A Simple Prayer


God, please teach, lead, inspire and help me…

To listen intently, before I speak.

To think things through, before I write.

To earn, give, share, invest and save, before I spend.

To throughly investigate before I invest.

To forgive – always and forever.

To never gossip.

To try again before I quit.

To diligently plan before I retire.

To increase my giving as the year’s roll by and the graces accumulate.

To proofread one more time before I hit send or submit.

To pray for others, continually.

And to be always thankful for all that you have done for me, continue to do for me and will always do for me – blessings, grace, family, friends, wisdom, love, a house, a loving wife, a church, a faithful Pastor and a good life.

Amen.

Who am I? – A Responsive Reading


Who Am I?
If you read through the Bible and try to answer that question, you will find the following (put into the form of a responsive reading):
M: You are all children of God:
C: The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. – Romans 8:16 
M: You are all God’s handiwork:
C: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 
M: You are all forgiven:
C: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. – Ephesians 1:7 
M: You are all a new creation:
C: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 
M:  You all have been reconciled:
C:  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:18 
M:  You are all heirs of eternal life:
C:  And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. – 1 John 5:11
M:  You All live by faith:
C:  For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7 
M:  You are all co-heirs with Christ:
C:  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  – Romans 8:17 
M:  You are all blessed in the heavenly realms:
C:  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – Ephesians 1:3 
M:  You are healed:
C:  “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24 
M: You are all strong:
C:  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13 

“You may not have ever realized this before, but your story is written somewhere in the Bible.” – Cherrie Hill

I’ll Begin


I think my brother nailed it with this one…

I’LL BEGIN

I’ll BEGIN the hour in silence
I’ll begin with God so near
For in this realm of solitude
God is surely here

I’LL BEGIN the day with meditation
I’ll begin the day with prayer
For there is beauty, praise, and wonder
When his presence is truly there

I’LL BEGIN the month with worship
I’ll begin with depth and length
For outside of three dimensions
The joy of the Lord is my strength

I’LL BEGIN the year with singing
I’ll begin the year with glee
And I’ll bask in his presence
In each year of jubilee

Smile More – A New Year’s Resolution


Smile More – A New Year’s Resolution
😇 Smiles are universal
😀 Smiles diffuse tension
😃 Smiles create trust
😄 Smiles have trans-formative powers
😁 Smiles tear down barriers and form connections
😅 Smiles make people happy
😂 Babies sometimes smile while they sleep
🤣 Smiles are transferable 
☺️ Smiles give a quick energy boost
🙂 Smiles cost nothing but give a lot
😌 Smiles foster goodwill in businesses
🤗 Ladies, your smile has a magical effect on us guys
😀 A smile improves your looks
🙂 Smiling lowers your blood pressure
😃 Smiling helps relax your muscles
😁 Smiling has therapeutic effects
🙂 Make smiling the first thing you do when you awake
😌 Smiling feels good
🙂 Smiling makes you look more friendly and easier to approach 
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health. – Proverbs 15:30

His Eyes


What did the baby Jesus think when he first opened his beautiful eyes?  This was the inspiration behind the poem titled “His Eyes.”

HIS EYES

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.

©2014 Robert A. Brown, excerpted from “Seated Above, Looking Below”, Used with permission

You are encouraged to reprint this poem in your church bulletins or newsletters or set it to music!

Links to Bob’s Books of poetry:
1. Seated Above, Looking Below 
2.  The Deep Calls to the Deep

3. Spiritual Passion 

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2017


Every year, around this time, I offer a list of contemporary song selections for the upcoming year based on the lectionary readings. Here is a link to download my list for 2017:

Download Link

Enjoy!

This is an excerpt of what the file look like:

Sing to the Lord a New Song in 2017

 

Contemporary Song Choices for 2017 based on the Lectionary Readings
Date Song Title Writer Scripture Ref
Jan 6 Epiphany Mighty to Save Reuben Morgan Isa 60:1-3
One Small Child David Mecce Mt 2:1-12
Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) Chris Tomlin Mt 2:9-11
Jan 8 The Baptism of our Lord One Small Child David Mecce Isa 42:1
Jan 15 Epiphany 2 Jesus, Son of God Chris Tomlin Jn 1:29
Hear the Call of the Kingdom Keith Getty Acts 13:47
Jan 22 Epiphany 3 Whom Shall I Fear? Chris Tomlin Ps 27:1-3
Children of Light Stanfill, Reeves & Ingram Isa 9:2
Children of God Mac Powell 1 Jn 3:1-2
How Great is the Love Paul Baloche 1 Jn 3:1-5
Glorious Day Mark Bird 1 Jn 3:2
Jan 29 Epiphany 4 Speak O Lord* Keith Getty Mic 6:8
God of Justice Tim Hughes Mic 6:8
Lord I Need You Matt Maher 1 Cor 1:30
Unwavering Matt Maher Mt 5:1-12
Feb 5 Epiphany 5 Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) Chris Tomlin Isa 58:6
Here I Am Lord Dan Schutte Mt 5:14-16
Hear the Call of the Kingdom Keith Getty Mt 5:16
Feb 12 Epiphany 6 Beautiful One Tim Hughes 1Cor 2:8-10
The Same Love Paul Baloche 1 Th 4:7
Speak O Lord Keith Getty 1Cor 2:8-10
Feb 19 Epiphany 7 Living Stones Michael Schmid 1Cor 3:10-14
Your Grace Finds Me Matt Redman Mt 5:45

What We, the Church, Can Learn from the Airlines


The Gospel Message of the Airlines
The airlines have a critically important message to share with each and every traveler and they don’t want anyone to miss it.  For this reason, the flight attendants act out their message, this same message is spoken over the PA system, the message can be read on a card with pictures located in everyone’s seat pocket and it can also be viewed on a video screen on longer flights.  Their message can save lives and they know how to deliver it well and how to appeal to all of our senses.  Of course I am referring to the safety instructions.
 
Our Pastors also have a critically important message to share, we do as well.  In fact, it is infinitely more important than the airlines message. We need to deliver this message so everyone hears it, sees it, feels it, smells it, sings it, prays it, meditates on it, breathes it, loves it, lives it, abides by it and tastes it.  
 
  • It’s already in our pew bibles and our bulletins so we can read it.  
  • It’s in our songs so we can sing it, ponder it, tap our feet to it and feel it.  
  • It’s in our prayers so the Holy Spirit can massage it and God can answer it.  
  • It’s in our statues, art and stained glass windows so we can adore it.   
  • It’s in our creeds so we collectively can voice it. 
  • It’s in our scripture readings for our contemplation, consideration, cogitation, meditation, pondering, rumination, deep thought, musing, deliberation, study and further reflection.
 
So what is the “it”, what is the critically important message the church needs to share?  It is the Gospel of course.
 
But getting back to those airline safety demonstrations, here’s the thing, I know how to buckle a seat belt.  I’ve done it 84,680 times.  So I tune this part out.   You do as well.   Unless I am flying Southwest because some their flight attendants are creative and they make even the mundane seat belt demonstration interesting, insightful and colorful.  And so it is with the gospel, I have heard this message enough times to save all the people in China, about 3,016 to be close to exact.  So if we follow Southwest Airlines technique, our Pastors and Worship leaders need to inject the creativity that our great God has instilled in them into their preaching and in their worship planning and preparations.  In fact, I pray that the Holy Spirit sparks a flame 🔥 in you and your whole ministry team, revitalizing and rejuvenating your thoughts, ways and means.  May he fill your mind with exuberance for the word and bless your tongue to preach the word purely and with passion.  May he use your gifts to excite your people for their savior and may his kingdom grow prolifically as a result of his gifting, his blessings and his grace, need I say not yours.  I know this is possible because even after hearing the Gospel 3,016 times, my current Pastor brings it to life for me week after week.  But sorry, he’s not amazing, God is. 
 
Isn’t it interesting that our final reward isn’t money, power, fame, success or admiration.  It’s praise, worship and rest.

The Road Less Traveled


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, 
I took the road less traveled by, 
and that has made all the difference.” 
– Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

I am not  a fan of choices; choosing schools, doctors, stocks, political candidates, churches 💒, when to retire, model of car 🚗; are you picking up what I’m putting down?

I am glad that I do not have to choose a God for there is only a one, actually three in one – Father, Spirit, Son.  As a matter of fact, He chose me first.  Moreover, His Word gives clear direction, leaving little to choice.

The road less traveled is in fact a narrow road.  But this crooked road has been made straight.  You need not find it on your own, you need to be led to it.  Jesus will show you the way or someone like me, or a friend, or a Pastor might say something that the Holy Spirit himself can use to get you pointed in the right direction.  Unfortunately, these days it is the road less traveled!

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians

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