New Worship Song for This Sunday: ‘Way Maker’

Corporate worship for Christ Community Church continues this Sunday, February 28 at 10:30 a.m. in Dech Memorial Chapel (Myerstown, PA) and online. We will be singing “Way Maker,” a song that is new to our fellowship. All may preview it here to help prepare for worship:

WAY MAKER

Verse 1

You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship You
I worship You

You are here
Working in this place
I worship You
I worship You

Verse 1

You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship You
I worship You

You are here
Working in this place
I worship You
I worship You

Chorus

Way Maker
Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Way Maker
Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Verse 2

You are here
Touching every heart
I worship You
I worship You

You are here
Healing every heart
I worship You
I worship You

Verse 3

You are here
Turning lives around
I worship You
I worship You

You are here
Mending every heart
I worship You
I worship You

Chorus

Way Maker
Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Way Maker
Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Bridge

You wipe away all tears
You mend the broken heart
You’re the answer to it all
Jesus

You wipe away all tears
You mend the broken heart
You’re the answer to it all
To it all
Jesus, Yeah

Chorus

Way Maker
Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Way Maker
Miracle Worker
Promise Keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who You are

Verse 4

You are here
Touching every life
I worship You
I worship You

You are here
Meeting every need
I worship You
I worship You

Word and Music by Osinachi Okoro
© 2016 Integrity Music Europe
CCLI Song No. 7115744

New Worship Song for This Sunday: ‘All I Have Is Christ’

Corporate worship continues at Christ Community Church this Sunday, February 14 at 10:30 a.m. in Dech Memorial Chapel, located in Evangelical Seminary (Myerstown, PA) and also online. We will be singing “All I Have Is Christ,” a song that is new to our fellowship. All may preview it here to help prepare for worship:

ALL I HAVE IS CHRIST

Verse 1
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

Verse 2
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Chorus
Hallelujah!
All I have is Christ
Hallelujah!
Jesus is my life

Verse 3
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

Chorus
Hallelujah!
All I have is Christ
Hallelujah!
Jesus is my life

Words and Music by Jordan Kauflin
© 2009 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)
CCLI: 5174122

New Worship Song for This Sunday: ‘Who You Say I Am’

Corporate worship continues this Sunday, January 24 at 10:30 a.m. in Dech Memorial Chapel (Myerstown, PA) and online. We will be singing “Who You Say I Am,” a song that is new to our fellowship. All may preview it here to help prepare for worship:

WHO YOU SAY I AM 

Verse 1

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in 
Oh, His love for me 
Oh, His love for me

Chorus 1

Who the Son sets free 
Oh, is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Verse 2

Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep 
While I was a slave to sin 
Jesus died for me
Yes, He died for me 

Chorus 2

Who the Son sets free 
Oh, is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house 
There’s a place for me 
I’m a child of God
Yes I am 

Bridge

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am 
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am 

Words and Music by Ben Fielding & Reuben Morgan
© 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing 
CCLI: 7102401 

Why Does God Want Our Praise?

It is clear from Scripture that God is worthy to be praised, but why does he want to be praised? Indeed, why does he demand to be praised (cf. Deut 6:13)? The first commandment allows no room for any other gods besides Yahweh (cf. Exod 20:3). Such a claim seems narrow and exclusive in an age of pluralism and tolerance. Here’s a God who says that alternatives and substitutes are off limits to his people.

That raises the question of whether or not God is ego-heavy after all. Is he not humble? Is he needy in some way? Is he insecure? Why must he always get top billing? People who act like that are considered narcissistic.

C. S. Lewis pondered the question, and he was troubled for some time by its possible implications. Is God, he wondered, like “a vain old woman seeking compliments?” After soaking his head in the book of Psalms, Lewis came to an insightful conclusion. In Reflections on the Psalms he writes:

lewis-book-reflections-on-the-psalms

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . .

“The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”

Still, the question remains: Is the first commandment somehow a violation of meekness? Is there something arrogant about God wanting to be regarded as utterly supreme in the universe? No. God is utterly supreme in the universe! Moreover, he wants his people to live in sync with reality; anything less would be insanity.

worship-woman-field-sky-arms

Ancient gods that were the products of people’s imaginations—idols that needed to be fed, dressed, bathed, and cared for by the priests in order to function—were not and are not ultimate; therefore, they are not worthy of worship. Serving such gods is a delusion, a waste of time, and ultimately disappointing. Only Yahweh is authentic, supreme, and able to “deliver the goods.”

Recognizing this theological truth is the beginning of wisdom and the first step toward living in accordance with reality. Deviate on this issue, and everything else will be askew—like missing the first buttonhole in a shirt; every other button is wrong, and the entire garment is misaligned. But to be properly aligned by recognizing the supremacy and exclusivity of Yahweh, and worshiping him alone, brings with it its own spiritual benefits, not the least of which is genuine life transformation. As Archbishop William Temple once said:

“Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose—all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.”

Such selfless adoration is indeed a great pleasure. Gone, for the moment, are all the cares of this world during true acts of worship. As Lewis said, “The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.”

“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.”

In the end, God allows people to reject him, disbelieve him, and not worship him as God (at least for now). And that’s the very definition of humility—to have infinite power to compel submission while putting oneself in a position to be rejected.

Like Father, like Son.

Image Credits: crosswalk.com; Lori Thomason (Pure Devotion).

He Is Coming, Part 3: “Be Vibrant” (Luke 1:39-56)

Mary’s famous Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) reveals that the young Jewish girl who gave birth to the Messiah knew her Bible well. She weaves together at least 30 echoes, allusions, and citations from the Old Testament into her composition. The resulting scriptural tapestry bears a striking resemblance to the prayer of Hannah, a woman who was barren, yet God miraculously gave a son—the Prophet Samuel—whom she dedicated to the Lord. But it’s more than just Hannah’s prayer that stands behind the Magnificat; it’s myriad other references to the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, too. Her song is saturated and marinated in Scripture. It’s a musical medley that we might consider in our day something akin to a biblical mashup.
 
Mary likely composed the piece in her head on the 90-mile journey from Nazareth to Judea, singing it to Elizabeth upon her arrival. She had several days to think about it, and now she cuts loose. It’s also likely that these words became a lullaby sung to Jesus in utero and postpartum. If so, Jesus had sacred words ingrained in him from the very beginning of his earthly life. It’s no wonder, then, that he quotes the Psalms more than once from his cross. It’s even possible he sang those words to the extent he was able—almost like a duet across the years with his mother, who’s standing there at the horrible spectacle of Calvary. He sings back to her now the words she sang to him from infancy. Both their lives are bookended by the Word of God.
 
Some rabbis in Mary’s day said, “Keep the Torah far away from women; they will corrupt it to go near it. If they so much as touch the scroll, you must burn it.” One can be glad Mary and her family didn’t adhere to such a foolish tradition, for Mary’s burst of praise becomes part of sacred Scripture itself—God’s revelation to the world. And Elizabeth is not her only audience; we, are too. In this passage, Mary is “rightly dividing the word of truth” from the Old Testament, pulling it together and describing for us how God is bringing the Messiah into the world, and what he will do when he comes. She teaches us the Scriptures—anticipating the promise in Acts 2:17: “Your sons and daughters will prophesy [i.e., speak forth the Word of God].” Mary leads the way on this declaration. Indeed, she’s an extraordinary reminder that a spiritually vibrant life is marked by Scripture, praise, and humility. While certain traditions overly exalt Mary, others greatly under appreciate her. Neither extreme is warranted. She is truly a model for the ages.

Sermon Resources

Contact This New Life directly for the sermon audio file.

The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me

These lyrics by Travis Cottrell and David Moffitt hit all the right marks. While preparing for worship this morning, they found a place of lodging deep within me, igniting a sense of gratitude that should never wane. As I listened again, the first stanza set the vital theme, the second crushed my heart, and the third put my soul to flight. For the rest of the song, I was undone. Thank you, Jesus.

The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me

The blood of Jesus speaks for me
Be still my soul, redeeming love
Out of the dust of Calvary
Is rising to the throne above

There is no vengeance in His cry
While “It is finished” fills the sky
Forgiveness is the final plea
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

My heart can barely take it in
He pardons all my guilty stains
Surrender all my shame to Him
He breaks the curse of every chain

My sin is great, but greater still
The boundless grace His heart reveals
A mercy deeper than the sea
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

When my accuser makes the claim
That I should die for my offense
I point him too that rugged frame
Where I found life at Christ’s expense

See from His hands, His feet, His side
The fountain flowing deep and wide
Oh, He did shout the victory
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

Worthy is the Lamb
Lamb for sinners slain
Jesus, Lord of all
Glory to His name

Heaven crying out
Let the earth proclaim
Power in the blood
Glory to His name

Worthy is the Lamb
Lamb for sinners slain
Jesus, Lord of all
Glory to His name

Heaven crying out
Let the earth proclaim
Power in the blood
Glory to His name
Jesus!

Oh let my soul arise and sing
My confidence is not in vain
The One who fights for me is King
His hope, His covenant remain

No condemnation now I dread
Eternal hope is mine instead
His word will stand, I stand redeemed
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

Amazing love, how can it be?
The blood of Jesus speaks for me
For me!

Words and Music by Travis Cottrell and David Moffitt
© 2016 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing / Great Revelation Music / TimeChange Music (ASCAP) 

New Worship Song for This Sunday: ‘Made Me Glad’

Corporate worship continues this Sunday, November 1 at 10:30 a.m. in Dech Memorial Chapel in Myerstown, PA. Local folks will be singing “Made Me Glad”—a song that is new to our fellowship (selected because of its covenant imagery). You can preview it here to help prepare for worship:

MADE ME GLAD

Verse 1

I will bless the Lord forever
And I will trust Him at all times
He has delivered me from all fear 
And He has set my feet upon a rock 
And I will not be moved
And I’ll say of the Lord 

Chorus

You are my shield, my strength
My portion, deliverer
My shelter, strong tower
My very present help in time of need 

Verse 2

Whom have I in heaven but You? 
There’s none I desire beside You 
You have made me glad
And I’ll say of the Lord 

Chorus

You are my shield, my strength
My portion, deliverer
My shelter, strong tower
My very present help 

You are my shield, my strength
My portion, deliverer
My shelter, strong tower
My very present help in time of need

Words and Music by Merriam Webster
© 2001 Meriam Webster and Hillsong Publishing

New Worship Song for This Sunday: ‘Covenant of Grace’

Corporate worship continues this Sunday, September 27 at 10:30 a.m. in Dech Memorial Chapel in Myerstown, PA. Local folks will be singing “Covenant of Grace”—a song that is new to our fellowship. You can preview it here to help prepare for worship:


COVENANT OF GRACE

Chorus

The wonder of Your mercy Lord 
The beauty of Your grace 
That You would even pardon me 
And bring me to this place 
I stand before Your holiness 
I can only stand amazed 
The sinless Savior died to make 
A covenant of grace 

Verse 1

I only want to serve you 
Bring honor to Your name 
And though I’ve often failed You 
Your faithfulness remains 
I’ll glory in my weakness 
That I might know Your strength 
I will live my life at the Cross of Christ 
And raise a banner to proclaim 

Verse 2

You welcome us before You 
Into this holy place 
The brilliance of Your glory 
Demands our endless praise 
The One, the only Savior 
Has opened heaven’s doors
We can enter in free from all our sin 
By Your cleansing sacrifice

Words and Music by Don Wallace 
© 1997 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)

New Worship Song for This Sunday: ‘The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me’

Corporate worship continues this Sunday, September 20 at 10:30 a.m. in Dech Memorial Chapel in Myerstown, PA. Local folks will be singing “The Blood of Jesus Speaks for Me”—a song that is new to our fellowship. You can preview it here to help prepare for worship:

THE BLOOD OF JESUS SPEAKS FOR ME

The blood of Jesus speaks for me
Be still my soul, redeeming love
Out of the dust of Calvary
Is rising to the throne above

There is no vengeance in His cry
While “It is finished” fills the sky
Forgiveness is the final plea
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

My heart can barely take it in
He pardons all my guilty stains
Surrender all my shame to Him
He breaks the curse of every chain

My sin is great, but greater still
The boundless grace His heart reveals
A mercy deeper than the sea
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

When my accuser makes the claim
That I should die for my offense
I point him too that rugged frame
Where I found life at Christ expense

See from His hands, His feet, His side
The fountain flowing deep and wide
Oh, He did shout the victory
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

Worthy is the Lamb
Lamb for sinners slain
Jesus, Lord of all
Glory to His name

Heaven crying out
Let the earth proclaim
Power in the blood
Glory to His name

Worthy is the Lamb
Lamb for sinners slain
Jesus, Lord of all
Glory to His name

Heaven crying out
Let the earth proclaim
Power in the blood
Glory to His name
Jesus!

Oh let my soul arise and sing
My confidence is not in vain
The one who fights for me is King
His hope, His covenant remain

No condemnation now I dread
Eternal hope is mine instead
His word will stand, I stand redeemed
The blood of Jesus speaks for me

Amazing love, how can it be?
The blood of Jesus speaks for me
For me!

Words and Music by Travis Cottrell and David Moffitt
© 2016 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing / Great Revelation Music / TimeChange Music (ASCAP)