It’s been a while since I last shared what new music I’m listening to so here’s what’s been on repeat lately!
Jesus Culture’s latest cd has a song called “Alive in You” and I absolutely love it, especially the chorus:
You are God, You’re the Great I AM
Breath of Life I breathe You in
Even in the fire I’m alive in You.
You are strong in my brokenness Sovereign over every step Even in the fire I’m alive in You.
This past season has, for various reasons, often felt like a furnace. Heat, pressure, no idea what’s coming next…but Christ, “one like a son of the gods” (Dan. 3:25) not only can keep us alive in the flames of the furnace and use it to refine us: He is also with us in the furnace and sovereign over every step that led us there and every step we’ll take afterwards. It’s truth I need to keep hearing 🙂
When asked today on a reddit thread about personal experiences that contributed to him writing on themes of death and rebirth, Jon Foreman (of Switchfoot, Fiction Family, and solo work fame) had this to say:
I constantly wrestle with the polarity of the human condition- stuck between birth and death. But not just that- we’re head tight in tension between faith and doubt, love and fear, etc… I picture these like guitar strings strung in tension across the guitar.
I think the tendency is to run towards one end or the other- or try to alleviate the tension. But maybe our role here is to make music with the tension. Just as a guitar can only play when the strings are stretched tight.
With that in mind, I feel like dying to myself is a daily task necessary for true abundant life.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Heard this new(ish) song by Matt Redman the other week and can’t get it out of my head. I love how he takes the lyrics to the old hymn “At the Cross” and adds new thoughts to it from Galatians 2:20 (see above). Check it out for yourself!
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light and the burden of my soul rolled away It was there by faith I received my sight now no longer I, but Christ in me
I was not sure how I felt initially about Mumford’s transition away from (among other things) the banjo. But count me fully on board after listening to this song. Excited to see what the rest sounds like come May 4th!
It's currently neither Monday nor the morning, but this IS some music! :) So go ahead and hit "play" and enjoy!
Look how He lifted me / His grace and mercy is my testimony / For every victory / I’ve got a song to sing / Look how He lifted me!
I’ve had this song on repeat for the past few weeks-it’s catchy and exciting but (best of all) also contains beautiful truth: When we have things to boast of, it’s first of all because of what He has done for us! “…as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 1:31
A specific example Tim Keller passes on in Prayerof how to transition from reading and meditating on the Word to free-form praying comes from Martin Luther, who
…suggests that after meditating on the Scripture, you should pray through each petition of the Lord’s Prayer, paraphrasing and personalizing each one using your own needs and concerns.
-from Prayer p. 93
Keller uses the phrase “Spiritually ‘Riffing’ on the Lord’s Prayer” (which might be my favorite phrase of his ever, for various reasons haha) to describe the process. He suggests that this is a beneficial way to both provide structure to your initial prayers to help focus flighty minds like mine. To be very honest, distracting thoughts have often keep me from beginning or completing times I’ve set aside for prayer and have discouraged me in past pursuits of deeper prayer.
As such, I’ve found this to be an immensely helpful tool to add to my “spiritual tool belt” as it were-and it’s so simple! Who among us doesn’t already know at least most of some version (ESV, KJV, NIV, or a combination) of the Lord’s Prayer by heart? [Incidentally, this is an excellent example of the power memorization of the Word has to impact the other spiritual disciplines.] And who among us couldn’t benefit from implementing the model Jesus gave his disciples in answer to their request to teach them to pray?
Now neither Keller nor Luther (nor I!) are suggesting that this is something you must do every time you pray. To turn this into a law or requirement or “the” way to pray is to miss the point. Instead, it’s offered as a helpful tool. May we avail ourselves of it and other similar tools in our daily prayers.
Hillsong Worship’s latest cd has a song based on the Lord’s Prayer. There are plenty of other songs based on it, but I enjoyed listening to this one and thought I’d share it 🙂
“And I, I celebrate the day That You were born to die So I could one day pray for You to save my life”
Christmas is a celebration of the fact that “He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man … might become the son of God” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies). What a wonderful truth! For our sake He lived the perfect life that we never could have lived and died the death that we never could have escaped in order to bring us into the family. Glad tidings of great joy indeed!
This week take time to rest in the gift that Emmanuel’s life and death and resurrection on our behalf is to us all. And Merry Christmas!
Last week I came across this humorous story about an old man’s perspective on praise choruses and a young man’s perspective on hymns. It sounds like a lot of people I know on both sides of the story, so I thought I’d share. Funny how different the same thing can sound to different ears, right?
An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
“Well,” said the farmer. “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”
“Praise choruses?” asked the wife. “What are those?”
“Oh, they’re okay. They’re sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.
“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.
The farmer said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, Oh, Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA, the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows, the COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the CORN, CORN, CORN, COOOOORRRRRNNNNN,’ then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well that would be a praise chorus.”
As luck would have it, the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.
“Well,” said the young man, “It was good. They did something different, however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”
“Hymns?” asked the wife. “What are those?”
“They’re okay. They’re sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.
“Well, what’s the difference?” asked the wife.
The young man said, “Well it’s like this … If I were to say to you, ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn,’ well that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you,
Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, glorious truth.
For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.
Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn chewed.
So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn,
then, if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and change keys on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.”
Do you identify more with the farmer or the young man? When you’re in a service that uses a style different than your preferred one, are you still able to worship? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments 🙂