New Song: The Lion and the Lamb

As we approach the presidential election, it’s easy to either hope in a candidate to fix our nation or give up hope entirely.  I suggest that neither way of looking at the world is biblical or helpful.

For what it’s worth, this is what I think…

The world is broken.  We are called to work for the kingdom of God and address wrong and injustice.  (And there have been too many examples in this past year!)  This is the kingdom of God that is here among us.  But at the same time, we will never be able to cure the underlying brokenness affecting our souls.  Only God can do that.  That is what we look forward to in the kingdom to come.

Next weekend, we are going to learn a song that declares Jesus is concerned with healing our brokenness now.  He is breaking the chains of sin and oppression.  It’s also a song that looks towards the second coming when he will solve every problem created by sin and death…

“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” -Mark 14:62

He’s coming on the clouds
Kings and kingdoms will bow down
Every chain will break
As broken hearts declare His praise
For who can stop the Lord Almighty?

The rest of the song jumps to the fulfillment of that prophecy.  In the book of the Revelation we read,

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals…But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.  I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals…

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders…Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders…Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

-Rev 5:1-6a, 11, 13

Our God is a lion
The Lion of Judah
He’s roaring with power
And fighting our battles
Every knee will bow before Him
Our God is a lamb
The lamb that was slain
For the sins of the world
His blood breaks the chains
Every knee will bow before the lion and the lamb
Every knee will bow before him

The end of the chorus and later the bridge all refer to this passage from Isaiah that is quoted again in Romans.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that deliverance and strength is through the lamb alone…

By myself I have sworn,
    my mouth has uttered in all integrity
    a word that will not be revoked:
Before me every knee will bow;
    by me every tongue will swear.
They will say of me, ‘In the Lord alone
    are deliverance and strength.’” -Isaiah 45:23-24

The second verse continues that same theme, but takes us back to a psalm of David which asks the question,

Who is this King of glory?
    The Lord strong and mighty,
    the Lord mighty in battle…
Who is he, this King of glory?
    The Lord Almighty—
    he is the King of glory.  
-Psalm 24: 8, 10

Open up the gates
Make way before the King of Kings
The God who comes to save
Is here to set the captives free
For who can stop the Lord Almighty?

The answer is, “no one”.

Who can stop the Lord Almighty?

 

If we are to recover the Christian narrative, we must first disabuse ourselves of civil religion. . . . We live in the narrative of God and within a culture that lives by the narrative of democracy.  The two narratives are separate, yet we live in them both simultaneously.  However, as Christians, our ultimate commitment is to God’s narrative: “Jesus is Lord.” There is no other worthy allegiance.

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals

How to Run Rehearsals & Build Teamwork

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This past week, 13 artists from ECC attended the Worship Connect conference at Sweetwater Sound.  While there, we attended main sessions with Chris Tomlin’s band, Christy Nockels and Todd Fields.  We also had the chance to go to breakouts on topics like “How to Create a In-Ear Monitor Mix”.

Let me share a few thoughts from our Tech Director, Michala…she says…

“It Starts with You!”  What…?

  • Yes.  Be prepared
  • Know your stuff.  Rehearsal is a place to put the pieces together, NOT for you to learn your part.
  • Part of that is having the attitude that “You’ll never be waiting on me”.  If we are all prepared, we won’t end up sitting around waiting for each other.

What are the Three Phases of a Productive Rehearsal?

 656817285c058dd0ab9512f3c00c60d81.  Line check (Before 3:00PM on Sat or 7:30AM on Sun)

  • Band: get plugged in properly
  • Vocalists: check mic batteries
  • Tech: as everyone sets up, cancel out any buzz or hum

2.  Sound check (At 3:00PM on Sat or 7:30AM on Sun)

  • Band: play a groove everyone is comfortable with as a band before rehearsing Tech team: get signal and rough mix
  • Vocalist: warming up during the band’s sound check
  • Tech team: get signal and rough mix

3.  Rehearsal (3:30PM on Sat or 8:00AM on Sun)matthew-glider-300x182

  • Band and Vocals: get final mix in P16s
  • All: this is the time to improve, not to learn the song

What is Our Bullseye as a Team?

First, we exist to give glory to God and to help others worship

How do we know when we have helped others worship?  One of the ways we know is when the vocalists pull off the mics and we all hear the people sing!

How Do We Create a Great Team?

By continuing our goal of unity…let’s build a bridge between the booth and the stage and remember we are all one team.

When you come in to serve next, say hello to a singer, band member, and tech team and help one another to prepare our hearts to encounter God.
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Thanks and credit goes to Sweetwater Online for the pictures!

Too often we (Christ-followers) have failed to stand prophetically against the culture’s captivity to racism, consumerism, political correctness, civil religion, sexism, ethical relativism, violence and the culture of death.  These failures have muted the voice of Christ to the world through his church and detract from God’s story of the world, which the church is collectively to embody.

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals

In a world of competing stories, we call evangelicals to recover the truth of God’s Word as the story of the world, and to make it the centerpiece of evangelical life.

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals

We now live in a world with no unified narrative, much like the Roman world in which the Christian narrative first appeared. . . .

What must we Christians do to narrate the world once again? I suggest two urgent commitments: (1) relearn the Christian narrative, and (2) break away from our accommodation to the culture.

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals

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Reading through this quote, I was struck by the 2nd suggestion.  What does “break away from our accommodation to the culture” mean?  This has been an ongoing question for believers through out the centuries.  The Amish have one answer.  Another example is Rod Dreher who has been championing his Benedict Option…and there are a myriad of other options out there in the Christian world.  What do you think “breaking away” means?  Comment below and let’s see what conversation gets started…

Family Missions in Camichines – 2

This is the second of two posts on our family missions trip to Mexico.  If you want to read about the first 3 days, click here…

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Day 4

We had two goals with this trip to Camichines, Mexico.  The first was to support my little brother, Noah, and his wife Katie at the Ranchito Con Esperanza.  They are house parents there and do amazing work with the 9 kids in their care who come from some dark places.  We are going to do that by living life with them, teaching a daily VBS and trying to be as low maintenance as possible!  Our second, and secret, goal is to get Noah and Katie away from the ranch for an overnight break.  They need support at the ranch and they also need time alone which they rarely get.  So today, we are off to Guadalajara to see the sights of the second largest city in Mexico.  This will be good…

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Day 5

There are two Mexicos.  There is the Mexico that I’m enjoying now here in Guadalajara…this is the Mexico of arches ,columns, beautiful courtyards and tile lined swimming pools.  This the Mexico of doormen with grey hair, hotel rooms with soft beds, showers with glass doors and A/C.  This Mexico, with it’s history, beauty and extravagance, is far away from the Mexico we’ve experienced up until now.  It’s far away in terms of money and access, but it’s not that far away in that I can see that Mexico from the roof of this motel.  It’s the same in the U.S. and other places in the world.  You can find pieces of the 3rd world in Nicaragua or West Virginia, but they seem closer together here.  The “haves” are living right next to the “have-nots”.  Here you can see the difference that the Ranchito Con Esperanza is making to answer the call of Jesus.  I see how they are meeting more than the symptoms of poverty.  They understand that true poverty is separation from God and that leads to all the symptoms of poverty I see here, but you need to feed a person’s soul and their belly.

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Day 6

It’s Sunday and it’s good to be with the people of God…even when I don’t understand a word that is being said.  I am sitting here at Christo Redentor Church.  I am an outsider in this culture.  But when the band transitioned to songs I knew (“Famous One” and “Change My Heart, O God”), I raised my hands and sang out.  We did feel welcomed by brothers and sisters who didn’t speak English, but who still extended their hands as we walked in and said, “Hola” because we both know Jesus.  The pastor is teaching out of 1 Thesselonians and what it means to be like God.  We will be leaving Mexico soon, but right here, I see the kingdom of God all around me.  People of every tribe, tongue and nation reading the Word of God, singing His praises and working to build the kingdom.  At the Ranchito Con Esperanza, they are doing it by taking in kids who need a family.  They meet their needs and introduce them to Jesus.  They are saving them from poverty in all it’s forms.

P.S.  The rumor is that after church we are going out to eat Chinese.  That will be fun…Chinese food in Mexico.  Bring it on!

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Golden Tape Awards Recap

I’ve rarely seen it rain so hard and I also haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.  Yes, both those statements were true at this year’s Sem-Annual Golden Tape Awards.  Other than having to change the location due to weather and the caterer forgetting the sauce for the pulled pork, we had a hilarious time.  But let me give you a recap of the fun…

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Our first award went to two guys who have served in both locations…so much so that sometimes they don’t remember which venue they need to play in.

The “Where am I?” Award  went to Braydon Hathaway & Alex Miller!

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You probably don’t know it, but there is one guy who serves on Saturday nights and brings a PB&J sandwich every week to keep up his blood sugar.  So the “PB&J Award” went to…

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JIM KAZMIERZAK!

We also announced a new professional organization, the Female Tenor Association (FeTA).  Charter members Ann Carmien and Monica Herbst were there to collect their awards.

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The “Heart Cath? What Heart Cath? Award” was given to both Tom Mohr & Kirk Hughes.  Both of these guys had heart cath procedures this year and both showed up the next weekend to serve on the team.  That’s dedication!  We also took time to play some games.  The first was Water-Gun WAR!

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As you can see, my daughter won that WAR.  We also tried to roll Oreo cookies from our foreheads into our mouths.  This little guy’s secret weapon was praying it into his mouth!

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Winning her second award, Monica Herbst won the  “Singing EMT Award” for rushing from the stage to help two people who had passed out during services!  We then honored our senior for this year who is also going to serve in the Air Force.  Alex Friend was presented with the Flyboy Award!

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As you can see, he thanked everyone in the room except me (not that I’m bitter or anything…).  We also have someone from our ministry that is taking his family to the mission field in Honduras.  So the “Muy Buen, Amigo Award” went to techie, David Roberts!

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Our drama award went to someone who had a hard time knowing when to come onstage to perform during Pastor Denny’s message…but even though he came out at the wrong time, he did so confidently!  So the “Confidently Enter Stage Left Award” went to Dan Blocher!

We also had Monica Herbst and Kirk Hughes play a round of Russian Egg Roulette where you had to pick an egg and smash it on your head without knowing if it was hard-boiled or not!  As you can see, Kirk lost.  It was hilariously funny, but it was almost as fun watching our game-guru, Dan Friend!  Check out this sequence…

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Our only real award of the day was the “HAND TO THE PLOW AWARD” went to two people who have gone above and beyond.  They serve in the tech ministry, the music ministry and regularly serve doing set design.  Our HAND TO THE PLOW Award went to STEVE WEBER AND SARAH WALL!

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There was a lot of laughter.  But mostly, it was a chance to say, “thank you”.  As Pastor Denny has said before,

YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN MANY LIVES BECAUSE OF YOUR SELFLESS SERVICE.”  

So thank you also from Dan, Jason, Michala and myself.  Together, we glorify God and help others worship!

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Special thanks to Anna Macke for all the amazing pics!

God rescues the entire created order, and those who know this rescue are to live collectively in the world and express God’s redemption in all of life. This narrative has been lost and replaced with a focus on “my journey”.

-Robert E. Webber, Who Gets to Narrate the World? Contending for the Christian Story in an Age of Rivals