Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Psalm 14:1-3 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

So how does the Higgs Boson "dispense the idea of a supernatural creator"? "It predicts an invisible field that permeates all of space before converting into matter". That creating stuff from no stuff may be scientifically explainable doesn't not eradicate the need of a creator to create "no stuff". Is a "field" not something. How did that field get there? How does all this science disprove the existence of God before creation.
How do clever people manage to make comments like?: "The Higgs particle is now more relevant than God"-Lawrence M Krauss (newsweek mag)
From everlasting to everlasting God will be God.
After all "God is Spirit" Jn4 :24 ... maybe it's proving the existence of the invisible!
1 Tim. 1:17  "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen".

Thursday, 21 July 2011

GOoD blog

GOoD Blog:

For the next few posts, I'll be writing a song commentary on my new album, GOoD.

Ok, let's talk title first.
When selecting an album title, I mostly look for a song title that's apt.
I have used part of a title this time, "God is GOoD". The word good stood out to me. Then that play on the word and letter size came to Tracy and so we thought that would be quite eye catching and fun.

It en-captures the fact that God is good. All goodness is primarily found in God.
I'm aware that it can be read as "Good God" which is how the, almost blasphemous phrase, would have come from. I'm reclaiming it for the truth it stands for ...ok.

When entitling an album, you can also look at an over-riding theme in the songs.
I was tempted to do this as I noticed that quite a resurrection theme stands out, rather unintentionally in the songs (Adrian Warnock will be pleased!)
In fact 2 songs have the same lyric in them (buy the album and identify which songs...see orders on )
( "Because you rose we'll never die."
I must say I had to think about using that phrase twice on one album, but it's a great thought, so why not say it twice, however I did grapple with it as well, as you'll see when I come to the song commentary. The truth is we all die physically, apart from those of us who are around when Jesus returns!. Also everyone gets raised from the dead, and faces judgement. Then what happens... do some live and some die.
Everyone endures through eternity, those who trusted in Christ receive eternal "life" and those who did not, are damned to eternal "destruction" in some sense a living death. At least they will wish that they were annihilated.
So for the Christian, in all intents and purposes, we will never die, for the non-believer in Jesus, they will be in eternal death ... a living death as it were. Hey, doesn't this make you want to preach the gospel!

I didn't quite like the title "resurrection". Doesn't quite work for me. So went with GOoD instead. A far more general, en-capturing title. Hope you agree.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The grace way to worship continued.

John 4 v 24: God is a spirit, and the ones worshiping Him must worship in spirit and truth.

In my October blog, I started exploring what was really meant by Jesus' discussion with the Samaritan woman on worship.

As I said, we have done the typical isolating of a text and have created nice notions about it, but not getting to grips with it.
I have looked at the whole story and to me it is clear to see that the discussion is a contrast in outlooks. There's this constant Physical vs. Spiritual going on.
Firstly the women thinks Jesus is talking about physical water, but He is speaking about spiritual water that He brings. They then move on to temple discussions. The physical place where worship should take place.
The women doesn't get it, she is not spiritualy minded at all it seems. So Jesus throws in the word of knowledge, which jolts here into understanding that Jesus is a prophet. There's something more going on here!!
It's at this point Jesus starts bringing the revelation. He gets to the crux of worship and begins talking about where salvation comes from and in essence, indicates that it has arrived!
He touches on the Jewish/Samaratin issue and makes a statement which I think says, salvation, access to God, real worship, is available to everyone. Not only for Jews!

He takes it further and now this is where it gets exciting.
He starts talking about Himself. This passage on worship is about Jesus. Not how we do church!Worship must always be about Him and nothing less (or more!)

It is in the context of temples ie. forms of worship that Jesus makes this popular statement. The nature of worship is that God is a spirit. Physical forms, rituals, religious practices cannot do it.
Jesus is the fulfillment of temple worship. The physical foreshadows are now being taken over into the Spiritual. Outward acts of access to the Father are now over. The Father is seeking those who worship through Jesus, His Spirit and not the externals. This is the grace way of worship. Temple worship was largely about the sacrifice. Offering up of sacrifices for guilt of sin and then there were also Thank offerings.
Heb 9:11 "But Christ having appeared as a High Priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation,
Heb 9:12 nor through the blood of goats and of calves, but through His own blood, He entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, having procured everlasting redemption."

I won't go into the temple imagery and how it is fulfilled in Christ now (later maybe) but I think in context, this is what Jesus is dealing with here.
Now that He is here. No more sacrifices. He will be our everything in order to truely worship and have access to the Father.

Summed up in John 1:17 "For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Jesus goes onto say ... true worship has arrived. The hour has come. I am here.
"Joh 4:26 Jesus said to her, I AM! the One speaking to you."

When Jesus talks about truth, He is talking about Himself. I have heard interpretations on how worship must be inspired by the truth of who God is . Nothing wrong with that, but that's not what Jesus is saying here.

Joh 4:25 The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, the One called Christ. When that One comes, He will announce to us all things.
Jesus speaks of Himself as THE Truth in John 14 v6: "Jesus said to him, I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

John obviously gets this theme as it is mentioned often in the gospel. Jesus is the word, the truth of God. He is the very representation of the Father. Everything true about God is found in Jesus. He is the Divine Expressed. John speaks of Jesus as being, The One and only son of God. He is the Christ, Messiah our saviour.

Joh 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth."
So to me when we worship in Spirit and truth. It is saying we worship no more through the Physical, but by a The spiritual way, by God's Spirit, received through the TRUTH which is Christ!

I find it interesting how Jesus reveals this to the non-Jew. Ultimately He knew His own would not get it.

Sometimes I think we as Christians don't get it.
We have placed ritual, forms and traditions,yes even charasmatics, in place of Jesus.

We think that we have to do certain things. Sing 2 fast songs, 2 medium ones and 3 slow ones to get into the holy of holies. We even have the notion of going "to church" as though they are the temples where we get to meet with the Father. NO!!!
We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Daily, always having access to the Father.
It is only through the blood of Jesus. The curtain is torn. No other way. It is the grace way to worship. True worship is only through Jesus. Don't try anything else. The Father is pleased with His Son and not our weak offerings.
"Phil 3:3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, and who glory in Christ Jesus, and who do not trust in flesh."

Access to the Father isn't even about the songs we sing!!!Songs assist us in communing not union, that's Jesus' work.

When we gather together as God's church, we are not there performing worship rituals. We need to get out of the mindset that we are there gaining access to, trying to get intot he holy of holies. Our place, our postion , our pivelege is settled. We are in Christ. When we gather we need to remind ourselves, tell our souls to commune. I am positionaly exactly in the same place in a church meeting as at home, in a fast song as in a slow song. The only difference is a relational/communal postion.
We have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Not our feelings or works.

We could take this onto Romans 12 and explore the worship and sacrifice.
But for now . It is settled . JESUS Is THE WAY, the TRUTH and LIFE. Salvation comes only through Him. Worship can only happen Through Him by those who have His Spirit.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

I was chatting to Goff Hope yesterday and he reminded my of a line in an old song we used to sing, and probably should be re-introducing! viz."I am a new creation" by Dave Bilborough.

The line was : "a lightness in my spirit". What a great expression.

I often witness the Redeemed carrying a heaviness of Spirit (which doesn't make sense?). I often watch people's expressions during praise times and there's a lack of lightness, a seriousness, a sense of striving, effort and pain. I look at classic pictures of modern worship scenes in magazines ,albums and invariably there's a shot of some poor soul reaching out in desperation. Maybe I'm passing a rash judgement and the desperation is a picture of devotion. I'd insist on having happy smiling faces on my album covers!

Jesus has made praise light and accessible. It is a sacrifice but not a burdensome one, a very light one. I wrote a song on this verse in Heb 15 which instructs us to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Doesn't sound heavy to me. The song's bridge is"oh what sacrifice -it is my joy my delight, what would I rather do than give glory to You" (I'm offering up -"Free indeed" album)

I've been meditating/song-writing on Psalm 42/3 and this line keeps coming up.
"Why, my soul, are you downcast?Why so disturbed within me?" But it keeps getting answered by "Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Classic Hebrew poetry. Pose a problem and respond with the answer. I've read material by some worship dudes who stress that the Psalms are 70% lamenting, so we should have more laments in our meetings. At face value the Psalms do lament and root us in realities of life, however, we must always see the big picture and the poetry style is important when reading the Psalms. Our English versions don't tell the half of it. The intentions of the psalms would be to point us to hope, trust and praise in God.

Something I notice in the psalms is that they are full of responses of rejoicing and we are mostly told to sing JOYFUL songs, not just songs.
I do fear that many of our songs and styles/moods of music are melancholic middle of the road, not helping happiness. We should try and surround ourselves with happy tunes and not "coldplay" dirges! Sometimes we don't see the expression of dancing in church because we don't play danceable songs. Let's put ourselves in the place of joy and keep speaking to our souls ...why are you downcast? which leads me to:
Another thing when interpreting the psalms or even the Old Covenant.
We must interpret the Old "in view of the New". The Psalm writer/s would have been pointing ahead and not living in the light of the New Covenant in Christ, in whom we live and find hope, redemption salvation and all that's required. Jesus has made it easy, Matt 11 v 30 "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Psalm 103 v "He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;"We live in the good of this. Why are we lamenting.

We who live in a day of grace should be evidently full of joy, lightness of Spirit.

Let striving cease, come boldly, lightly, happily, freely before the King of grace and offer up a light sacrifice of praise. We serve a kind King, a sinners friend a loving Father who throws parties and puts on loud,wild music.
I am serious about what I believe but happy to be in the truth. I've just finished a song that is quite "heavy" theologically, regarding the cross and Jesus carrying our shame etc., but have written it with a dance, up-beat feel. I thought it appropriate, but have concluded that I can sing about serious, even solemn things in a happy and light mood ...because the truth brings the lightness. We celebrate the truth of the cross and all it means in humility and joy.

If you must lament, do that bit at home, and let's live in the reality of Jesus an all H has done as we gather as God' people.Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say ...rejoice.
PS. I'm not trying to play down hardship sorrow, grief, disappointments. I remember the day when my dear friend and father in the Lord, Simon Pettit, tragically died of a heart attack while I was on a ministry trip with him in New Zealand, serving at a conference. Grief stricken, I abdicated leading the worship the following morning, in reality I was in no emotional state to sing, but by the evening time I actually offered to lead, and what a time of ecstatic praise we had. How could we have been ecstatic? Because of the new covenant. We realised that Simon's hope, our hope was all in Jesus, and amidst sorrow, he truly turns mourning into dancing ...and He did.

I do believe that our normal state of new creations, should be light, happy and care-free .
They say that smiling relaxes your face muscles ...give it a go!

Remember the Kendrick song ...
Let Me have My way among you
Do not strive, do not strive ...
As Psalm 46 v 10 says : 10"Cease striving and know that I am God;


Monday, 7 March 2011

The battle belongs to the Lord

YOU’RE in the ARMY Now
The battle belongs to the Lord

A few weeks ago Marcus, one of the elders at King’s was preaching on the story of David and Goliath, which inspires faith in a mighty God.

I decided to review the passage before the Sunday and ended up writing a song on it.
The song went down pretty well, so it could be one for the next album (releasing it in June)

If I look at the songs I’ve written, the topic of battle and fighting seldom come up. Mostly grace, mercy and love of God. I have written a number on Jesus’ sovereignty, greatness and reign but never battle. Some may feel uncomfortable with war analogies.
I also probably don’t relate too much to the theme, however, just because I don’t relate, doesn’t mean it is not a viable spiritual image and reality in the bible. History proves that war is part of this fallen world. It is not an antiquated concept, but a very present reality for many.
We need to read scripture as it appears, not as we want it to appear.
I remember Terry Virgo saying that the Christian life isn’t like a war, it is a war.
We cannot escape the battle theme … but before I continue, FYI- here’s a little anecdote from my life regarding being in the army.

Excuse this lengthy tangent

Evan- in the army now

I, having being brought up under the apartheid regime in South Africa, was under the law of conscription and had 2 years of military service to complete. Most teenagers leaving school nowadays have to worry about what they’re going to do for their gap year. No chance of that for us white males in apartheid SA. I guess if you’re running a country by suppressing the majority with a 15% of the population minority group, if it was even that, then you have no choice but to boost your military to contain the masses with conscription. It is hard to believe that this was the case and that I was a pawn in it all.
As a kid, I didn’t give much thought to it really. Life is life, and if your parents and your immediate society weren’t making too much noise about it, then it must be okay. Living under the dreaded “group areas act” meant that “apartheid” translated –“separation”, really was the deal and any non-whites were somewhat foreigners to us, apart from our maids and gardeners who were there to serve us!
To be fair, I do have clear recognition of my father refusing to sing our national anthem …particularly in Afrikaans and always wondered what that was all about. I do remember never understanding why there were “Whites Only” signs …or “Blankes Alleenlik” at our beaches, trains, buses, public toilets or any public places etc. But what was there to complain about in sunny South Africa … until the day of leaving school brought the harsh reality of wasting 2 years of my life. In essence being sent to prison for a crime I had not committed (only benefitted from ie. apartheid!) I remember as I was maturing and approaching the big world, my Christian conscious was at play. I recall writing a song during an English matric exam, called “communicate” …I should try find it and put it on for you. What a laugh! It’s very 80’s, but essentially the song was :
“Oh let’s communicate, you know that I can’t wait
Till we can get together and we can talk forever” …

There was a real recognition of …things aren’t right, why this division and separation? (No wonder I didn’t get a great mark!!!)

Nevertheless, I decided no ways; I’m not going to the army. That was too daunting. Leaving home and forced to live in the middle of no where in 40 degree temperatures, running around with a rifle and being shouted at in Afrikaans every day with hundreds of strangers, eating food from an army mess (we often found rats tails etc. in our food!).
So they were offering teacher’s bursaries to study. That’s when I decided, hey, teaching’s not too bad a qualification. I loved sport and could see myself as a PE teacher. Even though my passion was music, I couldn’t see music ever being a viable, sustainable job for the future. Also, if I lived at home, the bursary would mean I was coming out with a profit and I could by music gear! Yeah!
So teaching it was, it bought me 4 years, and things were hotting up in SA politically – not a good time to go to the military cause you were bound to find action on the borders and the chances of being blown up by a land-mine or being shot by some so-called commy terrorist was very real. “Die Swart or “Rooi Gevaar” (Red/Black Danger)- I can never remember which it was, the regime led us to believe we were fighting communism(Reds) .

So I bought some time and delayed the inevitability of the SADF. Some people went to university and never left until conscription had ended. Some ran away and left SA’s shores. Some refused and went to prison or later had to do 6 years community service.
I never thought it would end. The army was inevitable. I chose not to think about it too much until 4 years later, there I was, graduated, wanting to get on with my life and 2 years of nothingness, having to leave my lovely girlfriend, Tracy. Destined for becoming a junior leader –lieutenant, as I was a qualified teacher, I was automatically leadership material and was destined for the semi-desert 40 degrees in the shade “military School” of Oudstshoorn, famous for it’s Ostrich farms and the Cango caves nearby – not that I got close to ever seeing either. Anytime free time given – you got outta there!
[Being loaded – good- bye Cape town, long hair, freedom. Check my weapon ... the guitar on my back]

I heard the amazing news that conscription was being reduced from 2 years to 1 year.
What a relief. I was fortunate to have secured a teaching job for my return in 2 years and now it was only 1 year of separation from beautiful Tracy, so I thought.

My start date was in the January, but due to the sudden change for the new “intake”, there were varying rumours of the date. My friend, Greg Sneddon who was also heading for Oudsthoorn, decided we would take the latest date possible and went for the February intake.[Farewell. Tracy, me, Greg, Karen, mom with the classy shades, Mike Irving]

I could bore you with loads of “army” stories, but to cut an already way too long a tangent short. A miracle happened.
The day of my graduation
There was an upside and downside to that. Actually 2 upsides. Because I was a qualified and “employed” teacher with an existing teaching post, I was paid as a teacher.Good thinking batman. But also due to the confusion, I got a months pay for not working, as we only entered in Feb.
The downside was that Greg and I missed the teacher’s intake in Jan. and ended up in a “school-leaver’s” intake with a company of 16-18 year old army career wannabees. So we were saddled with the keen beans, not the disinterested teachers company. This meant that everything was a competition with the youngsters trying to prove themselves. For example, when being sent to run and fetch a leaf off a tree, you don’t sprint to get there first, if you do the, corporal sends everyone back again for going too slowly. You do it as a group, at the same pace, so that a standard is set and no one stands out. …they didn’t really get the mentality. So lots of running, crawling, bed making at 4:00 am was had by GOLF company.
An upside to being in Golf company and being in a dorm of 4 other older guys with degrees, was that we were in some ways respected by the others, even the corporal sometimes, although Greg and I stood out like sore thumbs as we were the only English speaking guys in the company, the rest all Afrikaans. So it was all a huge culture-shock. Literally felt like prison in some foreign country! Fortunately I understood the language but loved pretending that I struggled to understand and speak it. I was adamant to hang on to my Englishness and not participate with what was considered the language of the oppressor!
When it was my chance to do the drills, I would translate the commands directly from Afrikaans to English. One was …” Met elmboe tussen ruimtes” … “With elbows between spaces”. Just didn’t sound right in English , and no one understood me. This didn’t make the authorities happy and I often got screamed at, but you had to make as much a joke of the situation as you could to keep your sanity.
Anyway …
After the first week of medicals, hoping that they would find something medically or mentally wrong with me, hoping to be discharged, the 2nd week was the CRUNCH for me.
We were issued with our rifles. This was a shock. Up until that point, this was just a jail sentence. Now I was being given a weapon. Although it was a hot topic, I had never really bothered confronting the issue of Christians and war etc. I always thought, when the time arrives I’ll get it over with, without too much fuss and just get on with my life. (although, you were still expected to do a month of “camps” every year post military service). I didn’t want to entertain 6 years of community service or jail … not for me.

In your basic training, they give you 10 or so weeks of lessons every day, some in classrooms, some in the bush. Why basics was in summer –who knows?
Our lessons always started with …” Die doel van hierdie les” with an Afrikaans corporal reluctantly translating it into English …being “The goal of this lesson” … and then off into Afrikaans he would ramble.
But this first lesson is what caused all the problems for me.
They basically stated our purpose for being in the army, which was – to find and kill the enemy in whatever way possible. GULP ! It dawned on me – I’m being trained to be a killer. This did not sit well. Particularly as our war was not a war worth fighting.
Now without going into the whole just war debate and pacifist, I had weeks of struggle and eventually handed in a statement of objection to carrying a weapon. I was applying for non-combatant status as a religious objector. Although much of it could have been argued as political objection, this was not the route to go. I was not prepared to go to jail for this nonsense, when my objections were founded on primary religious issues, but in SA could you ever really separate the two. I had to make sure I had, and believed in the biblical grounds for it. For me, the issue was also around who is our enemy really. The ultimate reality for me was, as a follower of Christ, I could not justify being trained to kill people! My Spirit did not witness with it. Hey, I’m not judging anyone. That’s how I was lead by the Holy Spirit.
I had to plead my case in a court of law, using a valid biblical argument for it. One of the objectors actually got denied for not proving sufficient grounds or demonstrating conviction about his beliefs. Interesting. I even had to have my pastor, Jeff Kidwell, fly up as a witness on my behalf. Hectic.
The crazy thing about this was that they forced me to carry my rifle and do all the training until I had received my non-combatant status, which was near the end of basic training anyway. I did however refuse to shoot the weapon, which they fortunately allowed. Some friends and family supported me, some objected, but I had to in honesty be true to my conscience. Considering the context I do believe it was the right thing to do. I was obviously removed from the officer’s programme after basics and was placed in HQ Company (admin), working in a store. It did come with its own difficulties but in the end I was blessed by getting a post back home in Cape Town under the Chaplain’s services. Absolute miracle. I was home in 6 months, spent the rest of the year working in a Coffee bar

for the Chaplain. Spent most of my time playing the guitar, composing, reading and sadly watching the 6:00pm soap “Loving” every day. Then served coffee and rusks, witnessed, fellowshipped, prayed, led bible studies and then slipped out of the gates at 9:00 pm to sleep at home. Not really allowed to, but my bed at the base was neatly made – ready for an inspection, which never happened. Okay, I have to throw this in. The uniform you see, never got washed! Everyday, I’d enter the base in “civies” (Civilian clothes)and change into the uniform. My job wasn’t very active, so would take it off, place it neatly on the chair and get back into my civies. Lucky it was only 6 months. I must say, I could have done another year like that, getting paid a teacher’s salary, writing songs, ministering …all on the government!

So what has this blog been about. I’ve had fun reminiscing!

Anyway … Oh yes ..the song
“The battle belongs to the Lord” Regardless of my take on war and my feelings about violence etc., war and battle is a real biblical concept. We are told

EX 15:3 The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.

ISA 42:13 The LORD will march out like a mighty man,
like a warrior he will stir up his zeal;
with a shout he will raise the battle cry
and will triumph over his enemies.
JER 20:11 But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior;
so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

We are called the army of God, We are in a spiritual war. Revelations is full of battle images. I’m happy to pick up the weapons described in Ephesians 6. Our war is not carnal. Let’s fight and be courageous warriors along with our great warrior Jesus. Mighty is His name!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

This is the day ...everybody in the church is dancing ....downloading this week.

So I'm making the song available for FREE downloads this week. I've been wondering about the wisdom in it, considering that I intend to release a new album in June featuring the song, but have had numerous request for the trk. so here goes...Thought I'd write a bit about it.

It's one of those songs that you wonder about when writing, thinking , "how will this actually go down?". I've been really surprised at how well received it is and how much joy and celebration it releases.

It was inspired whilst reading Psalm 118 , particularly v 24.

It is essentially about Jesus being our salvation and giving us access to it through Him.
When the psalmist speaks of "This is the day", it most likely refers to the Sabbath.
Now, we can theologize about the sabbath, but I thought that I'd approach it symbolically and view it from a more New covenant approach, being that the Sabbath represents a day of rest. Our souls have found their rest/salvation in Jesus. So in some ways, everyday is a day to celebrate, particularly any gathering of the church regardless of the actual day.
I also got to thinking about salvation. The Psalm speaks about the gates of righteousness being opened. Well that's obviously through God's grace and mercy at the cross. Our righteousness comes not from ourselves but only through Christ.
So I thought, when we come together as God's people, the early church often regarded it as the sabbath,a dedicated time for devotion to God, we must celebrate in it, as the psalm says. The basis of this rejoicing and being glad is based on what Christ had done for us. So it's a reveling in His grace and mercy.

When the bible talks of rejoicing, dancing is assumed, so it led me into thinking that if we are to celebrate and be glad in "this day" of gathering , ...."everybody in the church should be dancing" !!! I thought, mmm catchy line maybe - so that became my little hook line.

I also like to keep the versus to the point and wanted to express the basis of our celebration as the focus.
One of my hobby horses is that we as Christians tend to say a lot, but often don't act upon or do, or even believe/perceive what we are saying. If we were truly amazed at His grace and mercy, the right response needs to be a demonstrative response. We've been Saved from death, damnation, sickness, shame, saved for abundant life, eternity, much.
Joy must be expressed, demonstrated. I guess that's why I often like to sing about dancing, even thought it's something we should be doing rather than talking about, so I hope that by singing about it, we would actually do it. There isn't just dancing in our hearts must be translate to our feet if it's in our hearts ...let's get real !!!!
I also like the "everybody" idea. The communal aspect to dancing is important. Dancing in the bible would mostly refer to communal, round, dances. When we dance in church, it's not a rave where we're off on our own self-gratifying rave, but we rave together as a corporate people, celebrating in "our" not only my salvation.
I like to get people to sing to and encourage each other at the "everybody ..." section.

Gladness/joy is a major theme in the bible, but I don't see a lot of it around. When I lead , I often find the need to help people understand that they can be, should be, must be happy. As with dancing, joy is not only deep down in our hearts must be expressed. The psalms say ... happy are those whose sins are forgiven ...mmmm. We need to be happy people, otherwise - are we living in the good of our sins being forgiven? -interesting argument. Sure we have a a deep inner joy, but the fruits of the Spirit need to be evident. Don't be so serious, smile a while and give your face a rest.

So, everybody in the church ultimately ...should be dancing. Even if it's a vague happy shuffle or sway.

When I got to thinking about melody and groove, I thought it has to have a dance groove to fit the message of the song.Which led me to a techno, synthy, rave/dance vibe - (not much like that around) and that's where the little music hook came in, which actually makes the song really.
I've found that if I want to play it and there's no lead instrument to play the line, I get the congregation to sing it ... can be quite fun and releasing as well.

I also thought that a nice music interlude/line allows space for people to give themselves to liberally dancing rather than singing and trying to dance, so this line gets repeated quite a bit when playing it, but it's all for a purpose.

We are a dancing army, God's a dancer, let's return the favour.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Year

Another year has come and gone...

When it comes to new year parties, I often think, why are we celebrating another year of our lives passing? Getting older, the grave approaching - yes I can be a bit morbid at times. But for us as Christians it's all good, because we are a people who can look at the past and thank God or all he has done and we can look to the future and thank Him for future grace and all He will do in our lives. We can be like Paul and be happy with serving God here on earth or worshipping Him in heaven ...the future is bright.
These moments / festivals are great to cause us to consider our lives and to "number our days" (Psalm 90 v 12), so that we can put them in perspective and live our lives in reverent fear of Him, the one we serve. It's a time to put our priorities right if they've been wrong. Put Jesus first ...make Him "number 1" and celebrate in His mercies each day and each year, every moment.

On Friday night I had the opportunity of doing just that and had the priviledge of leading at a Praise party with Jubilee church - London.
"That was where the party was" and "everybody in the church was dancing".
There were about 800 or so of us reveling in God's goodness and grace. He gives us every reason to rejoice. We don't actually need new year to arrive to have wild celebrations, but there are occasions when we have expectations to let our hair down and be unashamedly crazy for the King!

I would love all our meetings to be wild celebrations in God, but I guess in reality they won't be, but maybe in our church calendars we should factor in regular moments when our church meetings are real celebrations, where we expect to let our hair down more than usual. In the old testament we see numerous festivals where God's people would gather and have days of wild partying.
Talking to Tope Koleoso, he spoke about them having "High Sundays" . I like that ..High Sundays of high praise.

Perhaps we should aim/plan to have these more regularly in our church calendar. If
I had my way, at least once a month, but each church will know what they can handle!