Category Archives: worship

worship and sorrow

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I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he inclined to me and heard my cry…
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in the LORD.

This is how we felt when we found out we were pregnant with our baby.  We have waited and prayed for this child for the last 10 months.  God answered our prayers and I couldn’t even begin to fit into one post all the specific ways He has encouraged us through that process.  We rejoiced and cried and thanked God for what he had done.

And then on Tuesday, the worry crept in.  Everyone said the spotting was normal, but it didn’t seem like it to me.  So, instead of waiting until Friday, we went to the doctor that morning.  She did labwork and the results came back  low.  I knew we had to go back in 2 days for more tests.  I felt like God was saying whatever the result number was, it would correspond to a specific Psalm.  Well on Thursday in between tears as I pulled out my Bible app to pull up Psalm 22, the first words I saw were “my God, why have you forsaken me.”  Oh, how desperately I long for a baby to hold.  How I look forward to the day that I’m not just a mother in word, but in practice… in daily life.  How I wanted this day to be different.  But Psalm 22 says I will eat and be satisfied.  It says He has heard my cry and that’s why I can rejoice.  It says he knows.  Christ on the cross said the words “my God why have you forsaken me.”  I might feel forsaken right now.  I might feel barren and lonely, but I am not alone.  Later in that chapter, I read:

“From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
   my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
   those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
   May your hearts live forever!”

I’m not exactly sure if I’ll be able to make it through worship tomorrow without bawling.  It is my first Sunday back on the worship team since I stepped down due to my migraines and health issues.  It is Ted’s first Sunday on drums. And its mother’s day…the one day I have been looking forward to more than any other since we started trying to conceive.

Our worship leader called us earlier in the week and said if we wanted to postpone to another week that was fine and he understood completely.  Everything in me wants to say yes to that.  Nothing in me wants to stand before the congregation and lead them to worship our God.  I feel so weak and weary that it seems like it should be the other way around.  Yet, God has been clear to both Ted and I.  This is something we need to do.

So, I’m not quite sure what tomorrow will hold… what emotions and fears and sorrow will come to the surface.  But God is faithful and I know He’ll give me strength.

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by the way, we have chosen to name our baby Amos.  It means “carried by God” and not only is it a name we both love, it seemed appropriate for this situation.

“On you was I cast from my birth,
   and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

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worship God

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yesterday I arrived in Gaithersburg Md for the Worship God 09 conference.  physically i am exhausted but am having a good time.  the conference started with the Na band leading worship and we sang 2 songs from the new Sons and Daughters album.  Then John Piper preached about God’s glory in Himself and how that is actually not arrogance but rather what brings us the greatest joy as well.  it was deep. and good.

this morning began with announcements from Mark Altrogge.  If you’ve never seen him give announcements, you’re really missing a treat.  Bob Kauflin was laughing so hard he could barely stand. was fun.  then we had worship again, and another sermon by John Piper.  because I had a migraine, I ended up going out into the lobby during the worship set.  I ended up in a conversation with one of the guys working at the conference.  We talked for a while and by the end we were both in tears but also greatly encouraged.  its great to see how God works…and to remember (and be reminded) that He is good.  that conversation was that for me.

after the sermon, i was still suffering from some of the after effects of the migraine (numbness, weakness, etc) so physically I could not stand in the line with the other 2500 people waiting for lunch.  so one of the volunteers went and got mine and we ended up eating together.

in the afternoon, i attended two songwriting seminars taught by Keith and Kristyn Getty.  They went through 4 songs in each of their seminars, talked about what motivated them to write that song, different biblical themes they wanted to incorporate, the importance of feedback and collaboration, etc.  then we had a question and answer time and sang a few songs.  it was great and i have lots of notes.

now its time for a nap… i’ve got 30 minutes before we need to get up again, eat dinner and head back to the conference for the evening session.  i can’t remember right now who is preaching tonight but if the last day and a half are any clue… its gonna be good!  :)

my brain has stopped working

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you know how if you’re running 15 different programs on one computer that after a while it just stops working due to an overload?  yup, that’s where my head is at.  there have been so many things happen in the past week that have been so encouragaing, challenging, etc that I don’t even know how to put it all into words effectively.

so instead of sharing every one of them, i’ll pick one thing that God did that really really encouraged me this past Sunday.

two weeks ago was the first sunday that our church had a prophecy mic.  for those of you who may not be familiar with this, it is a mic at the front of the auditorium, where folks are encouraged to come and share something that they believe God has given them for mutual encouragement.  its evaluated by a pastor and if it fits with the flow of the service, then it will be shared for all to hear.  Sometimes its a verse, sometimes a picture, sometimes an encouragement…

well, sunday 2 weeks ago, I felt that God wanted me to share a particular verse from Romans.  but i wasn’t sure if it was me or if it was really from God.  so i waited.  i waited until the last song and at that point it was clear that if I didn’t go up then it would be an act of disobedience.  so i went, and Jim encouraged me that it fit perfectly, but due to time constraints, that he was going to ask me not to share this week.

fast forward one week… this past Sunday.  during the second song, I saw this picture in my mind of foks standing by a waterfall.  some of the group were enjoying the rush of the waterfall while others were standing by, simply observing.  i felt that this was a picture of worship that morning, that there were many (myself included) that were struggling for one reason or another (be it guilt over sin or just plain weariness) and were having a hard time “jumping in” and finding their hope in God.  and then God reminded me the verse in Hebrews that encourages us to come boldly and find grace and mercy in our time of need. 

I felt pretty strongly that this picture was from the Lord but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to share.  So as I was praying about this, I felt God say “no, you’re not supposed to share…someone else is going to say this in about 5 minutes and I just wanted to let you know as well so that when this happens you will find yourself encouraged.”  So I went back to my struggle of half-hearted worship. 

About a song and 1/2 later, Dale Cook came forward and shared a picture he had of a waterfall and of folks standing on the sideline hesitating to jump in.  he encouraged us that all we really needed to do was just jump… not anazlyze our sin or what needs to change but rather just approach God and worship boldly, knowing our confidence is through Jesus Christ.

I was blown away.  I can’t even tell you how encouraged that was for me to hear.  Not only was it encouraging just to hear Dale share it, but it was so personal, to have God share this with my heart not 5 minutes earlier.  Worship, and the rest of the day was a struggle for me still to some degree.  but God was intentional on encouraging me and helping my weak fragile faith to grow… to grow in my confidence in Him.

grace… and your deepest darkest secret…

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so last night at care group i was freshly reminded of grace… God’s grace to me, an undeserving sinner.

During worship, it seemed each song was a reminder of how faithful God is in the midst of our failures.  I had talked with my care group leader, Matt, a while ago about sharing a specific area of my life where God had been at work.  But its an area that has been well hidden.  its an area that is combined with much shame and fear on my part.  Yet, somehow, its an area of my life that God is working to redeem.  And though my own sinful desires would rather not share it, I knew last night that God was calling me to.  He was calling me to open up and share things I didn’t know how it would be received.  And He was calling me to do this and trust in Him to deliver me of fear and shame.

I’m honestly not sure what all I said.  What I remember is that after I shared, one of my friends asked if they could pray for me.  So, everyone gathered around and prayed that God would work as a result.  I was so encouraged, I can’t even begin to put it into words.  I am so grateful for the gift that God has given me through my friends at my church.  I pray that God would be at work in our group, in allowing us to grow together on a deep level, so that we know no matter what, that God is our hope.

After care group, I can’t tell you the number of people that came and thanked me.  So, God is already at work.  Somehow through my sin and lack of trust and failure over and over again, HE is receiving much glory.  And comforting my heart too.

I was reminded of an amazing passage yesterday… Psalm 78.  It talks about the Children of Israel, and just how many times they turned away.  But the focus isn’t just there…According to verses 1-7, the story is meant to be told so that people would set their hope in God, not forget His works and so that they would keep His commandments.  Its not a story of the Israelite’s failure as much as its a story of God’s faithfulness.

“They forgot His works and the wonders that he has shown them… He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.  He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers.  Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.  They tested God in their hearts by demanding food they craved.  They spoke against God saying “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?  He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed.  Can He also give bread or provide meat for His people?”  Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath… because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.  Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven… he sent them food in abundance…and they ate and were well filled… but while the food was still in their mouths…despite the wonders, they did not believe…

their heart was not steadfast toward him, they were not faithful to his covenant.  YET HE, being compassionate atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.  He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert.  They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel.  They did not remember his power or the day when He redeemed them from the foe…but He led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.  He led them in safety so that they were not afraid…Yet they tested and rebelled against the most High God and did not keep his testimonies…but He chose the tribe of Judah… which He loves.  He chose David his servant and took Him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people… With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with His skillful hand.”

I’m so glad my God is faithful.  I’m so glad my growth to become more like Him is not dependent on my effort alone. I fail every day. But I’m so glad that my God leads and guides me gently, provides for me in my need and comforts me in my weakness and despair.

what part?

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over at the New Attitude website, they have posted a portion of my testimony.  In that testimony, I mentioned a spontaneous song sung by Bob Kauflin… here is a link where you can listen to the version I heard that day.

 

Lyrics:

What part of your sin did I not cover?
What part of your guilt did I not take?
You have broken my commandments again and again
But I suffered in your place.

What part of your guilt have I not removed?
And what part of your soul did I not make clean?
Through my once and for all sacrifice
I wholly reconciled you to me.

And don’t let the temporary pleasures of sin
Keep you from what I created you for.
Neverending joy and lasting treasure
In the presence of your Lord.

And I’m the One you were created for.
I made you for myself.
My plans are perfect, my timing’s perfect
I know just where you should be and go
So why would you give yourself to anything else?

For my blood has set you free
Free to worship me
Free to resist the power of sin
That seeks to own your life

My blood has set you free
For you were made for Me.
So live in the good of all that I paid for
Live in the good of what you were made for
Live in the good of the blood shed for you.

how firm a foundation

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How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee thy troubles to bless
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

“E’en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never, forsake!”

rejoice

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All the earth rejoice
Your Creator reigns
As the only awesome God
The Alpha and the Omega
Who was, is, and is to come
Let the oceans roar
and the mountains sing
He provides for all He has made
So be comforted as He rules with grace
Rejoice, all the earth, rejoice

All the world rejoice
For the baby comes
As a humble prince in the night
The Word made flesh,
Emmanuel
The Everlasting Light
Let the warmth of heaven
reach the coldest heart
With the gospel of His grace
For His heel will bruise
the serpent’s head
Rejoice, all the world, rejoice

All the church rejoice
For your King returns
On a white horse wearing a crown
He will break the sky
with the angel’s shout
Descending from the clouds
Then the dead will rise
from the land and sea
All His people will ascend
We will reign with Him
for eternity
Rejoice, all the church, rejoice.

© 2006 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)
By Todd Twinning

from Soveriegn Grace’s Christmas CD Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God Become Man