An honest confession: I’m incredibly proud of yesterday’s service.
There were two moments where that made me proud as an artist and a pastor.
The first was the Oasis trailer. One of the goals for the Oasis Conference is that we’d all be refreshed by the end. So, I decided to play up the beach theme and there you have it…
As the video was drawing to a close I heard audible sighs of relief and then people giggling as they realized that multiple people sighed.
That was a nice, proud moment.
Oasis is going to be amazing. The conference is Thursday and Friday, August 6th and 7th from 3p-9p. The cost is $25 which covers dinner both nights, snacks, printed materials, liscencing and more…
Right now, while you’re thinking about it, register here: newsongchurch.com/oasis
This weekend we sang:
- “Psalm 100” by Chris Tomlin
- “Glory to God Forever” by Fee
- “If You Wash Us (Psalm 51)” by Tommy Welty (New!)
- “Forgiven Forever” by Glenn Packiam
- “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham
Please consider purchasing these to support the artists. Well, except for one. If you’d like to listen to it this week email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a VERY rough demo.
There’s a line in “Glory to God Forever” that makes all the hands go up in the air: “Take my life and let it be all for you and for your glory!” Which is a great and dangerous prayer. But to be honest, it makes me uncomfortable.
There are times when I’m singing that line where I think to myself, “My life has a special purpose.” That’s right, as I’m worshipping God I’m tempted to think about my life and its great purpose. #ironic
But when I encounter the glory of God a spotlight shines deep into my heart and reveals all the uglies that I hide deep down there. God takes my life and I’m first undone, it is too unbearable to behold.
God’s glory shouldn’t first lead to mission, but to confession. Or, it should. It might not be God’s glory if it doesn’t. It might just be emotions.
I wrote “If You Wash Us (Psalm 51)” years ago and have been too nervous to introduce it for two reasons. First, I’m a coward. Secondly, the lyrical content is a tough pill to swallow. Every week I try and add an element of confession or an acknowledgement of sin, but usually it’s couched in the lyrics or a prayer. And usually I try and soften the blow – also cowardly.
As we were singing I felt the weight of my sin pressing me down. There was no room to think, “Hey! This past week I did alright. I’m a pretty okay guy. Aren’t you impressed God?” No softening the blow.
But as the bridge (“For the sake of Your son, Jesus Christ, have mercy and forgive us…”) built to its climax and released into the Doxology (“Praise God from whom all blessing flow…”) I felt the catharsis of the Spirit revealing my sin and showing me the Cross that removed it from me.
I was reminded of a scene from CS Lewis’ “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:”
“Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”
Bryan Chappel writes in his book, “Christ-Centered Worship:”
We run to his arms with our sin-sick hearts because we know that there is grace sufficient, boundless, and free already there. We repent because we are forgiven, not to gain forgiveness. In our confession we experience God’s love because we confront out sin with the greatness of mercy that is already ours through faith in Christ, but we do not earn, gain, or force God’s pity by the words or weight of our confession.
So we sang “Forgiven Forever” to remember there is nothing we do, or leave undone, that can separate us from the love found in Christ Jesus. No angel, no devil, nor my best effort could. Because of the blood of Christ shed on the cross we are forgiven forever.