Thursday, April 10, 2008

Update on The Name

I had to post an update to the entry I made earlier today. It is true that "Shout to the Lord" was performed without the name of Jesus (you can watch it on youtube) but things changed tonight. On the American Idol result show, the top 8 sang "Shout to the Lord" again.. and this time they sang it word for word.. My Jesus, My Savior. Don't know what caused them to make the change, but I was thrilled to hear it! I am always amazed when you hear a Christian song on a secular program. It is just such a rarity these days. I am not sure all those singing meant the words, but here is the thing... that song will be available on iTunes and a lot of folks who would probably never listen to "Christian" music will download it and hear it.... and our God is powerful and creative enough to use that to reach some hearts. That's something to shout about!


The Name

"Therefore, God elevated Him (Jesus) to the place of highest honor
and gave Him the name above all other names" Phil. 2:9 NLT
Last night my husband and I watched Idol Gives Back. This is a special edition of American Idol where they raise money for various charities that help the impoverished throughout our world. During the show, various celebrities talk, perform and show videos of the needs throughout our world from New Orleans to Uganda... homelessness to AIDS orphans... it is a moving show that promotes unselfishness (something we rarely see on television).
The last song of the night was performed by the 8 remaining contestants of American Idol. They sang Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord." I was a bit surprised when they announced the song and a bit skeptical. Would they actually sing a Christian Praise and Worship song? Well they did.. sort of.
I expected "My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You...." I got "My shepherd, my savior, Lord there is none like You..." and there it is... it is all about the Name... Jesus. Our society really has no problem with God.... this creator who sits in heaven and watches us and if we are good we go to live with him one day. They may not call Him God, but they really have no problem with that term. But Jesus.. well now, that is a different matter.
They removed His Name from "Shout to the Lord" last night. I wonder if they had to get permission to do that and if Zschech said ok?
I know there are some who would say "What's the big deal? They still sang the song only changing one word." But see.. it's the word they chose to change. It isn't just a word.. it is THE NAME... the most important word ever spoken... it is what defines everything and everyone... it is the most powerful word there is... and it is the most hated.
"My Jesus, My Savior" acknowledges the deity to Christ... the Truth of who He is... God in flesh. And that is something that so many just cannot deal with. So they tweak the words a bit and make it fit into their nice neat inspirational spiritual mindset that allows for mercy and love, but not conviction and repentance.
The sad thing is for all the money raised last night and all the good that will come from it, many who will be helped will not get what they need the most... Jesus.
And for those who can't bring themselves to say His name....
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:9-11 NASB

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What This World Needs....

I love the Casting Crowns' CD The Altar and the Door. It has been out a while... I have owned it a while... but I have just really started listening to it. WOW! The lyrics to their songs are so powerful! This is the first song on the CD and it has a timely message!

"What This World Needs" - Casting Crowns

What this world needs
Is not another one-hit wonder with an axe to grind
Another two-bit politician peddling lies
Another three-ring circus society

What this world needs
Is not another sign-waving SUPER-
THAT thinks he's better than you
Another ear-pleasing candy man afraid of the truth
Another prophet in an Armani suite

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them
In their time of need
A savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

What this world needs
Is for us to care more about the inside than the outside
Have we become so blind that we can't see
God's gotta change your heart before he changes a shirt

What this world needs
Is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance
Blending in so well that people can't see the difference
And it's the difference that sets the world free

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them
In their time of need
A savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

People aren't confused by the gospel
They're confused by us
Jesus is the only way to God
But we are not the only way to Jesus

This world doesn't need my tie, my hoodie
My denomination or my translation of the bible
They just need Jesus

We can be passionate about what we believe
But we can't strap ourselves to the gospel'
Cause we're slowing it down
Jesus is going to save the world
But maybe the best thing we can do
Is just get out of the way

What this world needs is a Savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love them
In their time of need
A savior who will rescue
A Spirit who will lead
A Father who will love
That's what this world needs

Jesus is our Savior
That's what this world needs
The Father's arms around you
That's what this world needs
That's what this world needs

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How Marvelous! How Wonderful!

"I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean."

I love that hymn... I have been singing it all my life... but I wonder if I really mean it. Do I stand amazed in Jesus' presence? Do I even realize that I am IN His presence? Am I amazed at His love for me? Do I see myself as a sinner, condemned, unclean?

Oh Lord, forgive me when I ignore You and take what You did for me for granted... treating it as a trivial nothing. Pierce my heart... let me see You as You are and let me see myself in the light of Your holiness.

"He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calvary, And suffered and died alone."

You did all that for me, Lord! I didn't even ask You to do it... I didn't even exist except in Your grand plan... and yet, You loved me so much You sent Your son to die for me before I lived... so that I might really live! How can I walk through this life and not be grateful?!

"When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, Twill be my joy through the ages To sing of His love for me."

What a promise! and what a reason to sing...

"How Marvelous! How Wonderful! and my song shall ever be... How Marvelous! How Wonderful! is my Savior's love for me!"

(lyrics from the hymn I Stand Amazed)

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Ps. 40:3 NIV

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Prayer of Praise

I read this today in my quiet time... what a wonderful way to start the week... join me in praising our LORD...

"Praise be to you, O LORD,
God of our father Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power

and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is Yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
You are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from You;

You are the ruler of all things.
In Your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give You thanks,

and praise Your glorious name." 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 NIV

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lord Hear Us From Heaven

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place." 2 Chronicles 7:14-15

We had an amazing time at church today. Our pastor has started a series on revival... personal and corporate.. and today was about what we have to do before revival can happen... humble ourselves, pray and seek God's face and repent. He talked a lot about how we sing songs asking for God to break our hearts and we talk about our sins, but do we really acknowledge the sin in our life... are we truly broken over them.. are we truly repentant. That is a super watered down summary... the sermon will be on our church site later this week. I will try to remember to post the URL for it. I wish the worship time would be on there too. The songs were so good and we sang scripture and it was just so powerful!

The following is a song we learned today and it is just amazing... so powerful (yes, I keep using that word!).... really listen to the lyrics.... HEAR what they say and then pray them back to God and mean them! I am also includng a youtube link if you want to hear the song. It was used for a pro-life video (and yes, it is a powerful video!)

Lord, Hear Us From Heaven
by Jason Anderson

Lord, hear our cry
Come heal our land
Breath life into these dry and thirsty souls
Lord, hear our prayer
Forgive our sin
And as we call on your name
Would you make this a place
For your glory to dwell

Open the blind eyes
Unlock the deaf ears
Come to your people
As we draw near
Hear us from heaven
Touch our generation
We are your people
Crying out in desperation

Hear us from heaven,
Hear us from heaven,
Hear us from heaven (4x)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

In the Midst of the Storm

I have just started Linda Dillow's book and Bible Study - Satisfy My Thirsty Soul. The focus of this study is to be the worshipper God calls us to be and to see that worship is more than just singing in church, it is a way of life. (Sidenote: I love how God works... shortly after starting this study, our pastor announced that he was going to be preaching a series in April on Worship. Obviously, God has a lesson for me to learn and He is making sure I hear it from more than one source!)

Part of the study is to spend time in worship each morning.. and then to journal a bit about it. OK... I can do that. So this morning I got up around 5:40... popped my earbuds in my ears and turned on my discman (no iPod yet!) and we're off. I listened to some wonderful praise and worship music to get my mind focused... then I turned to the Psalms... Ps. 63 Earnestly I will seek thee... Ps. 62 My soul finds rest in God alone... Ps. 89 I will sing of the Lord's great love forever.. and on I went... but my mind was not in the songs I listened to or in the Psalms I read. My mind was wrapped up in the storm that was raging around my home. Lightening... thunder that shook the roof... rain... and in the midst of it my husband getting ready to travel out of town for 3 hours along the path of the storm.

I was far from worshipful... my heart was not at rest not my mind on God. I found myself trying to praise Him and then crying out "Please keep him safe Lord!"

And in the midst of my frenetic worship, God sent me to Acts 17 and reassured me...

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

What a reminder that God is not far from us... that when we reach out for Him we will find Him just as I did in the midst of the storm.