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Tumbl-ing Over

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I am combining my ministry blog with my personal blog to make one super-blog that will change the world…or make blogging a little easier in my life.

‘Risen’ Has Already Served Us Well

This past month Lakeside had an awesome week of remembering the death and resurrection of Lord, Jesus Christ.  About a month prior, we received our copies of the new Sovereign Grace Music album, Risen.  We made a last minute decision to introduce one of the stronger worship songs from the album during our Good Friday Communion Service in order to prepare the body to sing it again on Resurrection Sunday.  Not necessarily my first choice to have new music on such an evangelistic Sunday as we try to have more familiar worship music to help guide those who may be visiting.  Thankfully, the risk paid off and the church was well focused during our services.  We featured “Name Above All Names” as a special new worship song for the congregation and as a thankful, redeemed body, they sang it well.

One thing we try to do when we introduce new music to our church (which, at most, is one new song a month) is sing it a couple of consecutive weeks in a row so we get used to the tune, melody and lyrics.  It seems like Lakeside really enjoys worshipping with “Name Above All Names.”  Musically, it is somewhat of a ballad which makes it enjoyable for the band.  The verses are contemplative and have a repetitive structure (in a good way) that draws focus to the lyrics, specifically the name of Jesus.  The chorus is easy to belt out which makes it easy for the hearts of the worshippers to proclaim with full emotion, “You are highly exalted!”  And the meditative proclamation of the bridge, “Our knees will bow, our tongues proclaim, that you are Lord of all,” provides a moment of reflection and response to the content found in the rest of the song.

Again, Lakeside is grateful to Sovereign Grace Ministries and Music for their investment in the local church.  Keep it coming, guys!

Seize The Day

I remember being a freshman at The Master’s College living upstairs in Hotchkiss Dorm on the wing that we so sacredly called Upper Back.  My roommate, Adam Powell, was also my RA and he served alongside a steller group of young men in the dorm carrying out the not-always-pleasant duties that are assigned to a Resident Assistant.  One night, I had my brother visiting late in the room as he and I were recording a CD (The Wellington Project…NZ01!!!) that would be a fundraiser for our upcoming Summer Missions Trip to New Zealand (missions, evangotourism, whatever you like).  Suddenly there was a loud, purposeful knock on my dorm room door and we stopped strumming our guitars.  I answered the door and there stood Matt Pearson, the RA from the wing below, and he was obviously tired and unhappy.

Matt was tall, and as he towered over me with a very seriously look he said in a low, trying-to-stay-calm voice, “Seriously?…”  My brother and I were obviously keeping him up.  That’s all he had to say and I got it.  I felt like I had woken the sleeping dragon and wanted to try and run but that wasn’t going to happen.  Thankfully, my life was spared and all we had to do to was put the guitars down.  But that was Matt.  He wasn’t a jerk, he just knew how to communicate with more than words and when he used words, in this case, he chose them wisely to get his point across.

Matt was known for three words in particular during that first year of my college experience – “Seize.  The.  Day.”  His wing lived by it.  They’re theme movie was Gladiator and I’ll never watch that movie again without thinking about, “Seize the day.”  Coming back this weekend from Winter Camp 2011, I was reminded of Matt’s mantra through the teaching of Nathan Busenitz.  Nate did an excellent job on Saturday Night demonstrating the scope of our life span here on earth compared to our lives in eternity and what it means to live for more than what is under the Sun.  When reflecting on such things, it causes me to want to resurrect that concept to seize the day.  To make every moment last for an eternal purpose.  To truly understand that every moment in my life has purpose and I have a responsibility to grab those moments and utilize them for the Lord.

During the Summer of 2001, while our Missions Team was in New Zealand, we received word that Matt Pearson had been in a fatal car accident in Northern California.  Those words had never been louder in my ears…seize the day.  God had used Matt as a prime example of his own message.  Our days are short.  They’re numbered.  We only have what has been given to us and we have the privilege to use these moments.  May we be people like Matt.  May we never lose focus on the fact that these days under the Sun are just a vapor in light of eternity…these days are ours to seize.

Using What We’ve Been Given

Well, it proved to be another great kick off to the year at Lakeside with our Annual Spiritual Life Weekend.  The theme this year was Uneclipsing The Son with our special guest, Rick Holland.  I believe it was refreshing for us all to reflect on the place Christ has in each of our lives.  Is He just a part or is He our life?

The Worship Team, as well as Atoned For, did a steller job in provided excellent musical support to the worship time.  Once again, their efforts to make the music the best it could be paid off as people were not only encouraged to sing but as we witnessed, those who attended experienced heartfelt times of worship focused on the One who desires to draw out our affections for Him.  We were able to introduce a song to the congregation called All I Have Is Christ (Jordan Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries) which ended up being a perfect fit to the theme this year.  We also enjoyed special music from Atoned For and Kelli and Hannah Ramey over the weekend.  Tim Drumm was the man behind the scenes making the weekend roll and he did a great job.  The LBC Media Team also did an awesome job: whether it was Matt Chavez’s moving graphics or the simple support of having the correct slides displayed for the worship time.  There were no major hiccups and for that I am thankful because it made it that much easier for those in attendance to focus on Christ.

My prayer is that coming out of such a deep-filled, contemplative and challenging time revolving around Christ that our church wouldn’t slide back and lose our first love.  I hope that our desire to make Christ the central focus of our lives does not breed more (what Rick called) christianese terms, talks and mindsets.  We know the formula for living a life that is full of purpose and hope and it is found only in Jesus Christ…now the question is how will we use what God has entrusted to us this weekend for true change in our lives?

Click here for the complete Sermon Series from the Spiritual Life Weekend | 2011.

Build Yourselves Up

This is a great message from the book of Jude delivered by CJ Mahaney at the Resolved Conference 2010.  He camps out on and articulates very well the idea that when Believers in Jesus Christ come together in the church for worship through music, that is a specific time for us to build one another up by singing ‘theologically informed Gospel-centered songs’ therefore keeping us in the love of God.  Another great reminder that singing in church is not about religiosity, tradition or entertainment.

Serving The Purpose

I was checking out Worship Matters today and came upon this video (by Chris Powers) created using an already powerful song produced by Sovereign Grace Ministries.  This video is an awesome example of how visual aids can be used to amplify the message of a worshipful song:

Glorious Humiliation

When I think of the glory of God I instantly go to those majestic acts or attributes of Him that are familiar to me:  creation, resurrection, physical healing, omniscience, omnipresence, holiness–these are no doubt glorious and good helps to cause me to worship Him.  The thing is, when I think of the Cross I don’t often think of Christ’s death as glorious–and this is a huge miss in my worship of Him through life and music.

John Stott reminds us of the glorious humiliation of Christ,

The self-humiliation of the Son of God, which began in the incarnation, culminated in his death.  Yet in that very abasement of himself he was “lifted up,” not just physically raised on to the cross, but spiritually exalted before the eyes of the world.  Indeed, he was “glorified.”  The cross that appeared to be “shame” was in fact “glory.”

So when I sing The Glories Of Calvary or The Glory Of The Cross, my mind will be refreshed that Christ’s death on the Cross was the Father’s purposeful lifting up of His only Son.  No one else could have died that death.  No one else could have bore that shame.  The Cross was only Christ’s to claim and for that, for what He did there, we see the glory of our Savior.  This is why we, who believe, worship and why those who don’t believe only see foolishness:

For in the cross of Christ, as in a splendid theatre, the incomparable goodness of God is set before the whole world.  The glory of God shines, indeed, in all creatures on high and below, but never more brightly than in the cross….

If it be objected that nothing could be less glorious than Christ’s death…I reply that in that death we see a boundless glory which is concealed from the ungodly.

-John Calvin