Saturday, November 19, 2005

Theme: Giving Thanks to God
    [before song]
    Clap your hands, all you nations;
    shout to God with cries of joy.
    How awesome is the LORD Most High,
    the great King over all the earth!
    [in the middle of song]
    God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
    the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
    Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises
Come, All You People

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord

    The Apostle Paul writes:
    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

    We gather today to sing our thanks not only to God, but to teach and admonish one another by singing songs and speaking words of peace to each other .

Let All Things Now Living

O Blessed Spring

    James tells us to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials.”
    Peter tells us to “rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.”
    And Paul tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
    How do we do this? We give thanks because our trials produce perseverance, because our Savior gave thanks even on the night he was betrayed, and because, as Paul writes, “These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever."

Stay with Us

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Worship: Honesty or Decorum?

I stumbled onto two really fascinating blog entries over at Christianity Today:
Expletive Undeleted: Dropping the F-bomb in Church
Expletive Undeleted 2: The F-bomb Fallout

As I comment after the second entry, I think this was a tough call for Pastor Mike Sares to make, given his wonderfully unusual church. (I don't think I'd even be faced with this decision in my church.)

I'm most disappointed with those who respond dismissively, as in "The fact that this even up for discussion is mind boggling." I'm not sure why anyone with that mentality would even be reading a blog and offering a comment. I believe Engaging in discussion is always beneficial. And I believe, if we are Christians following Christ's example, engaging in discussion is part of refusing to give up on others, just as God doggedly pursues us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

What's all this then?

This blog is a collection of resources and thoughts related to my job as Music Director of a small United Methodist Church in Belton, MO, which is in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area.

Much of what you'll see is the stuff I prepare weekly for worship services--the list of songs, the texts of scriptures, meditations, calls to worship, etc. that are interspersed between songs or within songs between verses. If you're looking for this sort of stuff, feel free to use it if it suits your purposes.

Occasionally, you'll see postings of my own reflections related to music, worship, working in church, my own spiritual or personal journey, or about society in general. You won't see anything related to baseball, because I have my own blog for that. Increasingly, I've wanted to write about other things that readers of that blog would probably not be interested in. That's what this space is for.

Comments and emails are encouraged--people who know me know that my interest is always in dialog and mutual understanding, even if we ultimately disagree with one another. Strong opinions are great, but isolating oneself because of them is, I believe, a great tragedy.

Finally, a word about the title of this blog; five years ago, I would have told you quite confidently that I was not the sort of person who would ever be a worship leader. I had tried before and it was clearly not how I was gifted. I can't say now that I'm a different person, or that I was being stubborn before, but I've come to realize that when the prophet of Lamentations speaks of God's mercies as "new every morning," that it means, ironically, that the future is open. Somehow, in the midst of our predictable Universe, God keeps throwing us surprises. Count me in as one who's excited (and maybe a little bit scared) about what unknown mercy is around the next corner.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Theme: Giving ourselves, our dreams, and our concerns over to God

    Why are you downcast, O my soul?
    Why so disturbed within me?
    Put your hope in God,

    for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

    Therefore I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

    (Psalm 46 and Philippians 2:13)

What a friend we have in Jesus
Christ beside me

    Jesus says to us: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Why should we not be afraid? Because he has sent another in his place, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who will teach us and light our way. Let us rejoice, let us proclaim this joyful sound: the Comforter has come. (John 14)

The Comforter has Come
You are my hiding place

    Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear, revere, and worship You, goodness for those who trust and take refuge in You!
    In the secret place of Your presence You hide them from harmful plots; You shelter them from strife in Your pavilion. Blessed be the Lord!

In his presence
Lord Listen to your Children Praying
My life Flows on