Today is the first guest post featured here, and I’m super pumped. Steve led an awesome worship set this past weekend and here are some of his thoughts on the matter. So without further ado…
Well this is a first FROM me and a first FOR Tommy I believe. It’s an honor to be able to lead God’s people in worship of Him on a Sunday morning, and an honor to share with you the story behind the music. Tommy has shared at length what his process is in choosing songs for our corporate worship service, so I won’t bore you with details. We have a similar process, but our thinking can be quite different. Obviously our prose is quite different, which you’ll see as you read.
We started off at the top of the service with an exclamation, a declaration. We didn’t declare it, but Jesus did when he breathed His last breath on the cross. It Is Finished, was our opening declaration, and we made it joyfully. The rhythms, the upbeat tempo were all intended to be celebratory and joyful. Like a train barreling down the tracks, metaphorically like us often in life, going full steam into our own destruction, we needed God. Our frenzy for an answer to how we can be saved has a simple answer: “There’s no deed that can redeem us, there’s no rite, nor magic word. Only by the work of Jesus can salvation be secured.” We acknowledged our own fruitless pursuit for salvation, and that Jesus is our only hope. The chorus reflects our declaration plainly, “It is finished, He has done it”.
In rehearsal on Thursday we talked about this idea. The idea that He has done it. We didn’t say, He will do it. We said He HAS done it; past tense, complete, finalized. Jesus ended the power of the grave, the power of destruction and brought salvation to all man, Jews and Gentiles. So at this point we should be celebrating, right? I mean, Jesus came and did it, so I don’t have to do anything else. All I’ve gotta do is sit back, watch t.v. and live the easy life…right? Sadly, no. We live in the world, and we have to continually work at our relationship with our Savior. Sorry kids, Santa Clause isn’t real…wait, maybe we’ll save that for a Christmas article in a few months.
Dear Refuge (Come Quickly) put the focus on us and how we respond to God. We already stated we have no power, only He has the power, and now we’re stating, God, we need You. “Come quickly, come quickly, here to my rescue.” I know what you’re thinking, “Steven, I’m not helpless”. I’m sorry, my friend, we most certainly are and we most certainly were. As much as we love to watch stories about super heroes and secretly fantasize that we have super powers; it’s just fiction. It’s just not true. But, good news; Jesus is true, and what He did is true! He forgave us, forever.
Again, that sense of infinite is there again. He died on the cross as the one sacrifice, for all time, for our atonement. We were and are, Forgiven Forever. So much in this song points toward the cross, and the sacrifice Jesus made. “Beautiful the blood, we are forgiven forever…Jesus is risen, Love has overcome.” You might say, “How can blood be beautiful? I’ve seen car wrecks, and pictures of bombings and shootings, and it sickens me Steve.” The answer is simple. Jesus blood washes us clean, and we are covered in it, so that is cannot be washed off. We sang, “No death, nor life, no present or future, no angel, no demon, no power, no creature can take me away from the love that’s in Jesus Christ.”
Wow, that’s a bold statement. Why, yes it is. It’s bold because it is truth. Jesus didn’t fain away from doing what was necessary to save us, and because of His boldness as an example, I say to Him, “You Make Me Brave”. We ended our worship service with this anthem. “You make me brave, You make me brave, You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave, You make me brave, no fear can hinder now the Love that made a way.” “It Is Finished” was our opening statement, why? Because that was the beginning, that was the moment that life began for us. We declared it, and then we declared it again in our final line of worship, “Champion of heaven, You’ve made a way for all to enter in.”
We learned, through music and song, what God did, and we can’t thank Him enough. We can never repay Him for His kindness. We are full of doubt, and questions, and God knows this. Ryan brought us a sermon from Luke 5. A story where Simon (Peter) is told to go out into the deep waters and cast his nets again, even after they fished all night and got nothing at all. Simon even declares his doubt to Christ in Luke 5:5, “…Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.” Simon did it, because the Lord asked him to, calling Him, “Master”. In verse 8, after catching so much fish that their boat began to sink from the fullness, Simon changed his tone. He said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” He went from calling Jesus, Master, to calling Him, Lord.
So let’s think about this. Master is a teacher, and we respect our teachers because we’re taught to. But let’s be brutally honest with each other. We didn’t give our teachers sovereignty over our lives. Simon, however, saw the difference and gave his honor to Christ, calling Him, Lord. A term for one who rules. I won’t go further into Ryan’s sermon, as I hope you kept notes and have been reflecting on it in your own studies.
To sum it all up, it was an honor to guide you through what was going through my mind as I chose songs and put together a worship service for you. My hope is that the music, and our songs, didn’t point to me, but pointed you to Christ. My hope is that God was glorified and edified through the talents and abilities of each of the members of the worship team: Jason Juan (drums), Max Reyes (bass), Jay Juan (electric guitar), Frank Long (percussion), and Candace Long (vocals). Our hope and prayer was that you learned about Christ and we did our job, which was simply to praise God. God bless you; thank you for reading.