At the moment, I’m getting my head around being music director for an upcoming Chrysalis retreat. I did this last year, so a lot of my song choices have been able to be transferred, but it does mean that I can spend more time looking for other songs that might fit even better.
At my church, we’ve also started having the youth band on twice a month now, which means that I’m now choosing twice as many songs, so I can be choosing more songs. So I’m constantly on the look out for more songs that can be used. Here’s a selection of worship songs that I’m loving right now.
First off, a couple of songs from Hillsong Chapel, Saviour King, and Hosanna
I love the space in this version of Saviour King, that the instruments just get out of the way and you can just focus on the words. The chorus for me is incredibly powerful, and I think I’ll be able to use this (in some form) at Chrysalis.
As for Hosanna, I’m considering an “acoustic” set for the next Youth Meeting, and love the arrangement of this version.
Now for something a bit more uptempo – and a bit older too.
This song has been in my head for a while now, and I’m not sure where I’m going to use it, but I think that there will be something coming up that it will be just perfect for. I think I especially love the brass lines here, really makes it pop!
This is a new song by Aaron Keyes (co written by others such as Ben Smith and Graham Kendrick). It’s wonderful lyrics are backed up by a great easy to sing Hymn-esque tune. This is a wonderful praise song, and I can’t wait to use it somewhere.
So that’s what I’m listening to at the moment and what’s going through my head. What songs are getting you passionate for Christ at the moment?
So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
The Brotherhood of St. Lawrence provides a document stating the difference between the Henderson poverty Line, and what people receive from Centrelink payments. The data is pretty shocking. For the March 2007 Quarter, a couple, one of whom is in the workforce with two dependant children, the Poverty line was drawn at $661.45. Centerlink would pay such a family $541.08, a difference of $120.37. In fact, the only situation where someone on Centrelink payments would not be below the poverty line is if they are a couple over the age of 65 and not in the workforce, or a couple on the disability support pension.
This is not good enough!
The government should be taking more action to ensure that no-one that it is supporting is forced to live below the poverty line. Today, as an action, write to your local member, asking them what is being done about reducing the gap between the poverty line and centrelink payments, and pray for those who are living below that line.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence was the vision and creation of Fr Gerard Tucker, a man who combined his Christian faith with a fierce determination to end social injustice. The Brotherhood has developed into an independent organisation with strong Anglican and community links. They continue to fight for an Australia free of poverty.
They provide a full range of services including job training and placement programs, care for the elderly and people with disabilities, early childhood development programs and support services for newly arrived refugees and migrants. These services are focussed in Victoria, from Craigieburn in Melbourne’s North down to Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula.
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
"You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
"You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
"You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
"You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
"You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
"You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
"You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
"You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
My mum proudly states that she was declared a heretic. The accusation came at the Anglican Synod, after she claimed that there was biblical evidence that Jesus favoured the poor. I’ll go into those examples another day, but Jesus does call us to care for the poor and needy – and it’s part of why I love the Salvos so much. They are so focussed on working with the needy and forgotten in our society, to make sure they are looked after.
This reading – the Beatitudes – is one that I find incredibly encouraging for all people. I love the way Eugene Peterson has written this passage. When we’re at the end of our rope, where the only hope we have is in God, it’s then that we have completely removed ourselves and allow God to fully control our lives. When we have lost that which we care about most (the NIV translates it as “those who mourn”), it is then that the one who will always care for us is known. When you are not building yourself up, boasting or bragging, but are content with who you are, you will receive “everything that can’t be bought”. Personally, I prefer the NIV translation of the next verse: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” When you desire equity, goodness, honour, integrity, morality and justice as much as food and drink, it is then that we shall see that which we desire.
I could go on, but I think I might save it for a sermon one day. Goal for today: read the Beatitudes, and reflect on which one you might be needing to hear today.