Category Archives: End Times

The Creative Writing Process for a Christian


The Creative Writing Process for a Christian

 

A few years ago a paper came across my desk.  It was a paper written by a Pastor who lives and serves a congregation about 3,000 miles from where I live.  But the world has become relatively flat and distance no longer seems to matter.  Somehow, the Holy Spirit saw to it that this particular paper be made known to me.  It was a paper about “Heaven.”

 

The paper was lengthy, so at first I just skimmed through it.  But the Spirit had other plans for this paper and for me as well.  The message contained in the paper started to affect me, to inspire me and to move me.  So I started to read it again, but in more depth.  It felt like God was talking to me through this Pastor’s writing.

 

I did not set out to make notes on the paper but I first found myself highlighting the sentences that struck a major chord with me.  Something was happening inside me.  The paper was stirring my heart to respond.  This is called worship because I was sensing God through it and I knew that I needed to glorify Him through this Pastor’s diligent work.

 

“What did the paper mean to me?  How could I encapsulate what I was feeling onto a blank sheet of paper?  How could I use this experience to tell others about my Savior and eternity in heaven with Him?”  These are the thoughts that started to flow through me.  So I started to write.  First in sentence form but eventually a metered form took over.  The lines were just falling into place like a train of carefully placed dominoes.  It took me hours to read through the paper, to cogitate on it, to pray over it, and to reflect on it’s meaning but in actuality, the poem came to me quickly as most truly inspired poems do. 

 

My favorite line in the poem? – of course it’s the one about “Isaiah” and if you are familiar with Isaiah 6 you will know why.

 

Here is the poem that I titled “Heaven, Really”

 

Heaven?
Really?
Shrouded in mystery
Anchored in history
Oh it’s heaven
Really!
A prepared place
For prepared people
The Son’s grace
The Father’s dwelling place.
The Spirit reveals
Here’s the deal:
It’s beauty,
It’s freedom,
It’s happiness,
It’s excitement,
It’s perfect,
Streets of gold
Before you enfold
it’s blessedness I am told
The Tree of Life is actually growing
The River of Life is actually flowing
Why all this unknowing?
Angels sing “holy, holy, holy is He”

 

A cloud of witnesses surround me
Unending joy and eternal pleasure will be.
For you,
For me.
No need for the sun.
Isaiah is no longer undone.
How old will we appear?
What will we look like?
And whom shall we fear?
Will we recognize one another?
Will we remember our mother,
a sister; a brother?
What will we do?
I’m thinking …
… No more sitting in a pew.
That’s Heaven!
Really!
 
###

 

In my book, I tried to introduce each of my poems with similar stories.  Why I wrote the piece, what was inspiring me at the time, what was I doing as I wrote the poem, etc.  My hope is that the Holy Spirit will use my poems and prayers to affect you as this Pastor’s District paper moved me.
  

You can preview my book here!

#NationalPoetryMonth

Our God Reigns


Your Pastor’s Sermon Title

This last Sunday, we celebrated “Christ the King” Sunday.  We sang some incredible hymns including one of my favorites – “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” As a worship leader responsible for choosing music (in my case – Contemporary music), I often reflect on the hymns, the readings, the introductions to the readings, the children’s message, the prayers and the sermon to get some ideas for future “Christ the King” Sundays. Oftentimes, the answer is right there, staring me in the face; the Pastor’s sermon title. The title of Pastor Ehlers’s sermon this last Sunday was “Our God Reigns”.

So next year I will consider:
“Our God Reigns” by Bebo Norman
-or-
“Our God Reigns” by Brandon Heath
-or-
“Our God Reigns” by Tim Light
-or-
“Our God Reigns” by Martin Smith (band Delirious?)
-or-
“Our God Reigns” by Joe Pace
-or-
“Our God Reigns” by John Waller
-or-
“Our God Reigns” by Leonard E. Smith

Next, type this title into the search engine of your favorite place to buy music. I like http://www.lifewayworship.com. Just type in “Our God Reigns” and a dozen or so songs will come up, including variations like “He Reigns” and “Our Messiah Reigns.” Of course, you need to review the lyrics and search for the sheet music.  But this technique will get you in the right ballpark.

How easy is that?

Pastors, what was your sermon titled this past Sunday?

Steve

I Leave You


I Leave You

Jesus has left the premises
But He will return
In the meantime, He has left us with a gift.

I leave you with patience
and kindness
goodness
and faithfulness
I leave you with gentleness
I leave you with the truth…
…Care for it.
I leave you with hope
with love
with peace
with joy
with self control
with mercy
with grace
with guidance
with harmony
with music
with prayer
with gifts
with restoration
with forgiveness.

You are beautiful to me.
I love you.

I leave you blessed
I leave you with a promise
I leave you with the Word
I leave you with the gift of eternal life
I leave you with protection
I leave you in good hands
I leave you with the Spirit
I leave you filled with the Spirit
I leave you with wisdom
with understanding
with wonder and awe
with knowledge
with courage
with reverence
I leave you with power
I leave you with the Gospel
I leave you with gospel power
I leave you with healing
I leave you with freedoms
I leave you with beauty all around you
I leave you as one that I love
I leave you as a friend

Take Heart! We shall meet again!

Contemporary Music for Saint’s Triumphant Sunday


Contemporary Music for Saint’s Triumphant Sunday

Scripture References: Ps 84, Ps 118, Ps 150, Is 52:1-6, Is 65:17-25, Eze 37:15-28, Da 12:1-3, Mt 25:1-13, Mk 13: 24-27, Lk 20:27-38, Jn 5:25-29, 1 Th 4:13-18, 2 Th 2:13-3:5, Heb 10:11-18, Rev 19:1-9, Rev 22:1-5

Psalm 84 Song Choices:
84:1 Better is One Day (Matt and Beth Redman)
84:2 More Love More Power (Jude Del Hierro)
84:3 Sparrow (Audrey Assad and Kyle Lee)
84:10 Better is One Day (Matt and Beth Redman)
84:10-12 Lord You Are Good (Scott Macleod Anthony Skinner, Ross Huskinson)
84:11-12 Trust and Obey (John Sammis and Dan Towner arr. By Michael Weaver)
84:12 Blessed is the One (Ronnie Freeman, Daniel Doss)

Psalm 118 Song Choices:
118:14 In Christ Alone (Getty & Townend)
118:22 In Christ Alone (Getty & Townend)
118:24 This is the Day (Shannon Wexelberg), Purify My Heart (Jeff Nelson), New Day (Ben Cantelon)
118:25-26 “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Sanctus from the liturgy) (True Vine Music – Michael Schmid)
118:34 Today is the Day (Paul Baloche & Lincoln Brewster)

Psalm 150 Song Choices:
150 Nova (Joel Houston, Crocker and Chislett), I Will Not Forget You (Ben Pasley), That’s Why We Praise Him (Tommy Walker)
150:1-6 Rise (Matt Brownleewe and Kari Jobe)
150:6 Everything that Has Breath (Reuben Morgan), I Give You My Heart (Reuben Morgan), Praise Him (Miriam Webster), Crags and Clay (Michael Gungor), “O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (David Crowder)

Isaiah 52:1-6 Song Choices:
52:3 You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd (CWS 746)

Isaiah 65:17-25 Song Choices:
65:17-25 O Lord of Nations (CWS 786)
65:19 Stay With Us (CWS 780)

Daniel 12:1-3 Song Choices:
12:1 Christ, the Lord of Hosts, Unshaken (CWS 726)
12:3 Your Kingdom, O God (CWS 755)

Matthew 25:1-13 Song Choices:
Leave A Light On  (Matt Maher)

Mark 13: 24-27 Song Choices:
13:20-27 Holy Spirit, the Dove Sent from Heaven (CWS 723), Jerusalem the Golden (CWS 728)
13:26 Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending (CWS 704), The King Will Come At Ages End (CWS 731)

Luke 20:27-38 Song Choices:
20:36 Great is the Chorus (Aaron Shust)

John 5:25-29 Song Choices:
5:26-27 A Mighty Fortress (Christy Nockles)

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Song Choices:
4:13 I Will Rise (Maher)
4:14 Mystery (Charlie Hall)
4:16 It is Well (Jeremy Camp version)
4:16-17 Glorious Day (Mark Hall)

2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5 Song Choices:
2:13-17 Holy Spirit (Keith Getty)
2:15 The Stand (Joel Houston)
2:16-17 There is a Savior (Sandi Patti)

Hebrews 10:11-18 Song Choices:
10:10-18 Christ, the Word of God Incarnate (CWS 750)
10:12 You, Lord, Are Both Lamb and Shepherd (CWS 746)

Revelation 19:1-9 Song Choices:
19:4-7 How Can I Keep from Singing? (Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin)
19:6 Worthy is the Lamb (William Bradbury and Jeff Nelson), Everlasting God (Brenton Brown and Ken Riley), He Reigns (Peter Furler – Newsboys), Lord Reign in Me (Brenton Brown), Agnus Dei (M.W. Smith)
19:11 Remain (Ben Cantelon)
19:12 Worthy is the Lamb (William Bradbury and Jeff Nelson), Crown Him with Many Crowns (George Elvey)
19:16 Arise, King of Kings, Glory to God Forever (Steve Fee and Vicki Beeching)

Revelation 22:1-5 Song Choices:
21 Endless Hallelujah (Chris Tomlin)
21:1-14 Creation Sings (Keith Getty)
21:4 There is a Higher Throne (Getty), I Will Rise (Maher)
21:5 Who is This Love Amazing? (Chris McClarney, Hartely, Gustafson and Miriam Webster)

Worship is a Verb


Worship is a Verb

Keep praying
Keep singing
Keep smiling
Keep praising
Keep blessing
Keep wondering
Keep fasting
Keep standing
Keep believing
Keep celebrating
Keep listening
Keep following
Keep proclaiming
Keep acclaiming
Keep baptizing
Keep communing
Keep kneeling
Keep bowing
Keep offering
Keep, maintain, hold, endure, stand firm
Keep me in your heart
And know, I am coming back

No More


No More

There will come a day when…
No more sermons are preached
No more people yet to be reached.

There will be no more lessons taught;
No more souls begot.

There will be no more pursuit of career or education;
No more accumulation, accusation or accreditation.

There will be no more churches to build or nations to evangelize;
No more numbers yet to realize.

These are part of our earthly place – no doubt;
But it is worship that one day we will not do without.

 

 

We Bow Down


We Bow Down

There are some really great song lyrics coming out these days, but some of our churches don’t have the capabilities to play the newer musical styles.   Here’s a way to still use these finely crafted lyrics in a spoken format.

The following is a responsive reading that uses scripture, together with the lyrics from a contemporary song.  It is meant to be read responsively.  For an added bonus, and if you do have the capabilities, your praise band might want to play the song “We Bow Down” as either pre-service, during the Offering or as a postlude.

M:  Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound—May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place! – Ezk 3:12
C: I bow at your glory, I bow at your love; that purchased and bought me through your precious blood.

M: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; – Ps 95:6
C: I bow to the Savior, my Lord and King; I worship and praise you, and to you I sing.

M: But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple. – Ps 5:7
C: I bow at your mercy that reigns over all, I bow at the greatness of the Lord our God.

M: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. – Ps 19:1
C: I bow as your glory the heaven’s proclaim and fall down to worship, and bow to your name.

M: It is written: ” ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me;     every tongue will confess to God.’ ”
C:  We bow down to our Lord and King.  We bow down to Your holy Name.  Let all the nations sing praises to the King as we bow down.

M: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. – Mt 1:21
C: I bow at your glory, and fall to my knees.  I bow to the savior that came to save me.

M:  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. – Isa 40:28
C: I bow in Your presence, the lord over all; I bow to our great, everlasting God.

M: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, – Phil 2:10
C: We bow down to our Lord and King.  We bow down to Your holy Name.  Let all the nations sing praises to the King as we bow down.

M: Once more the humble will rejoice in the LORD; the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. – Isa 29:19
C:  I’m humbled before you, my Lord and King.  I worship and praise you, and to you I sing.

M: All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. – Ps 86:9
C: We bow down to our Lord and King.  We bow down to Your holy Name.  Let all the nations sing praises to the King as we bow down.

“We Bow Down” was written by Michael Schroeder – thanks for sharing your lyrics and allowing others to use them in this format!

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

Lyrics – ©2010, Michael Schroeder, http://www.michaelschroeder.com