One of the things I LOVE about being a pastor at Calvary is some of the amazing people I get to serve with every day. A couple of those are our worship pastor, Matt Faulkner, and one of his worship leaders, Christy Freeman. I could write a whole article describing all the reasons I love these two, and why collaborating with them in the context of our Sunday gatherings is so fun and rewarding, but I'll keep it to these:
- They have a high view of God, and take him seriously.
- They don't take themselves too seriously.
- They LOVE Jesus.
- They love followers of Jesus.
- They are steeped in the Bible.
- They are filled with the Spirit, and are prayerfully dependent upon him.
- They worship. They don't just sing, or play music, or perform, they themselves worship.
- And while it's important they worship, they don't get so wrapped up in it that they forget about the people they are there to lead, and they lead us into the presence of the God they are experiencing. I love watching that: seeing them worship, seeing our people respond, and feeling my own heart pulled toward God because of it all.
Finally, they are willing to try new things to help us worship well. Soon after Pastor Matt came to Calvary, he pulled together a little group that he calls the Song Selection Team (Christy is on that too). They gather regularly, each person presenting songs to the group, discussing it measured on various factors, before it can be introduced to the congregation.
Often that intentional process results in a song really helping our people worship God, and it becomes a part of our regular song rotation. But sometimes, despite all that work and intentionality, it's clear a song (for various reasons) just doesn't cut it. In fact, just such a situation happened in the last month. And what I love about Pastor Matt and his team is that in spite of all their hard work and intentionality, after feedback and review, they cut the song from our rotation. Why? Because it's not about them, it's about God, and our church family being helped to worship him well.
I say all this as a prelude to something I am really excited about for this Sunday. Pastor Matt and his team have a new song for us to sing at Calvary. It's called All My Hope. And in the providence of God, it is a marvelous complement to what God will be revealing about his character as we study the book of Nahum this week, as part of The Whole Story sermon series.
If you are a reader of this site, and live in the St. Cloud area, and don't have a church home, we'd love to have you join us. Hey, among other things, you'd get a chance to learn a song that may be new to you! And, we'll be sure you hear the good news about Jesus, and the kingdom of God that he is bringing for all who trust in him.
Enjoy this video of the song to help get you prepared to really belt it out on Sunday. And, I've attached the lyrics below as well.
Shalom, Pastor Matthew
I've been held by the Savior
I've felt fire from above
I've been down to the river
I ain't the same
A prodigal returned
All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday's gone
All my sins are forgiven
I've been washed by the blood
I'm no stranger to the prison
I've worn shackles and chains
But I've been freed and forgiven
And I'm not going back
I'll never be the same
That's why I sing
There's a kind of thing
That just breaks a man
Break him down to his knees
God, I've been broken more than a time or two, yes Lord
And showed me what it means to be a man
Come on and sing
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.
This past Sunday we completed our journey through the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, focusing our study on Ezekiel. We discovered in Ezekiel a book filled with dark visions and confrontational language. And one of the visions (probably the central, controlling metaphor of the book) Ezekiel presents is Israel as a beautiful bride who turns against her bridegroom, God, and breaks all the stipulations of her covenant.
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
Day Thirty-Two: A Mother's Wisdom (part two)
Yesterday, we heard from what was likely King Solomon’s mother imparting worthy words of wisdom in the area of leadership. For the sayings of wisdom we find here are those “which his mother taught him” (Proverbs 31:1). And she now turns her attention to the search for a woman of virtue and noble character, suitable to be a wife and mother.
Day Twenty-Nine: Please—Quietly Hold Your Tongue
Anger. noun. “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.” (New Oxford American Dictionary) As I entered day twenty-nine of Proverbs this morning, and came to 29:11, it struck me that this book has quite a bit to say about anger, strife, wrath, quarreling, fights, and rage. It is a theme that Solomon keeps coming back to, probably because he knows that it is a theme woven through humanity and history. Sometimes the best way to see a theme is to pull on that string so all the wisdom he has offered comes together for our observation. The accumulation helps us feel the weight of it.