of course) cannot solve your problems or end your suffering. But we gather together in worship of the One who can, and ultimately will.

I wish I could tell you that there will be a time on Earth where suffering will not be the norm, but I would be lying. The farther we get away from the Fall, the worse things will continue to grow. But, the farther we get away from the Fall, the closer we get to the return of Christ! And He has not left us alone in our trials and suffering.

That’s what we’re singing to Him about this Sunday!

These verses were on my heart as the worship set came together this week:

  • Psalm 30:5 — For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9 — But He (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
  • 1 Peter 5:6-7 — Humble yourselves, therefore, under the might hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

That’s good news! We will have sorrow, sadness, and even suffering, but that’s when our Savior steps in and takes care of us for His glory. It may last a long night, but there is a Day when it will all be good because then we’ll be with Him.

Here are our songs:

I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person, in the parking lot via speaker, or on Facebook or YouTube live!

Songs for Sunday – 5/3/2020

This Sunday, we’ll still be in the “drive-in” church format at Christ Community, so pull up, grab a spot, and worship with us!

We’re going to be singing about the hope that comes from Jesus. He’s bought and paid for this hope in full. He purchased it for us on the cross when He died in our place. And His resurrection makes that hope living and active!

Often when picking songs, a Scripture will be on my heart. The passage this week is Romans 5:1-11. It begins talking about the peace that comes with being justified by faith in Christ and the joy that proceeds from the hope found in Him. Then, it beautifully transitions to what Jesus did for us on the cross and why He did it – love. Verses 5 and 8 give us an excellent picture of what I’m talking about:

  • (v. 5) “…and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
  • (v. 8) “…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

That’s good news!

Here are our songs:

  • Lead Me to the Cross” — This song gives such good Scripture imagery: “where Your blood was spilled for my ransom”, “your love poured out”, “I belong to You”, etc. If we’re going to sing songs that give us hope, they’ve got to be Word-centered. Their are lots of little Word pictures in this song. This fits right in with verse 5 and 8 above.
  • At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” — Carrying on with the image from “Lead Me to the Cross” of God’s love being poured out, we get to a picture of how much and how full God loves us. The image of mercy reigning and not ending is so powerful. Grace being described like a flood keeps it going. When you realize that the blood of Christ is the payment for mercy’s reign and what the flood consists of, one cannot help but be moved. This should move us to remorse over our sin, but, knowing that God paid the price for us and adopts us, it should move us to hope because love like that is rare and special and everlasting.
  • All My Hope” — This is a congregation favorite. It’s rhythm and structure remind us of gospel singings of yesteryear. But gospel singings are nothing without the gospel! This song echoes out that “hope does not put us to shame”. The refrain (“All my hope is in Jesus / Thank God that yesterday’s gone / All my sins are forgiven / I’ve been washed by the blood”) echoes the change that happens in our hearts when we respond to Christ through faith. Once we are saved, He’s our Lord. All our hope – our everything – is placed in Him! He’s got us covered!
  • (closing) “Almost Home” — I think that this song is especially appropriate during the current pandemic. It reminds us that there are more worlds that this. Philippians 3:20 reminds us that “our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we await a Savior”. That’s good news! We have dual citizen status, and only one of those homelands is going to last forever. So when our earthly home is in turmoil, it is good to look forward to the hope we have of eternity with our Savior!

You can click here to get the lyrics to sing along Sunday morning! Honk if you love Jesus!