Over the past month we’ve been introducing a new song to the “canon” of First Free’s Weekend worship songs, “Your Name is Power” by the group Rend Collective. We first heard it in our “virtual listening party” while quarantine was in full swing, ,and I was struck then as I am continually struck now by the effect singing those words as a church has. Colossians 3:16-17 says:
Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
There is something particularly wonderful about hearing the saints singing to one another encouragement, admonition, and in thankfulness. As the church gathers, part of what we do is find ways to build one another up (Col 2:7) when we speak, pray, listen to the sermon, and particularly when we sing. When we sing “Your Name is Power,” it starts with the bold declaration:
You’re the only answer to the darkness / You’re the only right among the wrong
You’re the only hope among the chaos / You are the voice that calls me on
After a brief chorus, the church shakes as it sings out:
Your Name is Power over darkness / Freedom for the captive
Mercy for the broken and the hopeless
Your name is Faithful in the struggle / Glory in the struggle
Mighty it won’t let us down or fail us / Your name is POWER!
What a delight it is in the world that is increasingly chaotic, increasingly toxic to Christianity, increasingly angry at everyone in it we can gather together and encourage one another with these words! The one true God we worship is the Go that brings calm in the storm, power when we feel powerless, light in the our darkness, hope when we’re discouraged, peace in our calamity, joy in our sorrow…this is the power of the name of Jesus.
So often we forget that.
We look at the problems in the world around us, the difficulties we know are here or on the horizon for our children and we feel like we have no way to surpass the hurdles ahead we can rejoice that the power comes not from ourselves but from the person of Jesus Christ. It is by resting in His strength that we can move forward with confidence, for HIS name is POWER!
For His Glory,
This post is part of our “THIS WE BELIEVE” series in conjunction with the “From the Desk” video bog. You can see the latest entry at the end of the post.
Article 10: We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will bodily raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment, and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord, in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. AMEN
Over the past few months, we have been talking about our Statement of Faith at FEFC, and moreover how the songs we sing on Sunday reflect our beliefs. While every song we sing won’t necessarily have a direct correlation to each one of our articles, what we sing as a congregation should reflect our beliefs overall. This week, we conclude this series with the final article on our response and our eternal destination.
There was a period of time in our recent church history where songs of heaven, but the trend of recent song writing has moved our focus from the eternal to the temporal… from heaven to the here and now. This trend isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as many songs from that period pull from extra-biblical sources or imagery that is often only loosely based on the beauty of what heaven will be.
That being said, last year we sang a song as a special called “Soon” from Hillsong and arranged by Jon Guerra. The gentle lyrics and melody serve as a reminder to one another as we sing that heaven is waiting, that there is an eternity ahead of us in the presence of our Savior. Likewise, we sang “What if we knew” from Tommy Walker, reminding that life as we knew it could end at any moment and eternity could be upon us… should we not be eager to tell those around us before time runs out for our non-believing friends and family? “Amazing Grace” reminds us that the end result of our redemption story is of a future that is limitless to worship our savior. “How Great Thou Art” concludes in its final verse an image of worship of our great God for eternity. Countless songs we regularly sing remind us that there is a transcendent reality that exists beyond what we can see.
As those who have obeyed in God’s command for obedience, our eternity is glorious and something to be eagerly yearned for. We must never forget, however, that eternity lies for all of us. It is fairly understandable that our worship songs do not include myriad verses on Hell and eternal punishment, but that, too should influence what we sing. The Getty’s revival of the classic missions Hymn “Facing the Task Unfinished” encourage us to continue in the mission to go and tell the world of the good news of the Gospel!
Even if we don’t always have a song that directly correlates with our statement of faith I hope it’s been clear that what we sing as we gather each weekend is indicative of what we believe. Part of our purpose in gathering for worship is that “in all wisdom teach and admonish one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:16) To that end, we choose songs that do just that. My prayer is that that was made clear as we have spent time together in this series!
For His Glory,
Welcome back to “Worship Notes,” I hope that you all had a great Holiday season as you were able to celebrate as best you could despite the COVID-19 Pandemic! I am looking forward to the year ahead as we continue to see how our Worship is connected to how we believe and how we live. The founding principle behind this blog series is based around a quote from Gordon Fee: “Show me a church’s songs, and I’ll show you their theology.” As we talked about last Sunday, our Theology and Doctrine are worthless unless they are put into practice in how we live and work every day.
After the terrible events of yesterday (1/6/21) in our nation’s capital, the song that has been on repeat in my mind’s soundtrack has been Cornerstone, which is a modern treatment of the hymn The Solid Rock. In the early 19th century, Pastor Edward Mote wanted to write a hymn that summarized the “gracious experience of a Christian.” He began with the familiar chorus and quickly finished four verses. The text of that great Hymn is written below:
My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
In every rough and stormy gale my anchor holds within the vale
When all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope and stay
Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest on His unchanging love
I trust His righteous character, His counsel, promise and His power.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, o may I then in Him be found
dressed in His righteousness alone – faultless to stand before the Throne!
It is easy to see how quickly we can lose our focus and reliance on the only true, sure foundation. The world looks to political systems, social movements, and powerful personalities to provide the safety and security that every person truly longs for. In a world of chaos, we want safe harbor! If anything, we have seen how putting our hopes in these “shifting sands” ultimately let us down.
Psalm 20:7 says “Some trust in Chariots, some in Horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD, our God.” As we look at the turmoil in our culture today, I encourage you to pray for our nation. Not that a favored political party, movement, or figure gains or retains power in order to provide security – but that they would find the true assurance and peace that comes in knowing Jesus.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (Food, Shelter, Clothing, etc.) will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its trouble.” -Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV)
For His Glory,