Tag Archives: gospel

Squashing Religious Hindrances: The Ragamuffin Gospel (Book Review)

Far too often the truth of God’s grace has been polluted with legalism, rules and religion, hindering the children of God from the fullness of a life-giving, intimate relationship with their Creator-Father, from receiving the acceptance and love purchased for them by Christ on Calvary.

I recently read a book that helps fight against this battle which so often hinders one’s relationship with Christ and Father God. This book, The Ragamuffin Gospel by the late Brennan Manning, is a must read book that brings us back to this central truth of the Gospel of grace. Continue reading

Amazed by His Spirit’s Leading

I have a God story to tell today. :)

If you are familiar with the song Dance With Me, you know that the song comes from Song of Solomon and refers to God as “the Lover of our souls.”

Before we sang it this morning, our contemporary service worship leader had something to read to our congregation. As he began reading, I started to think that it was sounding awfully familiar and emotion began to flood my heart. I had written it! It was posted on my blog!

It turns out that our worship leader had no idea that it was my writing as inspired by the Lord. Later on, I shared with him and another friend in the car about how it blessed me that God used something I had written. It was then that he remarked that he didn’t know I’d written it, and  had “stumbled” upon it via a search engine.

I was blessed, humbled and loved on by God as part of this post was read to our congregation, and that God would use it in my very church, without myself or the other worship leader knowing it beforehand. What unity that is–totally a God-thing, uniting with our hearts! How amazing our God is!

I am greatly blessed that something God’s teaching me could be used by Him for others. It was just… that God would use something like that, the mere outpouring of one’s heart. I am humbled. And I am praying that God will bring us closer and closer to Him as a church, as His beloved children!

Early service:

  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Neale/Coffin, Plainsong adapt. by Helmore)
  • The Savior Is Waiting (Carmichael)
  • I Need Thee Every Hour (Hawks/Lowry)
  • Choir: All the Earth Will Worship (Bible/Fettke/Kingsmore)
  • Offertory: Holy Spirit, Rain Down (R. Fragar)

Contemporary service:

  • You Are Good (Houghton)
  • Rain Down (Martin Smith/Stuart Garrard)
  • Freedom (Bushard)
  • Dance With Me (Chris Dupree)
  • You Won’t Relent (Misty Edwards)

This post is apart of Sunday Setlists – click the link to see others’ setlists.

God Believes in You

This post is apart of Sunday Setlists.

Some highlights from the message today:

  • Our God is a God of second chances! Just ask Jonah, and countless other Christians here today!
  • Hearing testimony through a song written and song by a woman visiting our church today who’s come out of addiction, and also a man who is a Katrina hurricane survivor.
  • God believes in us more than we believe in ourselves!
  • If you’re alive, it isn’t too late, no matter how far away from God you’ve gotten. He is a God of second chances!
  • God is in control of every single circumstance in our lives!

I think today God was doing some powerful things, though unseen to our eyes. God is working for sure.

Early service:

  • Lead Me to Calvary (Hussey/Kirkpatrick)
  • At the Cross (Hudson/Watts)
  • How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Townend)
  • I’m Forever Grateful (Altrogge)
  • Choir: Calvary Is the Sea (Alexander/Clark/Wood, arranged by Sterling)
  • Ladies Ensemble: We Are the Body of Christ (Brown/Hampton)
  • Response: Cleanse Me (Orr/Maori melody arranged by Douglas)

Went speechless today especially after all of the songs reminding us of God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Almost couldn’t pray prior to the offering time. Wow, God, I can’t believe You even care about me. I’m so not worth it–none of us are–but dang, You love us so!!

Contemporary service:

  • Mansion (Springer)
  • Freedom (Bushard)
  • Everybody Praise the Lord (Brewster)
  • Send the Fire (Booth)
  • Show Your Power (Prosch)
  • ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus (Kirkpatrick/Stead)
  • What Only You Can Do (Edwards)

Lover of God, Lover of My Soul?

A lot of believers can get uncomfortable when they hear the word “lover” in relation to God, and I have been there myself as well. However, I have been growing in the understanding of just what it means to say that we are lovers of God.

The world has absolutely ruined the connotation of the word “lover.” It has nothing to do with how one views a physical love relationship as the world sees it. It’s also not one some “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” phrase that people often say it is.

Being a lover of God relates to us as believers growing to delight in Him and His will, seeking to live for Him in all aspects of our lives. It means loving Him and His will above ourselves and our own desires, seeking to give Him all our hearts and all our lives.

Being a lover of God means loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It means that we love what He stands for, and that we love His Word and truth. It means we love His will and seek to do it. It is living the teachings of Jesus and trusting in Him for salvation. It is seeking His Kingdom and righteousness first with all our beings.

“If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35 Amplified)

Jesus As Lover of Our Souls

Jesus being called the Lover of our soul is also something that can make some people uncomfortable, but it is so true: God loves our souls more than anyone else! After all, He displayed His love by taking the sins of the entire world upon Himself, dying as a sacrifice to pay the price for for us so that we could live free from the debt of sin, sickness and death (John 3:16-17). So of course He loves our soul! This also is not a “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” connotation. Not at all. This is part of the Gospel and the relationship we are meant to have with Jesus, one of intimacy and true love, not love as the world knows it.

Servant of All by Misty Edwards

I wanna be Your lover, so show me how to go lower [that is, how to be humble]
For in the depths I will find You where You’re serving my brother.

I wanna be with You where You are, I wanna be with You where You are
I wanna be with You where You are, You’re the servant of all.

I’m in love with a King who became a slave,
I’m in love with a God who is humble.
You gotta go down if you wanna go up,
And you’ve gotta go lower if you wanna go higher and higher,
Well you’ve gotta hide and do it in secret if you wanna be seen by God.

Cause it’s the inside outside upside down kingdom
Where you lose to gain and you die to live.
[emphasis mine]

—–
(Chris J. also shared a blog post today on loving God: Every Fiber of Your Being.)

Fixed on Jesus

There is such a longing growing in me. A longing for God. A longing to pray night and day, to seek Him at all hours. A longing to worship Him with all my heart, all focus completely and utterly on Him. To be so in tune with God and for Him to be glorified in every moment, every place, every day.

Maybe it’s a longing for me to be living in Christ more and more deeply each day. I know that God is guiding me there: “…He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Maybe it’s partly the groaning that Paul speaks of in Romans 8:23: “…we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”

Let me dive in more and more, Lord.

I’m one of those creative types to whom the “atmosphere” where I read, write, sing and seek, or the people I am pursuing God alongside, makes all the difference. It doesn’t feel like it should exactly be this way (after all, God is with us wherever we go (Psalm 139:8), but it’s there.

Leaving home to study or write in a cafe is a helpful change of pace and place. Getting out of the usual place and pace of things can help me be even more deeply focused.

At times this comes by gathering with friends to seek God in intercession and worship. All  of us know that there is power in gathering with other believers to unite in prayer and to worship Jesus!

I want to live a life of continual and intentional focus on God and the mission of Christ. I don’t know how, except to let His Word penetrate deeply, and to just go for it–to seek after Him! Just to press in, seeking God with all I can muster at any given moment–yet not getting caught up in striving–but being still, knowing that He is God (Psalm 46:10), that He is my God–the lover of my soul–who wants me all for Himself and for His glory. I want to be that. I want to be solely fixed on the One and Only Giver of life (Jeremiah 32:38-40). I want to be steadfast, focusing on the One Thing–the One–Jesus Christ!

That is my prayer.

“O GOD, my heart is fixed (steadfast, in the confidence of faith); I will sing, yes, I will sing praises, even with my glory [all the faculties and powers of one created in Your image]!”
(Psalm 108:1 Amplified)

“Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.”
(Colossians 2:7 Amplified)