Lifestyle Worship – The Book

“Lifestyle Worship” – The Book!

I am very excited to announce the release of my book titled “LifestyleLifestyle Worship Cover Worship – Poems, Prayers & Ministry Resources.”

The book contains the very best of “Worship Ideas You Can Use” together with the stories and inspiration behind the writings as well as lots of new material. This book has been six grace-filled years in the making.

I have heard that a writer only writes one pure book, and it’s always his or her first. I can tell you that this book is written from my heart.

In the book you will read:
– the story of my “calling”
– a special poem I wrote for my Pastor,
– prayers for friends and family
– inspirational pieces written as a result of conversations with some of you!

You can read a few excerpts and learn more about the book here:

Lifestyle Worship: Poems, Prayers & Ministry Resources

The E-book is being introduced at a special rate of $0.99! The paperback version should be available in a few weeks!

Confession and Absolution of Sins for the Epiphanies

Confession And Absolution of Sins for the Epiphanies of Our Lord

by Michael Zarling
Guitar chords to “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” by Steve Brown

In studying the history of the Epiphany Festival, one can see that the Western Church, when it does focus on the Epiphany, focuses mainly on the visit of the Magi. However, the ancient Festival of the Epiphany and its celebration in the Eastern Church focuses more on the Epiphany of the Lord with the visit of the Magi, Christ’s baptism and his first miracle at Cana.

The following text is an opening liturgy that addresses all three epiphany lessons (the Magi, the Baptism of our Lord, and the wedding at Cana) and uses two well known Epiphany hymns from the Christian Worship Lutheran Hymnal:

CW 91 – “The Star Proclaims the King is Here” by Coelius Sedulous
CW 82 – “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” by Christopher Wordsworth

Sing: The star proclaims the King is here; But, Herod, why this senseless fear?
For he who came from heaven’s throne Does not desire an earthly crown. (CW: 91 v1)
Minister: In the name of God the Father,
Congregation: who placed a star in the sky to announce His Son’s birth.
M: In the name of God the Son,
C: who received a sinner’s baptism and revealed himself in his miracle at Cana.
M In the name of God the Holy Spirit,
C: who has brought us to believe in the great epiphanies of our Lord. Amen.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, praised by the angels, adored by the shepherds and worshiped by the Magi,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sing: The wiser Magi saw from far And followed on his guiding star,
And, led by light, to Light they pressed And by their gifts their God confessed. (CW: 91 v2)
M: Lord Jesus Christ, held by St. Simeon, praised by St. Anna, and baptized by St. John,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sing: Within the Jordan River stood The pure and holy Lamb of God;
The Father’s voice, the Spirit-dove, Confirmed the Savior from above. (CW: 91 v3)
M: Lord Jesus Christ, changing water into wine, defeating the devil in the wilderness, driving out demons, cleansing the lepers, giving sight to the blind, granting hearing to the deaf, and bringing life from the dead,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sing: At Cana — miracle divine — When water reddened into wine,
The faithful saw his glory shown And put their trust in him alone. (CW: 91 v4)
M: In his great mercy, God called us out of the nations to his salvation, cleansed us in the waters of his baptism and revealed the power of his Son in Christ’s miracles. It is with this power and mercy, I, a called and ordained servant of Christ announce to all of you: I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Sign of the cross)
C: Amen.
M: Praise be to our Triune God for the epiphanies of our Savior.
Sing: All glory unto Jesus be And praise for his epiphany,
Whom with the Father we adore And Holy Spirit evermore. (CW: 91 v5)
Hymn of the Day: #82 – “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”
This hymn also mentions the epiphanies of our Lord – manifested by the star, manifested at Jordan’s stream, and manifested at Cana.

Here are the guitar chords to CW82:

F C (F) Dm (C) F
Songs of thank-ful-ness and praise, 
F C F Dm A
Je – sus, Lord, to you we raise,
Dm Gm C F (G7) C (F6) C (G) C
Man-i-fest-ed by the star to the Ma – gi from a – far,
G (Em) F/A F
Branch of royal David’s stem,
(Am) Bb (Cm) Bb
In your birth at Beth – le – hem,
D Gm C F
Anthems be to you ad-dressed,
Bb F (Dm) F C7 F
God in man made man – i – fest.

Note – Chords shown in parenthesis are optional.

I Am Thankful


I am thankful that you gave me eyes to see the vibrant colors of this world and ears to enjoy the sounds of birds singing, babies laughing and the music that stirs your soul.  

I am thankful that you gave me a sense of smell to take in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, lavender & lilac; and the gift of touch to cling onto a loved one.

I delight in You with words and music of praise and gratitude.

You are my Father. Would you please heal those near to me so that they might experience life to it’s fullest as well? Especially Pastors and Worship Leaders who can easily get overwhelmed this time of year. Heal their aches, pains, anxieties, and stress of all kinds so that they can focus on the Advent of their King and the birth of their savior. Reassure them that they are your dear children, that you know their names, that you deeply care for them and that you have uniquely gifted them to serve your people.

Instill in us an unwavering trust in your providence. Be with us. Strengthen us and bolster our confidence.

Father, I ask that you bless every person that is reading this right now. Touch them today. Be near them. Warm their hearts. Help them to see the differences that you are making in their life’s and their ministries.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Biblical Heros

Biblical Heroes

The bible is for real.
Real people.
Real stories.
Real truths.
Real events.
Real history

The stories are better than any movie you will watch and better than any other book you will read.

However, there is one big difference.  The men and women mentioned in the bible aren’t heroes.

You’ve heard the list of hucksters.
David was a sinner.
Elijah, a coward
Abraham, a Liar.
Jacob, a deceiver.
Noah had drinking problems.
Paul was a murderer.
Thomas doubted.
Peter rejected.
The list goes on and on.

But God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

None of the so-called biblical heroes are real heroes.
None were capable enough.
None were worthy enough.
None were courageous enough.
They were just ordinary sinners like you and me.

What they did have was a way to tap into the extraordinary power of the living God.
There is only one true hero in the bible and that is Jesus.
So if you want to put yourself in the place of a hero, imitate Jesus.
Jesus is the only one with real power.
Jesus had no phone, no Internet, no Facebook, no home, no money to speak of, no email, no blogs and no “how to ” books.
He only travelled about 100 miles from his home base.
His ministry lasted only three years.
His only writing was scribbled in sand.
We only have one or two of his preached sermons.
All he had were twelve friends who came with lots of baggage.

So what did these ragtag men and women have in common?
The answer is “faith.”
That is the only common thread that ties this cast of misfits together.
And that is what you need too.

Faith will propel you to share the Gospel.
Faith will also help the Holy Spirit to dwell with you.

Isaiah 1:18

This was the scene looking into my backyard on Thanksgiving morning:



Remarkable –  Though we are laden with guilt, we are not condemned to everlasting damnation, but God gives and imputes to us perfect righteousness. 

The meaning of justification is abundantly clear:
for God declares the ungodly, 
the guilty, 
to be innocent, 
and righteous in His sight.  


But you and I, we need to repent every day, maybe even every hour and for some of us – every minute.
Repentance is like turning yourself around from walking without a care in the world in one direction to running like a crazed gazelle being chased by a cheetah in the opposite direction. This is how we are to react to our own sin once we recognize it. It is a total transformation of the heart, mind and life. After repenting we are supposed to feel different, believe differently, love differently and live differently. It is a renouncing of the former way of life with a hearty resolve for a new way of life.
Jesus didn’t die so we’d be sorry. He died and then was resurrected so we’d be changed.
So how are you doing relative to repenting?
Me, not so well. But there’s still time and I am actively working on it.
Repentance is not getting caught. It’s coming clean!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sung Responsively with Alternating Scripture

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sung Responsively with Alternating Scripture

M: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14 

Congregation Sings: O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

M: On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. – Exodus 19:16 

Congregation Sings: O come, O come, thou Lord of might, 
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

M: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. – Isaiah 11:1, 10
C: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.

M: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. – Numbers 24:17a
C: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Day-spring, from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

M: I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. – Isaiah 22:22 
C: “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. – Revelation 3:7

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

M: All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,whose plan is wonderful,whose wisdom is magnificent. – Isaiah 28:29
Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

M: I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. – Haggai 2:7
Congregation Sings: O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians


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