Saturday, December 31, 2016

Psalm Challenge 2017

Facebook memories are fun! I don't know how long FB has been reminding me of past memories but I've enjoyed seeing pictures of grandbabies from 6 years ago or of our Living Christmas Tree 5 years and 7 years ago.... things like that.

Today's memory was a challenge I gave to my FB friends to join me in reading a Psalm a day for 150 days. It was a big challenge but several people joined me in it.

I thought about this challenge as I was preparing for our Christmas Eve service. Isaac Watts wrote the text to "Joy to the World" as he was writing the Psalms "in the language of the New Testament." That text is based on Psalm 98.
Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts (/wɒts/; 17 July 1674 – 25 November 1748) was an English Christian minister, hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and popular hymn writer, his work was part of evangelization. He was recognized as the "Father of English Hymnody", credited with some 750 hymns. Many of his hymns remain in use today and have been translated into numerous languages.
You can read more about Isaac Watts by clicking here Isaac Watts .

All of that to say ......  It has been five years, so I think it is time to do the challenge again. The challenge for me is to blog my thoughts about a Psalm a Day for 150 days. That takes us to Tuesday, May 30 for the last day of the challenge.

The challenge for YOU is to join me - not so you can see something profound from me. I certainly don't claim to be a hymn writer, theologian and logician like Isaac Watts, but I do hope that I can encourage you by things the Holy Spirit shows me in the Psalms. And more importantly, I hope to inspire you to spend a little time each day in the Psalms to see what the Holy Spirit will say to YOU through the Word.

I'm not going to look at my old posts before writing a new post. I think it will be interesting to see the differences in what I write.

Will you join me? I hope you will!!

Some pointers (free advice)
  1. Pray before you read each day and ask God to speak to you through His word.
  2. Try reading different translations. A different translation may give you a fresh look at something you've read many times before. You might even try reading the same Psalm in two or three translations.
  3. If you miss a day, don't give up and quit. Just jump back in the next day. When you have some extra time one day you can go back and read the ones you missed.
  4. It's more important to read the Psalm yourself and see what God says to you than to read what I have to say. I'm just trying to encourage you to spend more time in the Word!
  5. Challenge some of your friends to join in too! I'll post a link each day on my Hilldale Worship page on Facebook, so they don't have to be my friend on FB to get the links. Like my page here Hilldale Worship on Facebook 

Oh! And I would love to see your comments either on Facebook or on here. Comments are moderated both places so your comments won't show up immediately. (Hmmm. They may show up on Facebook immediately, but if someone posts something tacky I'll delete it. :-) )

If you'd like to see the challenge I posted just before 2012, click here 2012's Psalm Challenge.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Faithful - Music for August 21

I told myself that I was going to start posting consistently on my worship blog. Hmmm. Maybe that will start this week. Maybe.....

I love the text of tomorrow's choir anthem, "Faithful." It was written by Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Ed Cash and Nathan Nockels.

Verse 1
Faithful forever You are faithful
Father to the fatherless
You uphold the one who feels forsaken
You are faithful God

Thursday, July 28, 2016

All to Us - Music for Sunday, July 31

"All to Us" is a great song of testimony. It was written by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Matt Maher, and Matt Redman. You can hear Chris Tomlin talk about the inspiration for and the writing of this song and hear him sing it by clicking here . 

It's a nice song when Chris Tomlin sings it, but Mary McDonald's arrangement of it for choir turned it into a really powerful song. Listen to it here as sung by the Forest Hills Baptist Church choir directed by my friend, Wayne Causey. 
9.8.13 All to Us - Sanctuary Choir from Forest Hills Baptist Church on Vimeo.

The men in our choir sang the all men's version of Mary's arrangement (As sung by the Tennessee Baptist Men's Chorale) and now we use that version for our congregation when we all sing it. The verses are great. Then, when you get to the chorus, it is so awesome when hundreds of people stand together and sing these words. 

Let the glory of Your name be the passion of the Church
Let the righteousness of God be a holy flame that burns
Let the saving love of Christ be the measure of our lives
We believe You're all to us

It's my prayer that we will do more than just sing these words, but we will work to live out these words!

After the congregation sings "All to Us" our choir will sing "Thou, O Lord" a wonderful setting of Psalm 3. Psalm 3 - KJV
"Victory in Jesus" will round out our time of praise and testimony through song.

Then - what may seem like a totally unrelated set of songs - we're going to sing two songs about the Word - scripture: "Thy Word" and "Ancient Words." Here is my thinking of why I put these songs with the others. For us to say that Christ is "all to us" and in Him we find "victory" we need to know and spend time in the Bible. I don't mean we follow along on our Bible app on our phone while the preacher reads the scripture for his sermon. I mean spend time EVERY day reading the Bible. If you need help knowing what to read find a reading plan that will keep you on track. 

There are many great verses that talk about the importance of God's Word. 
Here are a few:
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
Psalm 119 will give you 176 verses about the Word. Psalm 119 NIV 

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite passages that talks about the importance of knowing scripture.

Psalm 1

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither;
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Music for Sunday, July 24 - Here Am I, send Me

THE go to passage for how to order a worship service is often Isaiah 6. In case it has been a while since you have read that passage, here it is for you.

Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 
2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 
3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” 
6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 
7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” 

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 

The basic outline many people take from that passage is this:
1. We see God in His greatness, glory, holiness
2. We see our sin (and ourselves as sinners) in the light of His glory
3. We are cleansed from our sin - not by anything we do, but by His work
4. God calls us to go
5. We answer with "Here am I. Send me.

Now.... just so I don't have to do all of the work for you, here is our song list for Sunday morning at Hilldale Baptist Church, Clarksville, TN at the 8:30 and 9:45 services. We won't exactly follow this order, but we cover all of the parts. But that's because the choir has to sing early on in the service. (That is because many in the choir sing both services. After they leave the choir loft some go teach Life Groups while others join the congregation and sing and worship there. Then during the 9:45 service after the choir sings those who taught stay for the service and those who stayed at the last service head out to Life Groups.)
Anyway... here are the songs we are singing Sunday.

How Great Thou Art with How Great Is Our God

Choir anthem - 
Here Am I, Send Me 
I'm going to have the words up so everyone can sing with us. You all have heard it enough that you can sing along. I want everyone to be able to respond with "Here am I. Send me." not just the choir. 

Love Lifted Me
Your Grace Is Enough
Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone

Then our Senior Pastor, Dr. Larry D. Robertson, will continue his sermon series on EMS - Evangelism Made Simple. I think a worship service modeled to some degree after Isaiah 6 fits in well with evangelism. Did you connect the songs with the outline in Isaiah? 

The invitation song will be "Take My Life, Lead Me Lord." The words to that are
Take my life, lead, me Lord.
Take my life, lead, me Lord.
Make my life useful to Thee.

It is my prayer that all of us will have that response after hearing God's word this Sunday.

I hope to see you all there. I'll be glad when you all stop traveling for the summer and we're all here together for worship.

A Neglected Blog's Restart

I have not consistently posted on my "Worship Blog" for a VERY long time.  
I used to blog every week. One year I blogged EVERY day for 150 days as I challenged people to read a Psalm a day with me and I posted my feeble thoughts about each day's Psalm.

I'm not sure why I stopped blogging. Probably Facebook. I felt like I was reaching a lot more people on Facebook. It's easy to post there and I don't necessarily need to have any deep thoughts on Facebook. I can just post a picture of my chickens and go with that. Like this one that explains why I named this pretty chicken Elizabeth the First. (If you haven't seen this then you probably don't know that it ends up that Elizabeth is a rooster! I just call him Izzy for short.)

And then along came Twitter (or at least I decided to give it try.) It's ended up that I mostly tweet or retweet about political things. So it's kind of annoying there. (OK. It's actually VERY annoying there when it comes to politics.)

I also tweet pictures of #Portugal so people there will discover my photographers blog where not only will you see beautiful pictures of Portugal, 

but you'll see links that share the Gospel in Portuguese! Like this one

However, the original purpose of this blog was two-fold.

1. To share upcoming worship events with the community (and related rehearsals and info with our church musicians.)


2. To talk about worship with anyone interested and to help prepare the worshippers at Hilldale for our Sunday morning gatherings. 

A verse that  is extremely important when discussing "worship" in the church is 1 Corinthians 14:15.

I Corinthians 14:15 What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding.

The Apostle Paul was comparing speaking in tongues with speaking prophecy in a language everyone could understand. I don't think it is out of line to expand this to say we can worship better if there is some understanding of why we are singing a particular set of songs or reading a particular verse or why we are doing one thing or another in worship. 

A few years ago (and for several years) I would post - just about every week and usually on Thursday - what we were planning on singing in worship on the upcoming Sunday. My thought was that those who read ahead would come with some understanding of why those particular songs were chosen and therefore would be singing with "understanding." Not that they would think I was clever in my choice of songs. I hope what I lead us to do is never "clever." I want us as a congregation to have a purpose in our gathering - to do more than just sing some songs and hear a sermon and then go our merry way as if nothing had happened. 

When we gather we need to truly worship God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We need to hear His voice. We need to see our sin and His incredible grace. We need to be challenged to answer His call on our life and then actually choose to follow - to live our lives as a royal priesthood.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Well.....I don't claim to be an expert theologian or the most eloquent writer, but I hope my posts will point you to Jesus, give you an idea of what's happening around Hilldale, let you see a little of my thoughts and heart and possibly give you a little bit on entertainment now and then.

So..... ALL of that to say I'm going to start blogging again. Hope to see you around here. Feedback is welcomed (but I have to approve comments. Too much SPAM is out there in blogger land.)