Take my life and let it be – Consecrated Lord to Thee… Francis Havergal 1873
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe
As a worship leader myself I recognize my own tendency to push people. Sometimes I begin with a fast peppy song just to try and get people focused on church. I press people to clap, raise their hands or to say Amen, yet rarely have I paused to hush myself in the awesome presence of a Holy God. Rarely have I waited quietly till God sent the wind and the fire of the Holy Spirit. Francis Havergal had it exactly right when she began her now famous hymn with the words, “Take my life” Our worship is not just about having Jesus in our life, but it is about finding our life in Him. Until we offer our life, our worship will remain pretty superficial most of the time. When we ask God not only to take our life, but to ” let it be consecrated Lord to thee”, then He will truly begin to operate as both Lord and Savior of our life.
For those of you who haven’t read our about page, let me begin by saying that my wife and I serve as assistant pastors in a local Brazilian church. As Americans we find many things uniquely refreshing about some of the older customs from Brazil in our worship services. Though our Brazilian brothers and sisters are less than timely about when they enter the service, they retain the wonderful custom of pausing to kneel and dedicate themselves to the Lord upon their arrival. That kind of a sense of reverence and awe is also the very life and breath of our worship. From the times of Abraham to the Apostle John, the manifestation of the Holiness of God left them on their faces listening to what God had to say.
God wants us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. He does love to hear the voice of His children, but do we love to hear Him speak? Do we just rush to church, sing our three songs and go home checking our calendars for what new event we have to remember to include in our busy schedule? God is unchanging. God will not hurry to try and catch up with us as we run in circles. If we truthfully long to worship, we will discover that God is still truly seeking for us to fully yield in reverence and awe to Him!
Last night we went to the premiere in Scranton of the Hillsongs movie, “Hope Rising”. Though it was supposed to be a women’s group night out I tagged along with my wife because I love many of the worship songs from Hillsongs United. It was great film, but really hard to describe. It was like being at a christian concert but it was more a concert. The presentations of Oceans as well as Mighty to Save were awesome! It was a bit of a promotional video for Hillsongs church but it rose far above that. The film shared some very intimate moments and details from the lives of the singing group Hillsong United as well as from pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. I think they have in some ways defined a new type of christian film. It was powerful and practical and overall a real blessing to my wife and I. Here is the trailer to give you a sneak preview for yourself. Be blessed
Will the circle be unbroken by and by Lord by and by?
In a better home awaiting in the sky Lord in the sky!
Ada R Habershon
Sometimes I hate the way science spoils the beauty of things in the process of diagnoses. They tell us the sky and sea are not really blue it is just the angle of the sunshine. I have also heard that stars do not twinkle and that the sun doesn’t truly rise. These kinds of things feel like a pebble I can’t get out of my shoes. But one scientific fact that I was blessed to discover is that rainbows are actually round and we are seeing only one part of the arc from where we stand.
In the same way the circle of song doesn’t begin and end on earth like the leprechaun finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In fact both the rainbow and worship begin and end in heaven. God inspires a musician, just like He inspired King David and that becomes a song. When David wrote down and sang his songs they became the book of Psalms. Today when we read those songs the circle of that song pours a blessing into our lives.
But God isn’t done yet! As worship leaders it is important for us to stay focused on God’s purpose in praise. As I related in the last post we stumble in one way or another on songs that bless us then labor to make that song ours and then the church’s. But there is one more piece of the circle still to be closed. That is the part we most easily forget. The source of the song that blesses the heart of God is not in Chris Tomlin or Fanny Crosby. Heaven’s inspiration didn’t begin with Charles Wesley and isn’t finished when Kari Jobe sings for us. God’s purpose begins in heaven and when a song has truly done its work there is a miraculous and eternal connection made. The music and words build a bridge to the throne room of the Kings of Kings. That bridge once built can be crossed time and time again. These are the songs that we remember when we are in despair as much as in blessing. These are the melodies that hold us up at the end of life or that celebrate the new baby as he takes his first breath. The Bible tells us that prophecies will fail and that tongues will cease but songs of praise will go on forever and forever!
Then I heard the voice of everything created in Heaven, upon earth, under the earth and upon the sea, and all that are in them saying, “Blessing and honour and glory and power be to him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
How many have the experience of hearing a song that makes us stop what we are doing and really listen? The words, the melody, the rhythm all seem to work together and make an impact on our hearts. The next time it comes on the radio or we hear it in church we may turn to someone and say something like, “That’s my favorite song!” The song that was played for a multitude of people has become ours -at least we think so.
For those of us in worship ministry it then becomes a question, “Is this just for me, or should I share it with others?” Not that we are of necessity being selfish it is simply that some songs don’t work well in a worship setting. But on those occasions when we decide to prepare that song for the church a process begins which I will call, “The Circle of Song”
To prepare, if you are anything like me requires listening long enough till we can begin to remember the words and melody a bit. My own system probably is a bit cumbersome, but I listen over and over as I type the words out for my own song sheet. This forces my mind to slow down long enough to grapple with most of the nuances written in by the artist. Next I work out the music and the pacing till I can play from beginning to end without a any serious mistakes. The song which ministered to me in that first moment takes on a deeper meaning as if it were beginning a journey through my heart.
Then the time comes, whether a week, a month or a year later that I have that first chance to share that song. There at the altar as I sing, I sense whether this is really one of those songs I will sing again and again or not. Though some will be forgotten others will be loved, not because I loved them, but because they finished their circle and became a blessing to others. Do you have a new song in your heart that will finish its circle through you this week?
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
If you read our Theme statement at praise2worship you would see that I work as one member of a worship team. What most of you may not know is that our church is bi-lingual (Portuguese/English) and that we transition from one language to the other during the worship time. Often many of our classic hymns or even the latest worship from Jesus culture has a Portuguese translation and is widely heard in Brazil.
What has been the challenge are the times when I (the American part of the team) really want to share a recent song or a classic hymn for which no translation exists. The challenge of dovetailing the essence of a song together with the melody and rhythm can keep me up at night rolling various verbs around in my brain.
My latest project this week was the classic hymn, “Our Great Savior” which is sometimes called “Jesus What a friend for Sinners” I worked through and recorded the first and last verses as well as the refrain this morning after a few days of work and some quick grammatical editing by my pastor. Hope someone is blessed and if there is another worship translator out there I would love to hear back from you!
Awesome song shared in a way that encourages people to do more than listen.