Friday, March 27, 2009

israel houghton - new CD

Here's an acoustic version of a track from Israel Houghton's new project, The Power of One.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

communion prayer

Prayer I used in our "40 Days of Love" small group last night.
"Prayer with Communion"
by Matt Tullos

The bread of brokenness
The wine of grace
The fellowship of his sufferings
Our hearts long for communion with the One whose glory overshadows every joy, ever fear, every act of contrition and amazement.
The broken bread
The red blood washing away cleansing, rectifying, forgiving, renewing, like rivers of hope
Flooding the arid field of our helplessness
Wash us Jesus
As we move into the about-face of repentance.
We’ve seen a glimpse of your majesty
We’ve experienced you in the furnace of circumstance
And in the bliss of worship
Momentary, ephemeral
But We want so much more
So Lord Jesus
Son of God,
Architect of infinity
Ageless wonder of mercy
Loose your power among us.
Devour us in love
Until we are lost in you.
So lost we can’t even find our identity outside of you!
As we approach these elements- the bread and the cup.
We are saying yes to you.
Yes to everything about you
Yes to your holy purpose
Yes to your Spirit
Yes to the pain it may bring
Yes to the cross
Yes to the consuming fire- the eyes of love
Yes to all that will bring us into your courts of praise
We say yes to the bread and the wine
Which is bigger, wider, stronger, deeper, louder, and longer than anything this broken world could offer.
We want so much more.
As we call for more of you- we hear you calling for more of us.
And such is the element of communion
You in us
Us in You.
May we waste our lives in a reckless pursuit of You.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

dissatisfied with your church?

hmmmm... I wonder how many times I've heard that... or how many times you or I have said or thought it...

here's an interesting quote from Leadershipjournal.net in a review of Follow Me: A Spiritual Growth Conversation, by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson (Willow Creek Association, 2008)
"...I remain unconvinced that the right question is, "What's the most important thing you want from your church?" This emphasis on an individual's expectations and preferences reveals a core problem in American Christianity—the unchallenged assumption that people can accurately evaluate their church based on whether or not it meets their needs. How does this prevailing attitude alter the biblical purpose of the Church in the world? We are a culture of Christ-followers who pay far too much attention to whether or not our needs are being satisfied. And we have become a culture of church leaders who spend far too much time orienting our ministries around the ever-changing preferences of our people."

"As we mature in Christ, might the goal be to develop a gut-level instinct to give less attention to what we aren't getting from our church? Perhaps a step on the way to growing more Christ-centered is to accept our dissatisfactions instead of assuming they have to be resolved. Churches that spend too much time alleviating their people's dissatisfactions may be nurturing a self-absorbed attitude of the heart that needs to be nailed to the cross."

Having fought my share of worship wars over the years, and leaders who wanted to shift the church direction and/or worship 'style' based on member preferences, I have to give a hearty "A-men!"

Friday, March 06, 2009

holy (Nichole Nordeman)

One of the best live concerts I've ever been to... years ago when she first "made it"... humble spirit, and genuine... similar to this clip, but only her and a piano - no tracks, nothing, just her and a piano, and it was incredible.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

forgiveness and Romans 12:1

Therefore, I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, because of the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy and acceptable to God - which is your spiritual worship.
- Romans 12:1 (translation Marva Dawn)

"Though we have blown it, we need not despair. Forgiveness gives us new hope,... sets us apart as holy,... and sets us free to do pleasing things because we already know that we are pleasing to God..."

- Marva Dawn, "Truly the Community"