One Voice

Download the song for free on NOISETRADE.

Some time ago my friend, Josh, and I were working with Crossroads Missions in New Orleans. We started talking about song writing and he told me about a chorus he had written that he used during a chapel time with the mission groups that were coming in [which is most of the chorus that is currently in the song].  I loved the focus on unity – especially in the context of the hundreds of churches, mission groups, and denominations working together during the rebuilding phase in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  My intention was to wrap some verses around the chorus and call it finished but it got shelved.  A couple years later I heard a teaching from another friend of mine about the words “hallelujah,” and “amen.” In summary, he stated that these two words were powerful because, in every language they were found across the globe, they meant the same thing: to praise God and to agree together.   I decided to do some of my own research about it and found this:

  • Hallelujah: Halal means to be clamorously foolish in praise and it combined with the name of God -Yahweh.
  • Amen: To agree, in unison, that something is truth.

This idea seemed to work well with the flow of the chorus that Josh wrote so I began to rework the song to incorporate a response with Hallelujah and Amen in the bridge and ending.  I wanted the song to be accessible lyrically and musically catchy so that it would be easy for people to sing in a short amount of time.  I began working out some lyrics for the verses that would help to explain the context of the response and serve as a connector for the chorus and bridge.  The final result became a congregational worship song that proclaims unity among believers and ends with a built-in response for any culture or language that might sing it!

Recently, a friend of mine suffered the loss of his mother.  He mentioned to me, as an encouragement, that the words “hallelujah” and “amen” are even being sung i
n heaven [Rev 19].  He was moved by the thought of his mother singing this song alongside him as we sang it in the services the week following her memorial.

It is exciting and humbling to see our new church community embrace these songs and to watch God use these them to minister to people in celebration and even in pain. I am thankful that God would use ordinary people like Josh and myself to write new songs and to inspire others to find refuge in His name.

Advertisements

Children Of Light E.P.

I have been working on a New Worship Album with the College & Career Ministry at Faith Bible Church, CITIZENS.  We wrote the songs on the Children of Light E.P. to fortify the Fall Retreat theme, IDENTITY, and recorded them as a way embed these lyrics into our minds and hearts as we went back home.  The theme revolved around rejecting lies that Satan throws at us through past failures, media, exaggerated romance, and porn to embrace the truths that God has spoken through His word and even specifically to us as individuals.  We hope that the ebenezer we have created is honoring to our King and speaks life into those who listen.

All songs are available for free download at Noisetrade.com.  Please, check it out and share with your friends!

Children of Light EP Cover

What Does God’s Voice Sound Like?

WHAT DOES GOD’S VOICE SOUND LIKE?

At our gatherings this weekend at Faith Bible Church, Dan’s message ended with an illustration from Erwin Mcmannus that I thought was especially thought provoking.  It not only speaks about simply hearing God’s voice, it calls us to consider the small steps that harden our  hearts toward shutting God’s voice off completely.  

I found the story online and thought I would post it here:

Erwin McManus, a pastor in Los Angeles, tells a great story about recognizing God’s voice.

My son, Aaron, was five or six when he began asking me, “What does God’s voice sound like?” I didn’t know how to answer.

A few years later, Aaron went off to his first junior high camp. In the middle of the week, I went up with another pastor at Mosaic to see our kids. Aaron, I learned, had started to assault another kid but had been held back by his friends. He was unrepentant, wanted to leave camp, pulled together his stuff, and shoved it into the car.

I asked him for a last talk with me before we drove away. We sat on two large rocks in the middle of the woods. “Aaron,” I asked, “is there any voice inside you telling you what you should do?”

“Yes,” he nodded.

“What’s the voice telling you?”

“That I should stay and work it out.”

“Can you identify that voice?”

“Yes,” he said immediately. “It’s God.”

It was the moment I’d waited for.

“Aaron,” I said, “do you realize what just happened? You heard God’s voice. He spoke to you from within your soul. Forget everything else that’s happened. God spoke to you, and you were able to recognize Him.”

I will never forget Aaron’s response: “Well, I’m still not doing what God said.”

I explained to him that that was his choice, but this is what would happen. If he rejected the voice of God coming from deep within and chose to disobey His guidance, his heart would become hardened, and his ears would become dull. If he continued on this path, there would be a day when he would never again hear the voice of God. There would come a day when he would deny that God even speaks or has ever spoken to him.

But if he treasures God’s voice, however it comes to him—through the scriptures, through his conscience—and responds to Him with obedience, then his heart would be softened, and his ears would always be able to hear the whisper of God into his soul.

Aaron chose to stay, I’m grateful to say. If he had chosen differently, he would have begun the path toward nominal discipleship. Perhaps he never would have rejected the faith overtly. He might have even chosen to be a faithful attendee at a church and been by everyone else’s estimation a good man, but he would no longer be a close Jesus-follower.

Strangely Reacquainted

Since my recent move from New Orleans back to Phoenix, I have a sense that I have been strangely reacquainted with the desert.  The familiarity of the things I forgot like the smell of the air before it rains, the faded mountains in the distance, and the warped colors of the sky when the sun sets are hitting me in a fresh new sense.  Beauty that I would have misplaced has been reintroduced to me and it’s as if I have been given new lenses to view it all.

My initial decision to leave NOLA was incredibly difficult and I didn’t arrive at the decision easily.  In fact, I believe God was opening my eyes to the realization that New Orleans had become an idol to me that I didn’t want to hand over to him.  Friendships and ministry were rooted deeply and, since we arrived in 2006, we have seen lots of Kingdom fruit growing in the lives of those in our community.  It’s a city of people I love in a culture I love and it has changed me more than I have ever impacted it.  However, in many ways that I can’t seem to specify, I felt the weight of New Orleans was bearing down on us; squeezing us.  Remaining in New Orleans was a battle that I fought for much of the time I was there and I believe this fight was good.  It wasn’t until the last year that I believe the “squeezing” was God’s hand and He was revealing to me that it was time to let go.

Our re-entry into Phoenix has surrounded us with many great things: old and new friends, a new church community to serve, and the ability to see our families more often.  The rhythms of life are healthier since Emily and I have been able to stand in the family roles that we feel are powerful and appropriate.  These are all factors contributing to the reasons that I feel confirmed in our decision to move but there is something else too.

Again, for reasons I can’t fully specify, I have a sense that I am placed exactly where God would like.   I feel like a pawn on a chess board who has realized, and revels in the fact that, he was strategically positioned by the player early in the game to take part in the steps that would eventually lead the King to move in for the final move.  I don’t know the final move [and I don’t intend to know it] but I do know the Kingdom is moving by the hand of the King and we just need to trust that He is in control and He is good.

Seven Sign Of John | CMA Resources

This article seemed relevant to our current study of John in the College and Careers group from Faith Bible Church so I though I would repost.  It is taken from CMA Resources [Original here].

Seven Signs in John: A Simple Process for Evangelism and Starting Churches

[Originally] Posted on April 24th, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus is the flame that burns at the grassroots of the apostolic movement. Having a means of igniting that flame in such a way that those who catch it can spread it on the same day is an extremely valuable catalyst. We felt we needed a means of unveiling the true Christ to a person open to it that was simple enough that everyone could do it in any culture, language or generation. That is a tall order to fill. We found our answer in the Bible, specifically the Gospel of John.
Apparently, while John was with Jesus from the start and saw all the miracles performed, he selected these particular miracles and included them in this specific orderThe Seven Signs of John is based on the words that the apostle John writes near the end of his gospel. He said, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31)

[i] for a purpose-to open the eyes of the unbeliever to have faith in the real Christ and gain eternal life. This is not my opinion; this is what the Scriptures themselves say. Consider it this way: the Holy Spirit is telling you that the miracle stories in the gospel of John are the stories that are best to present the true Christ to an unbelieving heart. It is quite common for American Christian leaders to exaggerate the effectiveness of a method, but in this case it is the Holy Spirit making the claim, not me.

The Seven Signs are as follows:

  1. The turning of water into wine (John 2:1-12)
  2. The healing of the royal official’s son (John 4:46-54)
  3. The healing of the paralytic at the Bethesda pool (John 5:1-17)
  4. The feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-14)
  5. The walking on water (John 6:15-25)
  6. The healing of the man born blind (John 9:1-41)
  7. The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-46)

The way it works is that each week the person or persons you are sharing with is encouraged to read one of the stories once every day. So in the first week, they read the story of Jesus turning water into wine every day. At the end of the week when you get together and read the passage again together, you ask four simple questions and have a discussion about the passage. The questions are:

1. What does this story say to you about people?

2. What does this story say to you about Jesus?

3. What does this story have to say about you?

4. Who needs to hear this story?

(Download/Print One Page Worksheet)

This can easily be done meeting once a week over a cup of coffee with anyone who is a spiritual seeker. Every organic church I have ever started began going weekly through these stories and simply asking the questions. I have yet to do so and not have someone commit to follow Christ. I am not guaranteeing you the same results, but we can take the Holy Spirit’s word for it that these stories will help people believe in Jesus.

This simple and profound ministry tool crosses all cultural barriers because it is simply the Bible speaking for itself (a significant principle!). It reproduces because anyone can ask a few easily remembered questions. This is not a model of church or a human curriculum. It is simply unleashing the power of God’s word to do what it does in a life. The only way you could say that this doesn’t work cross-culturally is to say that the Bible doesn’t work cross-culturally. Even in an oral culture that is not literate this tool will still work because it is basic story telling.

[i] It is clear that while The Gospel of John follows Jesus’ life it is not ordered in a strict chronological order. It is put together more topically than the synoptic gospels. The miracles that John writes about are placed in an intentional order. Therefore, following the order as John intended, while not absolutely necessary, has advantages.

Listen to an Audio of Neil Cole sharing about this Tool

Download/Print Entire Article

Download/Pring One Page Worksheet