What’s Your Verse?

What’s Your Verse?
My brother would answer as follows:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:6
He especially likes the past tense on those verbs!
Why, because for us believers, it has already happened.
It’s the Story of His Life!!
Honestly, I needed help with this verse because frankly, I am not there yet in my walk with Christ. I am a devout, old time, Confessional Lutheran who never misses bible class, and yet, I struggle with this verse. So I asked him for more. What does it mean to him? Why did he spend ten years of his life writing a book called “Seated Above, Looking Below?
Bob’s Answer
I remember watching a Robin Williams movie and really getting a lot of spiritual impressions from certain scenes. In the film he plays an iconoclastic teacher who tries to get the students to think for themselves and to “carpe diem, because tomorrow we will all be fertilizer for daffodils.” There was this one scene where he actually told the students to get out of their chairs and to get up and stand on the teacher’s desk in order to see things from a different perspective. So one by one, each student took turns standing on top of his or her desk.
The biblical admonition is similar because God wants us to see things in a new way. The Ephesians letter is what I call “The Great Finished Work Letter” for in Ephesians 2 we read that we are “seated together with Christ in heavenly places.” Imagine that! I am seated above looking below. Right now! 
Pure Gold
The Christian message is that man is too depraved and falls short of God’s standards – so Christ came, lived a perfect life, and He stands in the gap for me by offering Himself on the cross and taking my death, my punishment, my shame in my place. And for my simple faith, not my works or my religious efforts, God saves me, changes me, and makes me a new creation in Christ, here in time and space. This is why in Colossians 3 we read these words “if Ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, for you died and your life is know hidden with Him.”
Positional truth now says that I am a citizen of another kingdom, even though I am finishing up down here on earth. So very much like Robin Williams, trying to get his students to see in a new way, God Himself is trying to get the Christian to see in a new way. We are seated way up above and He has already blessed us in spiritual realms and has lifted us up to be kings and priests with Him. We are a royal priesthood! Isn’t it great to know that you don’t have to work yourself into a frenzy and go piling up brownie points before God will accept you. He already has accepted you! He died for you! He loved you before their was even a planet to stand on, and in His infinite foreknowledge He saw those who would believe in His son, and in that sense we have been predestined, ransomed, redeemed and adopted. We truly are Seated Above Looking Below. Wow!!!
- Bobby Brown
Seated Above Looking Below is available on Amazon at this link:
It is free for Amazon Prime members!

Summer Psalm for August 10, 2014 – Pentecost 9

Summer Psalm for August 10, 2014 – Pentecost 9
Based on Psalm 18 (selected verses)

Song Choices: 
“I Love You Lord” by Laurie Klein (Song #107 in the “Best of the Best” songbooks)

Level of Difficulty:
The entire congregation can sing this song.

You Tube:

Rationale for the Song Choices:
The song is based on the opening verse of the Psalm.

Suggested Format:
Musicians softly play the verse or chorus in the background

M:​ I love you, O LORD, my strength.
C: ​The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
M:​ my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
C:​ He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
M:​ I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
C:​ and I am saved from my enemies.

Congregation Sings: Verse, Verse & Chorus

M:​ He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
C:​ He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
M:​ He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
C:​ You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
M:​ You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
C:​You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

Congregation Sings: Verse, Verse & Chorus

Joy!

Here’s what brings joy:

Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

The order is important.

“Joy” is elusive because we tend to reverse it. Ourselves first and Jesus last. We spell the word YOJ. It just doesn’t work. Actually Jesus put us first. He put you first and himself last. This is the Gospel, this is the death on the cross.

Joy is all about Jesus.

Christianity begins with Jesus,
the trail eventually ends with Jesus,
and everybody, one day, must answer to Jesus.

Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

Here’s the greatest joy,
knowing beyond any shadow of doubt
that every single one of your sins,
even your secret ones,
even the ones you have not committed yet,
even the ones that you are most shameful for,
are completely and absolutely forgiven,
and that all of your accumulated guilt is removed,
and that you are washed squeaky clean in the eyes of your maker.

That’s what Jesus came to do.
You first – Himself last.
He wants you to have joy.
Not power, not prestige, not money.
Unending joy!

(The “JOY” acronym is attributed to RC Sproul)

Jesus didn’t come to earth to build a kingdom. He brought one with Him.

He is the kingdom. He is the entry point.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” – Matthew 3:2

 

Jesus is nearer than you think.
He was one of us.
He knows you inside and out.
Every thought, every quirk, every breathe, every hair, every detail of your life.
Jesus is with you.
Always.
Don’t ever forget that!

Joy!

Jesus not only has a word for you, He is the word.

Summer Psalm for August 3, 2014 – Pentecost 8

Summer Psalm for August 3, 2014 – Pentecost 8
Based on Psalm 65 (selected verses)

Song Choices: 
“Shout to The Lord” by Darlene Zechech

Level of Difficulty:
The entire congregation can sing this song.

You Tube:
You already know this song!

Rationale for the Song Choices:
God’s greatness resounds loudly in both the Psalm and the song choice.

Suggested Format:

Musicians softly play the verse or chorus in the background

M: God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
C: who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, M: who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
C: The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. 
Congregation Sings: Verse 1 and Chorus

Musicians continue to play softly in the background

M: You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.
C: The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. M: You crown the year with your bounty,
C: and your carts overflow with abundance. M: The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
C: the hills are clothed with gladness. M: The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain;
C: they shout for joy and sing.

Congregation Sings: Verse 2 and Chorus

Summer Psalm for July 27, 2014 – Pentecost 7

Summer Psalm for July 27, 2014 – Pentecost 7
Based on Psalm 145 (selected verses)
Song Choices: 
1. “How Great is Our God” by Chris Tomlin
2. “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman
Level of Difficulty:
The entire congregation can sing both song choices except one portion noted below.
You Tube:
1. 10,000 Reasons:
2. How Great is Our God:
Rationale for the Song Choices:
  1. “How Great is Our God” captures the essence of the first four verses of Psalm 145.
  2. “10,000 Reasons” contains my favorite verse from Ps 145 – verse 8 and is a praise-filed song, much like Psalm 145 itself.
Suggested Format for use with “How Great is Our God”:
Musicians softly play the verse or chorus in the background
M: I will exalt you, my God the King;
C: I will praise your name for ever and ever. M: Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 
C: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;M: his greatness no one can fathom. 
C: One generation commends your works to another;
Congregation Sings: Verse 1 and Chorus
Musicians continue to play softly in the background
M: they tell of your mighty acts. 
C: They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. M: They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. 
C: They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Congregation Sings: Verse 2 and Chorus
Musicians continue to play softly in the background
 
M: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 
C: The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 
M: All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. 
C: They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 
Soloists Only – The Band Sings the final Chorus, the Bridge and the Ending
Note that the bridge is pitched a bit too high for most congregational voices.
Suggested Format for use with “10,000 Reasons”:
Musicians softly play the verse or chorus in the background
M: I will exalt you, my God the King;
C: I will praise your name for ever and ever. M: Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 
C: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;M: his greatness no one can fathom. 
C: One generation commends your works to another;
Congregation Sings: Chorus and Verse 1
Musicians continue to play softly in the background
M: they tell of your mighty acts. 
C: They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. M: They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds. 
C: They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Congregation Sings: Chorus (CODA) and Verse 2
Musicians continue to play softly in the background 
M: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 
C: The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. M: All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. 
C: They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 
Congregation Sings: Chorus, (Band Instr.), Verse 3, Chorus and ending
Additional Readings if Needed:
M: Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
C: The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. 
M: The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 
C: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 
M: You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 
C: The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 
M: The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 
C: He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 
M: The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 
C: My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

 

His Eyes

His Eyes
by Bobby Brown

His eyes first saw Mary
And her enlightened face
Then they looked at Joseph
And that primitive manger place

He’d grow to see the villages
Of Nazareth and Galilee
And yet He’d seen them before
Somewhere before; in eternity

His eyes would see the lilies
And the sparrows when they call
The mountains, seas and forests
For He created them all

He also saw the people
And came to set them free
And somehow in His foresight
His eyes, they looked at me.

Seated Above, Looking Below

An Enigma

An Enigma
by Bobby Brown

“The deep calls unto the deep.” – Psalm 42:7

Jesus often would wander
Up into the mountains to pray
And He was never in a hurry
It seemed to be His way

Hundreds of people would gather
To listen to the master teach
Once he sat inside a boat
So the masses could hear Him preach

He didn’t get excited over crowds
For He knew what was in men’s heart
Rather He focused on just a few
To give the “good news” a start

His aura possessed a divine quietness
His passion was deep within
To most He’d always be an enigma
This future bearer of all sin

Seated Above, Looking Below

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians

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