Monday, September 24, 2012

Chips

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
    for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10
Sometimes all we need to do is taste the smallest ounce of the Lord, and we clearly see and remember how good He is. Nothing more than a mere taste. Kinda like Pringles. Once you pop, you just can't stop. You remember. You see. A few small verses or a simple prayer is all it takes. Everyday, all you need to do is taste.

I know that's simple, but that's what has been on my heart for the past few days! With Jeremy's wonderful sermons on broad subjects at Evening Worship, Jim's wonderful series about becoming the best we can in NewSong and my professor's wonderful class times with so much Scripture that I can barely keep up with note-taking, I've experienced and digested so much over the past few weeks about the Lord and His people (and I've heard LOTS of sermons!). If I listen to sermons without craving to know the Lord better, they're useless. All I have to do is taste, and suddenly I'll crave all those things. Like Lay's "I bet you can't eat just one!" (Yes, I do like chips. Apparently.)

Here are the songs we did in NewSong yesterday, September 22nd:
"Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture
"Beautiful Things" by Gungor
"We the Redeemed" by Hillsong
and at 10:40, we also sang "Overcome" by Jeremy Camp
For  offering, we sang Kari Jobe's "Find You on My Knees"

In case you have not heard or read this, click here for the song story for "Beautiful Things". It's such a great song and reading the story behind it makes it even better!

I'll see you guys next week!

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Increase. Decrease.

In case you haven't been in NewSong lately,  Jim has started the new series "The Me I Want to Be" and I've been thoroughly enjoying it! There are so many people, especially Christians, who are always posting encouraging thoughts and pictures on Facebook and saying things that spur you on to be a better person, a harder worker, more relaxed, more wealthy, less greedy, more giving, more in-shape, a better cook, a better employee, a better independent, a better whatever! I know that their little posts are sometimes helpful. So are the little desktop calendars. So are the text messages of encouragement. And the chain emails about being better. And in case you hadn't noticed, the book stores and online book stores are filled with self-help books.

But through all of those things, there are very few "handles" on which you can grab onto and actually spur yourself on to become a better version of yourself. There are tons of Bible verses that help, but when taken out of context and shortened down, it's hard to figure it all out. However, I think Jim has been giving us some good handles on which we can pull ourselves up, with the help of the Lord, to becoming a better version of ourselves.

Sometimes, I get bogged down in not trying hard enough to be a better Christian. Or when I've been really busy with work, laundry, etc., I get to feeling guilty that I didn't take time for Bible study.
My professor this semester keeps repeating John 3:30 "He must increase but I must decrease." A few days ago, I was driving and praying, telling the Lord I was sorry for not studying the Bible before I went to bed the night before. And my guilt started increasing in my heart. I knew that He promised that He is faithful and just to forgive our sins (1 John1:9). He's faithful to love us even when we've been fair weather friends to Him. But even knowing that, my guilt for missing Bible study was growing.

Then I remembered,

He must increase. I must decrease.

I need to get myself out of the way of what He's doing in my life. I need to stop suffocating the process with guilt and frustration that I'm not better. He, and all the good things He's pouring out on me, must increase in my life. I, and all the things that go with me, must decrease.

I let my selfishness go. I let my guilt and apologizing roll away. I decreased myself and let His presence and forgiveness increase in my heart.  So now on days when I haven't measured up to what I feel like I should be, I remember, "He must increase. I must decrease." I'll never be the best me if I'm full of myself. The more I think on Him, pray, worship and talk with God, the better me I'll become.

This past week in worship, we sang these songs:
"Cannons" by Phil Wickham
"One Thing Remains" by Kristian Stanfill
"Jesus, Son of God" by Chris Tomlin
and for offering, my favorite of the day,
"Your Great Name" by Natalie Grant (her acoustic version is available on iTunes as well!)


And with that, I'm looking forward to hearing what Jim has to say on Sunday about taking our thoughts captive to Christ! He, Jeremy and I talked about how hard that truly is, and so I'm looking forward to what he has to say!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vacation=New Music.

Well!
I'm back!
After a few weeks of being "off', it was nice to be back in NewSong like normal last Sunday!
Carlos Whittaker was here and did an amazing job leading us in worship and I loved getting to hear more from him. And then I went off to North Carolina with the family and the boyfriend and enjoyed a fun Labor Day weekend. While I was gone that week, Landon led worship, which is such a blessing and special treat. And I'm really thankful that he's so happy to lead for me!

The family, the boyfriend, the church!
That Sunday, while we were in North Carolina, we all went to JD's home church, Mountain Grove UMC in his hometown, Morganton, NC. It's a tiny church that is over 150 years old! The members there are incredibly sweet and welcoming. It's a small congregation, around 25 per week, which is a completely different environment from Christ UMC! The amazing thing about the Body of Christ is that even though it's a completely different environment in that smaller church, Christ binds us together deeply. It feels as if you're going to a cousin's house. You're not there all the time and it's a little unfamiliar, but the familial values are apparent and strong, and everyone is welcoming. So we had a great time and they all were so happy to see JD!

Since I didn't have to pick any worship songs for the past few weeks, I've been able to download some new music and sift through it a little. Part of my job as worship leader is to pick through worship songs that are presented to me and find what's good for us to sing together. I really study and grade songs on a hard curve. If there is any question in the lyrics, I don't want us to sing it. So sometimes, I can knit-pick and forget to enjoy the music.
But since I wasn't grading the songs, I was able to really enjoy and sing along to some new tunes. So I'd like to share some of those with you today, just in case you're looking for some good new Christian/worship music!

Paul Baloche, one of my favorite singer/songwriters and worship leaders has put out a new album called The Same Love. Confession time: A few of songs have some good beats and I've been car-dancing to them a lot while driving! This album isn't pop, country, rock, acoustic or any other typical genre. It's just Paul Baloche. And I love it! Kathryn Scott and Kari Jobe sing on the album and they are incredible.


Chris August just released his second album The Upside of Down. I've been excited about this album for a while because I loved his first album so much. Now that I've gotten it, honestly, it wasn't what I expected, but it's GOOD! The lyrics are coming from a deeper place with more honesty and less poetic hiding than most Christian artists are will to expose. One song, "Restore" really hit home because of the past few years. It's about marriage and the struggle to stay together sometimes. I'm not married, but I've seen enough divorce to know that this song needs to be sung and heard.

For a throwback, I got Steven Curtis Chapman's Re:creation. On this album, he included some new songs and re-created some of his older songs. SCC is a little old school for my style, but he's got some good lyrics and catchy melodies. And let's face it: we all know that I'm a sucker for a good acoustic album. I've been caught dancing while drying my hair to this one. Plus, one of my favorite new songs is "Long Way Home" which is on the radio now and on the album!

For one that's not exactly worship music, Dave Barnes' album Stories to Tell is really, really, really, really good. I'm not exactly sure what to write about it, which isn't good, because I'm writing about it currently. But all I know is that I love it. If you're looking for something a bit different, this is it. There are a few songs that you can tell he wrote when considering his wife and so it's nice to hear some "love songs" (ew.. that just makes me cringe, but I don't know another way to say it) that are still Christ-centered, but not ashamed in how he feels about her.

And for one more, a song that I can't get out of my head and can't stop singing. "Jesus at the Center" by Israel Houghton (Israel & New Breed). This song has brought me to worship more times than I can count in the past week. The lyrics are simple but deep. Every time that I got frustrated because I felt as if I had been wronged, I've listened to the first line and been reminded that Jesus is at the center of it all. Not me. I always need to be humbled by Him and this song challenges me every time I listen to it.

So now that I've shared a little about some songs that I love, here are some more songs that I love because I got to sing them with all of you last week:
September 9th:
"Savior's Here" by Kari Jobe
"Cornerstone" by Hillsong Live (definitely one of my favorite new worship songs!)
"A Mighty Fortress" by Christy Nockels
and for offering "Remind Me Who I Am" by Jason Gray

And when Landon led, he led the following songs on September 2nd:
"God is Able" by Hillsong
"Hosanna" by Hillsong
"Overcome" by New Life Worship (or Jeremy Camp)
"Healer" by Kari Jobe (or Hillsong)

 and "Lord I Need You" by Chris Tomlin.

Have a great week and I'll see you next Sunday morning!!