Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Am Not Alone

Soon we will be learning a new song called "I Am Not Alone" by Kari Jobe.  It's one that I'm pretty excited about for several reasons.  Lately we have learned several songs that are upbeat and a declaration of our faith in Jesus and what He has done.  For example, "He Has Won" is one of my favorite songs that we do. It declares that Jesus has ultimate victory over death, hell and the grave. But, "I Am Not Alone" is a bit different than what we have recently learned.  First of all, it's nice and mellow.  No screaming electric guitars, no house-shaking drums or crazy synthesizer solos.  It's just a nice, piano led arrangement that's intimate and easy to listen to.  Secondly, the words are so important and remind us so well that we have someone who fights for us, who watches over and protects us and who goes before us.  Here is the chorus:

I am not alone, I am not alone
You will go before me, You will never leave me

Simple, right?  But it's so nice to be reminded through song.  Also here is verse 1:

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I'm standing in the fire I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow I will not fear

Again, it's not extremely deep and we know these things to be true, but they're good to hear.  This particular verse reminds me of Joshua 1:5:  "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.  Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  I will not leave you or forsake you."  What an awesome thought!  The fact that God promises to be with us just as was He was with Moses is amazing!  Moses, who through the power of God parted the waters to deliver the Israelite's from Egypt and who God instructed to set a bronze serpent on a pole so that people might be healed, had God go before him in the very same way that we do.  Talk about a promise!

This song can speak to people in many different ways, but to me, it speaks of God's promise and His faithfulness to us.  To others, this song may come in a time where healing is needed, or a time when a reminder of God's friendship is needed.  I am excited to introduce it to our congregation in May, but until then here is the video to "I Am Not Alone". Enjoy!



Monday, March 21, 2016

Christ Is Risen

“Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death.  Come awake.  Come awake!  Come and rise up from the grave”.  These powerful lyrics are from one of my favorite songs by Matt Maher that shares the title of this blog.  Christ is most certainly risen, and that fact is never more apparent than during the Passover and Easter holidays as we celebrate His death and resurrection.  Matt goes onto deliver what I believe to be some of the most empowering words within the Bible as proclaimed in Hosea 13:14 and then reiterated and redefined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:55:  

“Oh Death, where is your sting?”

      In Hosea, God’s prophet is delivering His message to Israel and Judah as a warning for the coming judgement and ultimate fall of the Samarian kingdom due to their turning away and worship of pagan gods.  In this case, God is bringing the sting of death as He has removed His compassion from the people of Israel due to their unfaithfulness.  Now you might be wondering how I find this to be an empowering statement, it is empowering in how Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians.  When Paul quotes the passage, he is in the process of defending the resurrection as there were some in the church of Corinth who believed in Christ’s resurrection, but not the resurrection of the believers.  Paul reassures us that not only was Christ’s resurrection valid, but our resurrection, without question, is certain.  The song then proclaims:

“Oh Hell, where is your victory?”

      One day, whether we are raptured or raised from the dead, we will be changed from corruptible mortals and will be clothed with incorruptible immortality.  We will awaken and we will rise up from our graves and obtain the victory that has been promised throughout scripture.  “Oh Church, come stand in the light.  Our God is not dead, He’s alive!  He’s alive!”  Yes, Christ died on the cross.  Yes, Christ was placed in the grave.  Yes, Christ descended into Hell.  However, after 3 days He trampled death and He arose from the grave victoriously, just as He had promised. 

      This Easter, I pray that you will be encouraged by our risen Savior.  And just as the song states, “no burden great can hold you down”.  We have the hope and power of Christ in us to persevere and endure anything that we face in this world.  On top of that, He has taken the sting out of death so that those who believe in Him will be able to claim the same victory.  Also, if you haven’t already heard this song, I urge you to check it out and listen to the lyrics as I am sure that the Spirit will empower you with them.


Monday, March 14, 2016

The Young Ones

I was trying to figure out how old I was when I joined the praise team the other day and it made me think about how many young people we have leading worship and working in the church in general now! I joined the Wednesday Night praise team when I was twelve and then joined the regular praise team when I was fifteen. At the time, I think there were only one or two more people under the age of twenty in the praise team. We have added on quite a few more young people in the past couple of years and that greatly encourages me... 

As most of you know, music is my thing. Like a sport or dance or even academics may be other people’s things, well, music is mine. I have always loved to sing and play instruments. It’s what I enjoy. I am grateful that we utilize young people in every aspect at our church and especially in the praise team. It has given me an outlet to do what I love (whether it be singing or playing an instrument) every week. That makes our church stick out. It used to shock people when I would tell them that I was in my church praise team. Around here having young people participate in anything church-wise seems a bit odd. I’m glad we chose to branch out. I love to look onstage and back at the sound area and even see the little guys doing the ushering on Sunday mornings. 

Now that I am getting older it does my heart good to see young people having the opportunity to learn and learn from people who love the Lord. It’s a beautiful thing! So thank you for allowing me to take part and not making me sit and watch the adults do everything. I know that sometimes it can be harder to keep things on track with a bunch of young people, (I have been a contributor to that, I’m sure:)) but I can see that it’s paying off by the looks of admiration and inspiration on the faces of the younger kids when they watch the older ones going about their specific jobs. I pray that upcoming generations will be full of young people who started working and participating in their churches at a young age and will continue to do so throughout their lives, teaching their children to do the same. We’ve got a great thing going at MPBC! All the glory to God! 

“Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity.” ~1 Timothy 4:12


Monday, March 7, 2016

Even So Come

As I was trying to decide on what I was going to write for the
blog this week, I had the thought: What better subject to write on, than one of the things that has affected me the most in my life, music. I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to play music in many places, but most importantly, in church.

When I first began playing in the Praise Team, about a year and a half ago, I was not as close to the Lord. I worried more about whether I was going to mess up, instead of completely focusing on Him. During this past year, I have grown so close to the Lord through music. I learned to feel the music, and to be the song. Once I realized how God was speaking to me through song, my focus quickly faded from the crowd, to my Savior.

One of the songs that affect me the most is, “Even So Come.” The powerful lyrics state:

“Like a bride waiting for her groom, we’ll be a church
Ready for you, every heart longing for our king,
We sing, even so come, Lord Jesus come”

Every time I play/sing this song, new and different emotions flow through me. It has such powerful words, and musicality. The song is a reminder that even through all of our daily hardships/struggles of life, we need to always be ready for Him, and live and worship everyday as if it were our last.