Here's a couple more things I enjoyed from the September Worship Leader...not too cheesy.
song story "God of This City"
In our pre-launch phase of church planting, "God of This City" sort of became our theme song. Shawn heard it at a church planting conference and was moved as the names of the cities across the U.S. where church plants were starting up this year scrolled across the screen. We've used it many times over the last year, but I was very moved when I read the story of its origins.
It would seem that it originated with a band called Bluetree out of Belfast. This group was on mission in Thailand, in a city famous for being the most famous sex-tourist destination on the planet. The band, in looking for venues to play, had an open door at a bar. "The Climax Bar"...you can imagine what was sold there. As the band played a worship set and began praying over their location, and the neediness of the city, Aaron Boyd was moved to sing a new song on the spot, "You're the God of this city, You're the King of these people, You're the Lord of this nation, You Are."
Gives new perspective to the lyrics, huh? God is indeed God of that city, and my city, and your city. He desires to be King of us all....no matter what our lifestyles.
Other article I was interested in: "Jonathan Stockstill, Catching the Gravity of Worship."
This was an interview with Jonathan Stockstill, front for Deluge Band. Here's what caught my attention. It's like God is saying the same stuff to him that he's been saying to me. "We tend to wander through different church growth strategies, without asking, what does God want us to do? If Jesus were here and was the pastor of this church, what would it look like? What would it be, you know? So many ministries can do church without God. They have marketing teams that have huge churches. They just pat themselves on the back and think it's amazing, but what they are doing hasn't required God's help to get there. It's just a huge social club. Just look at Oprah." "It's like we feel the need to build our own kingdoms within the kingdom. And it's good for us to dream, but it's easy to get caught trying to build our own dominions, instead of realizing we're just a part of the kingdom." This is what I've been saying, right? It's not about a show....it's about Jesus. It is easy to stumble off into doing ministry in our own strength and wisdom, harder to walk in humility and surrender. Doing ministry in my own strength is not incredible and amazing. It is only in seeing what God can do that there is any awe.
Then here's this, "I think a lot of the time what we think is holiness is really purity. Holiness is what you do. It's not what you don't do....Holiness is the pursuit of God....Look at the Pharisees. They were always talking about abstaining. But they weren't holy." I pondered on this a lot today. About the difference between holiness and purity. I had never considered the difference in the two terms, but I think the kid may be right.
We focus hard on purity as a church. Don't........whatever. The rules are mind - boggling and discouraging. I can never manage to keep up with them all. I think purity is certainly a component of holiness. I do think that when we are living in purity, it is easier to find God than when we are swallowed up in deliberate sin. However, I think that as believers we seem to rarely move beyond the quest for purity. Holiness...the quest for God and being intimately connected with Him is a journey that I found on my own. It is a walk that is more about discovering God's character and living a life of obedience and love and seeking God's face than about all the "nots". When I focus on holiness, it seems that purity follows close behind. When I am intimately seeking God's face, and I am consumed with hunger and passion and desire for Him, I am not as interested in sin. It is when I am doing ministry in my own ability and being full of myself and focusing on other "stuff", instead of my God - relationship, that sin easily entangles me. It's like walking into a cobweb in the dark. Surprisingly sticky and hard to get out of.
That's my take on the September issue of Worship Leader. A little better than the August issue. I may even attempt to read the October issue that's been thrown under my bed since it arrived a couple of weeks ago. There were even a couple of "decent" songs on the CD. It was cool to see an old friend show up on the Song Discovery CD. Way to go Matt!