Friday, November 2, 2007

Your Light Has Come

Okay, I put a rough recording of 'Your Light Has Come' up on www.myspace.com/joelwinters. The purpose of this is so you can hear the melody. It is not so you will be in awe of my mad recording skills!


To further comment on the song and the passage in Isaiah: This idea of being radiant is uplifting and exciting. "Raise your eyes and look around: they all gather and come to you; your sons will come from far away, and your daughters will be carried on the hip. Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will tremble and rejoice..." (Is. 60:4-5a) This radiance takes place when God is with us. Emmanuel! We are becoming like Him because we are created in His likeness. When He dwells in and among us and we in Him we become more like Him! We are radiant, Emmanuel!

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Song Kick

Occasionally I get on these song writing kicks. They last about a month and I write about 15 songs (2 of them might be presentable) and then it just goes away. So, I try to take advantage of the inspirational deluge. I have no idea what sparks the momentum. It would be easy to blame it on the Holy Spirit but I'm sure it has something to do with my current circumstance as well. A lot of times sermons will give me ideas. Sometimes a pastor will make a point and it will strike a chord in me and I'll start scribbling on an offering envelope. I usually miss the rest of the message so I try to make sure those songs are worth while.

Last night the praise band from church played at a Halloween extravaganza for one of our off-campus ministries. We dredged up a song I wrote this past week called "Your Light Has Come". It is my first attempt at writing a song for Advent. It is taken from these two passages...

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, 2 for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. 3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent — Jesus Christ. 4 I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed.

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD shines over you. 2 For look, darkness covers the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the LORD will shine over you, and His glory will appear over you. 3 Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your radiance.
4 Raise your eyes and look around: they all gather and come to you; your sons will come from far away, and your daughters will be carried on the hip. 5 Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will tremble and rejoice...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So...here it is - Your Light Has Come

We are confident in this:
That eternal life is knowing You,
The only true God.
We are confident in this:
That eternal life is knowing You,
And the Son that You have sent.

We rejoice! Your children rejoice!
For Your Light has come,
The Light of Christ has come!

Though the darkness covers us,
It cannot overcome the Light, As You shine over us,
In Your glory.
We will lift our eyes to You,
To Your radiance O Lord, And glorify
The only God who reigns!

We rejoice! Your children rejoice!
For Your Light has come,
The Light of Christ has come!

The Son gives You glory,
So we give You glory,
And nations will come to Your Light,
And kings to You brightness!

We are radiant, Emmanuel! Hallelujah!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will put up a recording soon on myspace. May the God Who Is With Us grant you peace from on high!

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Healer of the Broken

God of Mercy, we need you now,
Hold us up with Your power,
Holy Spirit, comfort us,
As we cry to You.

Let Your grieving children come,
To Your glory and be filled,
With peace, peace,
That passes understanding.

You're the Healer of the broken,
You're the Healer of the broken,
You're the Healer of the broken,
So we'll rest in You.

God of Hope, we trust in You,
Rescue us, O Christ,
Let the wounded ones arise,
And shout Your praise.

How long, how wide,
And how high,
Is the deep, deep Love of Jesus?

You've rescued us, and redeemed us,
With the blood of Your Son,
You have called us to be Your people,
So hold us up, hold us up,
Hold us up with You Love.

Ephesians 3

14
For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I wrote this the other day as I was preparing for a service in which our church will dedicate a child that passed away earlier this year. The God of creation has shown His power mightily in our congregation over the past year. He has corrected actions, healed hurts, reconciled relationships, given guidance and provided in ways we could never have imagined. We have seen first hand that the Lord's promises are true. Still, we must pray for peace in the midst of things we cannot understand. I love verse 21 of Ephesians 3: "to Him be the glory in the church..." Lord we pray this in our generation!

Grace and Peace,
Joel

P.S. You can listen to a scratch recording of this at http://www.myspace.com/joelwinters

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Wedding

A Father's Love: Saturday evening, my wife and I attended a wedding. Ordinarily these events are less than exhilarating for me. I was fatigued, my spirit gaunt. But, friends are friends, and these particular friends were more than worthy of our presence. As the service (I say service because the word ceremony would be inappropriate) began the musicians played the well known hymn "How Deep The Father's Love For Us." The entire wedding party entered during the song with the bride entering last. It was lovely and if one was present and thinking his thoughts would have been spurred to ponder the deep love of the Father for His Son's Bride. Even if one was not thinking about this while the bride walked in, the minister spoke to it blatantly and beautifully. The words from the hymn were crafted into the message as he charged the bride and groom to love one another unconditionally.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my Mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished,
His dying breath has Brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything;
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ;
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.


There is a Fountain: After the exchange of vows and rings, bride and groom
embark to complete their first action as a married couple. It is an act of worship. A centering. The musicians sing "There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood." The attention of the assembly is arrested by the awe-filling act of communion. The body broken. The blood spilled out. The sacrifice that initiated our reconciliation, our hope to worship the everlasting God. The Lamb has plunged His Bride beneath the cleansing flood. The ransomed Church of God is being saved to sin no more. Marriage is worship. Marriage tells the story of God's salvation.

God of mercy, grant us grace that we may tell your story faithfully.

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Caution...

O children of the the Living God, carefully guard your heart and mind because Ideology so easily becomes Idolatry.

...But seek first his Kingdom and his Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33


Grace and Peace,
Joel

Thursday, July 26, 2007

η αληθεια

The Truth never changes and it is always changing us. Or so it should be in us.

I was talking with a man the other day about church. We were discussing ways to get more people to show up. The question always tends to come up; "what are the people looking for?" The thing about people who do not know Jesus is they do not know what they are looking for. Should we let people's preferences dictate to us what we should be doing in church? I fear that if this is the case then we will have to dismiss the Gospel from our gathering. You see, the Gospel is uncomfortable, offensive even. We cannot expect sinners to walk into a service, be confronted with the Truth, walk away and feel comfortable. At first encounter it is possible, even likely, one would not interpret Christ's redemptive work as an act of love. Remember, the world's idea of majesty is far different from the King of kings, bloodied and suffocating, on a cross. This takes time to comprehend. Even seasoned believers cannot expect to fully understand the scope of the Gospel.

I wonder if the feeling of un-acceptance or of being un-loved that is often spoken of is in reality a misinterpretation of a feeling of conviction.

No matter what we do to appeal to our culture's senses we can never make this Gospel pretty. It is harsh and dirty. The most majestic choral anthems, the most dramatic dances, the best cappuccino, the most colorful and stimulating media presentations will never do anything to change the reality and true majesty of Calvary. Instead of changing the face of the Truth with our aesthetically pleasing elements of worship we should let the Truth change the way we live our worship in community.

The lost and unsaved do not need to be made comfortable, they need to be set free. "...you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:32


Grace and Peace,
Joel

Monday, July 23, 2007

Question?s

How do we worship God when He has taken away?
When is it easier to worship faithfully; in God's giving or His taking?
Why should we struggle with our faith when we have been denied what we think we need when we daily deny God what He deeply desires from us? (obedience, communion, fellowship, a relationship)
Why do we worship at all?

I want some answers.

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

When Jesus was in the wilderness he was tempted in three different ways. He had been fasting and the Devil suggested He turn a stone to bread to eat. Jesus replied with Scripture. 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.' Two other times the Devil tempted Him and both times He replied with the Word of God. The Word is our defense in the hour of temptation. When I was younger and struggling with a particular sin, the Abecedary told me to focus on specific Bible verses in the moments of my temptation. Jesus said that we do not live by bread, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. If we examined ourselves in light of this truth we would see that we have no need for the the things we are tempted by. We do not need that second plate of food. We do not need to spend the extra twenty dollars on another shirt. We do need to self indulge. We need every Word.

In planning for congregational worship I spend a lot of time thinking about which songs to use. I spend more time doing this than focusing on the Scriptures we use for worship each week. Have we given in to idolatry? Have we made our worship about music? Maybe we should spend more time in silence before the Almighty in corporate worship, listening for Him to speak into our being. Certainly there is time to lift our voices in praise. But there should also be time for reverent silence before the King of kings. Let the Word breathe in you before you breathe a word.

If our focus is on the Holy and our hearts are set toward the Kingdom and our desire the missio Dei our time and affections will be occupied in such a way that the temptations of the enemy will be of little significance. In a sense we will be too busy to get into trouble. I believe my grandmother always said that an idle mind is the Devil's playground. I say that a mind set on idolatry is his glory.

O Lord, help us to not make careless utterances before Your throne. Let Your Word be imbued on our hearts and lips that the 'Words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing to You our Rock and Redeemer.'


Grace and Peace,
Joel

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Forgiven So We Can Forgive

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

John 8 gives us the account of Jesus encountering the adulterous woman and her accusers. They were ready to condemn her to death. They stood with stones raised. Jesus, as He does for us, stood in her defense. He said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." The teachers and Pharisees began to walk away. Jesus asked her if anyone had remained to condemn her. He was there, He knew no one had, but He wanted her to say it out loud. "No one," she said. "Then neither do I," He said.

I think that it is significant that Jesus wanted the woman to say for herself that no one had stayed. There is power in our open confession. We should not hesitate to confess the truth to the Father of Truth. Even when the truth of our confession requires the owning of our sin. It always seems easy to confess God's goodness. It is not so easy to confess our sin.

Understanding that we all are sinners, saved by grace through faith, it is important for us to confess corporately our desperate need for God's mercy. Jesus, by His redemptive work on the cross has become the Lord of our shame. He has taken it from us in His mercy. Our God, Yahweh, is both merciful and just. This is a paradox by human standards. It would seem unjust to show mercy to a criminal. God in His goodness poured out His justice on His Son in order to pour out His mercy on us. Without this we would be sinners in the hands of a just God, deserving only of His wrath.

"Man of Sorrows," what a name for the Son of God who came; ruined sinners to reclaim, Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Ephesians 1:7 says "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." Just as we know how to love because of God's love for us, so we know how to forgive because we have been forgiven. For there is no good in us except that which is the Spirit of Almighty God.

Luke 7:36-50 tells the story of another adulterous woman. This one anointed Jesus' feet with perfume, washed them with her tears, dried them with her hair. The Pharisee was angry. "Don't you know what kind of a woman this is?" he said. Jesus then showed how she had done naught but worship and love Him since she walked into the room for she had been forgiven of much sin. If the Pharisee had only realized that he too had much sin to be forgiven of, perhaps his response would have been similar to the woman's. Is our response that of those forgiven of much? Do we love as people who have been loved much? Do we forgive as those who have been forgiven of much? Do we worship as children forgiven of much?

Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison; for the sin in our hearts and heads, for the poison on our lips and the blood on our hands. Have mercy on us, O God of our Salvation.

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Panem nostrum cotidiànum da nobis hòdie

Give us today our daily bread.

I recommend reading John 6:22-59 before proceeding with this post. Here is a quick link for you. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/

Enough: This past Sunday evening we sang together a song called Enough. Many of you have probably heard it before. I used to have a problem with the words. "All of you is more than enough for all of me..." I thought the text just did not do justice to the depth of the Almighty's provision for us. But, when did our words ever truly capture the overwhelming magnificence of the King? He is more than enough. If He was only just enough, that would be enough. You see? He is all we need because we are completely dependent on Him.

Draw Near: In John 6 Jesus teaches that He is the living bread. No one who comes to Him will ever be hungry, none who believes in Him will ever be thirsty. To truly be fed we must come to the Word that became Flesh. That dwelt among. That laid down it's life for those welcomed as friends. "This teaching is hard," said some of His disciples. It is also encouraging I say. The daily bread is free. Just be drawn to your King and let His glory fill you. He is enough for you.

Personal: While I am largely thinking towards corporate worship, this is the place where our daily, personal worship is challenged. If you worship daily in word and deed, your corporate worship will be more faithful because your relationship with the Triune God will be more complete and in right standing. Call on the Name daily. Honor the Name daily. Bless the Name daily. Sing a new song daily. Let praises ring from your heart and lips daily. Worship with a smile. Remember: Spirit and Truth.

All glory, laud, and honor to the Bread of Life.

Grace and Peace,
Joel


Proverbs 30: 7 "Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:

8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Will

"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

What is God's will? How do we do His will? If God is all-powerful, won't His will be done regardless of our actions? In worship, it is God's will that His people worship Him faithfully, honoring His name as holy, being the Kingdom, worshiping in Spirit and in Truth, singing New Songs, singing Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, worshiping the Lord with gladness, worshiping Him with loud cymbals and stringed instruments, with trumpets, with our voices, with our whole beings (with run-on sentences).

Most of all, it is God's will that we worship Him with our lives; "Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12) This may be the clearest instruction of how to worship in all the Scriptures. Worship of the Almighty is more than a song. Again I say to you that our lives are demanded to be faithful worshipers as citizens of God's Kingdom.

How can we worship with a song if we do not first worship with our lives?

God's Will? John 6:38-40 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Christ is quite clear as to what His Father's will was for Him. If we are to be conformed to Jesus' image and in being conformed, exalt the Father as He did, then our worship should (and will) point others to the Way of salvation through Christ Jesus. This is a natural occurrence that we do not have to force when we worship faithfully. This is because faithful worship lifts high the Name of Jesus and the Truth of His life of love.

Until every knee bows, let us not be silent. And if the rocks cry out, let us sing even still! Amen and amen.

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Allegiance

In the second subject of the model prayer we encounter the phrase, "Your Kingdom come..." What does it mean for the Almighty's Kingdom to come? The first thing we take from the mention of kingdom is the kingship, or, kingliness of God. An American society seems not to cope with a king well. We love the right, the freedom, to vote and to feel like we take part in decisions made. We have some sense of control over our lives because we have a right to our own opinion. But this does not seem to fit into a kingly politic.

Do you ever stop to ask yourself where your allegiance lies? Have you ever thought about your worship as it relates to the Kingdom of God? If we were to juxtapose God's Kingdom with our earthly government we would realize that both demand allegiance. Both demand something from us. America has given us a contract that says our taxes buy us protection, some health care, and citizenship... God's Kingdom has offered a covenant. The covenant says that the Kingdom would send forth it's ambassador. The spotless Lamb. The Lamb would lay down His life, and take away the sin of the world. Free. No taxes. Citizenship in this Kingdom means we live an abundant life of magnification, service, and sacrifice. The great Love poured out through the Lamb demands devotion of our whole being. Small price to pay for the benefits of being a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

"Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."

In our worship it is important to magnify the One God alone. Does the magnification of an earthly kingdom have any place in the Church's worship? We are citizens of two governments; earthly and heavenly. With which does our true allegiance lie? Render unto Caesar what is his. God wants our devotion though. God is jealous of His glory. He alone is worthy of it. Next time you approach the Throne in worship, think of yourself as a pilgrim on a journey home. You are here, you obey the laws of the land you are in, but your true allegiance lies with the King of glory. The Almighty. The One who was, is, and is to come.

Oh Lord, come quickly.

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Faithful Ones

This morning in worship, a friend and I sang The Lord's Prayer which is a musical setting of the Model Prayer found in Mathew 6. I've heard this prayer one thousand times at least (not exaggerating). The staff at our church has been doing a lot of thinking about said Model Prayer and it's implications for our supplications. What implications does it have for our worship? We'll come back to that.

I got to thinking this evening about what is necessary in our corporate worship (the Preceptor can be so thought provoking). Our church played hostess to a most wonderful group from Benton, AR. called Pure Energy. All teenagers, 112 of them, they sang for us and led our congregation in glorious praise. Our students chimed in as well. It was magnificent. When 130 teenagers are singing in one voice to the glory of God it is hard to ignore. It felt great. I'm sure you're thinking, "Wow, The Lord's Prayer in the morning service and a choir concert in the evening, those folks have got it going on!" Well, perhaps we do have it going on. We're sure feeling good about it too. What is necessary in our worship? Certainly all this glorious music is. Surely a wonderful choir anthem each Sunday morning is required. The drums most certainly should not be heard. A nice instrumental number for the weekly offering. A quarterly observance of the Lord's Supper (don't want it to become monotonous, and please do not call it Communion or Eucharist). We need a good long and loud sermon with some warm and fuzzy illustrations (hope preacher man makes us laugh this week). A scripture reading. A prayer (not a corporate one though, it feels too...umm...liturgical?) And our music leader better play the guitar, because that looks good these days. And, MOST IMPORTANTLY, it BETTER make ME FEEEEEL GOOOOOD!

Someone once said to me that they did not feel like we should have the Lord's Supper each week. I told this person that I did not feel like I took part in true worship unless I did take Communion. My friends, God is not concerned in the least with how we feel about our worship.

In the discussion of style in worship there are many sides to take. As a worship leader one must make many decisions about what to sing, read and pray each week. As a worshiper there is but one decision to make: Will my worship be faithful or unfaithful? God calls us to be faithful. He expects and accepts nothing less.

The first part of the Model Prayer says, "Your name be honored as holy." The Psalms repeatedly command us to bless the Name of the Lord, Yahweh. The Name, the Name, the Name. Job blessed the Name of the Lord in his anguish. God does not just take the blessing of His Name seriously. It is necessary for Faithful worship.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. O Lord, help us to honor Your Name as holy. Help us not to take Your name upon ourselves vainly, rather, teach us to carry it with honor and love. Put within us a passion to see Your name glorified, high and lifted up and exalted above all blessing and praise (Nehemiah 9:5). You alone are worthy of Your glory.

May we be found as the faithful ones.

Grace and Peace,
Joel

Monday, April 30, 2007

Lift Up Your Head, O Worshiper


The phrase, "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so," has been in my mind a lot lately. I got to thinking about the old song that many of us know that repeats the words over and over again. Its funny how childhood works it's way into our adulthood.

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say this—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. [a] 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.


We all come before the Lord thirsty and hungry. Each one of us is filled with the Cup and the Bread that satisfies our whole being for all time. Each one that partakes. Since I have been redeemed, I will glory in His name. It is in the nature of the redeemed to worship the Redeemer.

Before the rocks cry out,
Before the rocks cry out,
Lift up Your head, O worshiper,
The King of Glory comes.

Grace and Peace,
joel

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Once Upon A Time

Growing Pains: Just a couple of years ago (when I was much younger:) I had a strong opinion about my calling for ministry. I felt strongly that I was not supposed to work in a local church. In fact, I believed my only connection to the local church would be one of support from the church, without me doing anything in return (other than attaching my ever so prestigious name to it). I'm sure many of my motives were pure and honest. I know many of them weren't. Its hard to get famous leading worship in the same congregation each week. The Preceptor sat and waited patiently, for years really, for me to 'grow up' (my own words). Thinking about ME two years ago makes me scared of what I'll think of the current ME two years from now.

Conversion: Before I married I took a position as a worship leader in a part-time capacity at a church. I married during my time there. My wonderful wife and I spent a lot of time frustrated with "church." Things just didn't gel. It was supposed to be glorious. It was meager at best for our paradigm. But subtly a shift took place inside of me. I started to lose my thinking of how church is 'supposed' to look. The global Church became more important to me. I started to see the local church as part of the global Church. All Creatures Of Our God And King, Lift Up Your Vioce And With Us Sing. What I've found is that the more I care for the global Church, the more important the local church is to me. The Body is made up of many members: great and small.

God-Sized: I get tired of these hook-phrases. Some friends of mine and I were on our way back to the Rock from Hot Springs after driving to a church, only to find that the worship event we were supposed to lead in had been canceled. All of our gear was in the back of a Ford f-150 pickup, no tarp, it was rainy. We were thrilled to say the least. Out on I-30, between Malvern and Benton we were passed and splashed by a huge RV pulling a large trailer. The trailer and RV had matching flashy paint jobs with some fancy, new-wave Christian symbolism (definitely not against symbolism, just let me finish the story). The text on the side of the RV read: "Doing God-Sized Things." As you may imagine this started a bit of a discussion in the cab of the truck. The rain kept coming. The gear was fine when we got home though. Thanks be to God.
  • A water jug
  • Five loaves, two fishes
  • Gideon's army
  • David, before he was king
  • Moses'/God's rod
  • Thorns and nails
  • Pierced flesh
  • "Let the little children come unto me..."
  • A young virgin
  • A carpenter
  • Saul/Paul
  • A cross of wood
  • The early church
  • St. Patrick
  • Lottie Moon
  • St. Francis
  • Zacheous
  • A heart, willing to worship in obedience

I am having to learn to lay aside what I think is God-sized, and learn that in God's Kingdom, and in God's hands, the weak are made strong through His power and for His purpose.

Grace and Peace,

joel

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

O lux

This evening I attended a Ouachita Singers concert in Arkadelphia, AR. I had a lot on my mind as I made the one hour drive from Maumelle to Arkadelphia. I was torn inside with disappointment, joy, anxiousness, conviction (that from the Spirit), and my lunch from the Chinese buffet. I'm learning to never ask the Lord to teach me patience. It's too unnerving.

After arrival, greetings, introductions, secret cringes and tears, I sat down with a dear friend to enjoy the concert. During the first half these words kept appearing and re-appearing: O lux. The first song, O lux beatissima, is one that I sang when I was in Singers. I had forgotten it until the first note. Then I was lost in it. O Light most blessed, fill the inmost heart of all Thy faithful. Without Your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful. "Nothing that is not harmful." I thought about all that is in me, and that which has come from me, that is nothing but harmful. Blessed be the Light that gives us grace. I recieved the Father's grace tonight.

The only song on the program that wasn't performed is called, O nata lux. I really wanted to hear it. Here's why;

O born Light of light, Jesus redeemer of the world, mercifully deem worthy and accept the praises and prayers of Your supplicants. Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh for the sake of the lost ones, grant us to be made members of Your Holy Body.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain for the Lost Ones.

grace and peace,
joel

Cantate Domino

Psalm 96:1 says to "Sing a new song to the LORD; sing to the LORD, all the earth." The Psalmist commands us to sing a new song four different times. Isaiah gives the command one time. Four other passages (twice in the Psalms, twice in the Revelation) the Bible speaks of a New Song either in our hearts or on our lips.

Grace and Peace,
joel