Sunday setlist 2/26/2017

Center My Life (Austin Stone)

Eternal King (For All Seasons)

In Christ Alone (Passion)

O Praise the Name (Hillsong)

All I Have is Christ (The Summit Church)

Sunday setlist 2/19/17

Rejoice (Dustin Kensrue)

O Praise the Name (Hillsong)

All Creatures (King’s Kaleidoscope)

Before the Throne (Citizens)

I Surrender All (Citizens)

Come Thou Fount (King’s Kaleidoscope)

Keith Getty, “In Christ Alone,” and sung theology

This is a great interview with Keith Getty, one of the authors of the song “In Christ Alone.” The article focuses mainly on the song and how some denominations have recently chosen not to publish it in their hymn books because of one line. I really appreciate the way Keith not only defends his commitment to retaining the original lyric, but goes on from there to share a number of wise insights into the importance of singing our theology, including difficult concepts such as God’s wrath. For example:

Each of us faces the temptation to fashion God out of our own image. And a picture of God formed through our experiences of hurt, anger, injustice, or rage is a sad and vindictive one indeed. But this is not the infinite, good God we serve. God’s wrath is not like our wrath, and his ways are not like our own.

The final paragraph of the article sums up well the need for worship songs that contain a full scope of sound theology:

We need exciting, passionate songs with beautiful lyrics, rich in theology, and infectious melodies that invigorate our congregations. With every line we write and tune we compose, we need to portray a fuller picture of Christ for the people among us. We need not shy away from the hard, mysterious sections of Scripture. Songwriters need to demonstrate a grasp of the whole biblical context. We must not be afraid to write about hard things. Singing songs with more depth allows us to experience the relief of lifting our eyes off ourselves and toward the unimaginable vastness of our God. This is what I pray for myself and for others creating music for the church today.

Read the entire interview here.

Sloppy wet kisses

Although John Mark McMillan’s song “How He Loves” has become pretty standard fare in churches over the past couple of years, I haven’t introduced it into our church’s lineup yet.  Until now.  I’ve been listening to that song a lot over the past couple weeks and I think it’s become one of my current favorite worship texts, and will probably be rolling it out before long for our congregation.

The main reason for my sudden connection with it?  My daughter has started giving me sloppy wet kisses.

For those that aren’t familiar with it, there’s a line in the song that talks about heaven meeting earth “like a sloppy wet kiss”.  Now apparently there has been some controversy regarding this line.  While most churches I know of wouldn’t even blink about a line like that, some have re-written it to be “safer”, and some churches have even banned the song altogether (Stuff Christians Like has a brilliantly hilarious piece about this very subject here).

But I love it.  Because I can relate to it.  As a daddy, there are few things more exhilarating than getting home from work and having my almost two-year-old daughter run up and plant a big wet one on me as I scoop her up.  It’s kind of messy.  It’s undignified.  But it’s beautiful, and that sloppy wet kiss is a pure expression of love.  And experiencing the type of love she has for me in that way has given me new perspective on the extravagant love our Heavenly Father has for each of us.  The line in the song exquisitely describes what happens when humanity and divinity collide.  In JMM’s own words, “The idea behind the lyric is that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of earth converge in a way that is both beautiful and awkwardly messy.”  The idea that the God who created heaven and earth would have passionate love for me is almost absurd in its silliness.  Yet that’s at the center of our faith – God loved us SO MUCH that he became flesh, dwelt among us and died a messy death all so that he could rise again and share His resurrection life with us.  Sloppy, yes – but a purer expression of love has never existed.

Besides the song’s unique poetry and creative lyrics, I love how simple yet profound the chorus is.  The hook is God-centered, anthemic and singable – all things I love in a corporate worship song.  But perhaps most importantly, we as the Church and as individuals simply need to be reminded over and over again “how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

Death to Life

Joe Day album cover

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Yesterday we introduced the song “Death to Life”.  I love this song for a number of reasons, but I especially liked it in the context of yesterday’s sermon on Mark 2:18-3:6, specifically for its second verse.  There are plenty of us who can relate to the repentance and restoration story of the prodigal son in the first verse, but I think, for the majority of us, we have been called from the death of religious pride – “white washed tombs” – to a life of freedom in Christ by His grace alone.  Like the Pharisees, we were actually at war with God through our religious, legalistic attempts to find Him until Jesus came and offered a way out of our own futile efforts.

“Death to Life”
By Joe Day & Nate Garvey

I was the prodigal son
I was hell-bound on my own
I was the wandering sheep
Till you came and rescued me

You are my redemption
You are my salvation
You called me out from death to life
You beckoned me from dark to light
Who am I that you have rescued me

I was a white-washed tomb
Sinful even in the womb
I was at war with you
Till you came and made me new

You are my redemption
You are my salvation
You called me out from death to life
You beckoned me from dark to light

I breathe because Your word is life
You guide me with Your shining light
Redeem my heart, my fallen glory
And let me tell your wondrous story

You are my redemption
You are my salvation
You called me out from death to life
You beckoned me from dark to light
Who am I that you have rescued me