Stop Assuming Someone Else Will Do It

My Featured Blog written by Samaritan’s Song: “Stop Assuming Someone Else Will Do It”

“The next time you catch yourself thinking “someone else will do it” or “someone else is already doing it,” double-check that assumption. Before you walk away from a need, ensure to yourself that it’s being met or served in some form.”

Samaritan's Song

Yesterday in church, I was seated about three rows behind an elderly man who is a mainstay in the congregation during morning worship.

He walks with a walker and has mobility issues; aides get him in and out of the sanctuary.  Once he sits, he struggles to get back up again, and he can’t shift or move around very easily.  I’ve always admired that in spite of this, I can set my clock by his regular attendance.

As the service got underway, he dropped a small clipboard over the arm of the pew.  I saw it fall; I watched him look over at it, frustrated, and then slowly begin to maneuver his walker in an attempt to bring the clipboard a little closer so that he could pick it up.  Assuming someone else in one of the rows directly behind him would help, I didn’t stir.

And then, as he…

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Worshipping Through Scripture Series – God of Second Chances

In Luke 15:11-32, a son decided to selfishly take His father’s inheritance for the desire to live a better life.  In this parable, we learn that the son had to shamefully come back home, because he realized his life with his father was better than living on his own.  It was better than living in a pig sty for food and clothes.  He left his father’s house with money and returned home with only the shirt on his back.  He had nothing to give but himself.  This story is filled with bad decisions, regret, prayer, and a father’s love.

Many Christian artists have written songs about the prodigal son, and the love that the father showed upon his return.  Laura Story, a young Christian artist, wrote a song called, “Prodigal”, and in her song she tells a story of a father who is desperately awaiting for his son’s return.  The father used to go to the ballpark every day, but, since his son’s disappearance, he prays on his front porch, rocking in his chair, wondering where is son is.  “He is watching, and he is hoping” and “though his eyes are weary, his arms are still open” as “his prayer so softly spoken” begging his son to “come home”.  The father “longs to see his face in younger skin running down the driveway again”.  The father is crying out to God saying, “It was just a disagreement.  Why did my son leave?”

An American Christian rock band, 7eventh Time Down, wrote a song referencing the prodigal story called, “The One I’m Running To”.  It tells about a married couple with three children struggling to pay the bills, and they are both working multiple jobs to make ends meet.  The financial situation is putting a strain on the marriage and their family.  Their faith is running low, and they need of a miracle.  During the middle of night, exhausted from crying, they get on their knees declaring that they will never run from God, but run towards Him.  They know He is their “only Hope who satisifies [their] heart[s]”.  They know deep down that God is “everything that’s good and right and true.”  Their faith keeps them strong in their circumstances.

Another popular rock Christian band named Kutless wrote a song called, “Come Back Home”.  In this song, it is encouraging the prodigal to come home.  It challenges the person who is lost and reckless, to find freedom in his or her situation.  Just like in Luke 15:20-21, it tells the prodigal to “come back home” because “I’ll be running out to meet you”.  In this parable, the father forgives his son and runs toward him with open arms.

APPLICATION

We all relate to one of these songs that tells a story of broken people who simply Jesus.  Maybe you are the one waiting for the prodigal son or daughter to come home.  Or the one struggling to keep your faith in a difficult situation.  Or the one who is the prodigal child struggling to return home.  No matter which story relates to you the most, it is never too late to pray for God in a hopeless situation.  It is never too late to come home to a Father who loves you unconditionally.  The Father’s arms are opened wide desperately waiting for your return.

The Father is answering your prayers in His perfect timing.  If you are the father on the porch praying for your son or daughter to return home, keep on rocking.  If you are the child who needs to make the journey home, take the first step in the right direction.

Worshipping Through Scripture Series – “Thy Will Be Done”

The story of the cross (Luke 23:32-38) is the most powerful and heart-wrenching story you will ever read in the Bible.  It symbolizes sacrifice, love, mercy, and forgiveness.  The cross is a simple message of God’s unconditional love for us, but, yet, so complex in the ultimate sacrifice God made for us.  Jesus died so that we could have a relationship with His Father.  He was beaten beyond recognition, mocked, spit on, whipped, and nailed to the cross for our transgressions.  This story should never go unnoticed, because it proves God’s love will always overshadow death.  Jesus did not die in vain but with honor.

Hillary Scott, a Christian artist, wrote a song called, “Thy Will Be Done”.  The artist wrote the song out of desperation.  Scott’s husband and her was expecting their second child and suffered a miscarriage.  Through their loss and pain she wrote this song as a reminder of who God is even in the most heartbreaking moments in her family’s life.  This song references at Scripture in the Bible when Jesus asked His Father to take this cup from Him, but Jesus went further to say, “yet not as I will, but as You will”. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42).  Jesus prayed “in anguish” in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to remove His heavy burden, which was dying on the cross.  “He prayed more earnestly [that] His sweat was like drops of blood falling on to the ground” (Luke 22:44).

Jesus surrendered to His Father and declared, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).  In the song referenced above, the chorus is written as a prayer, just like Jesus, Scott was desperate for God to take this cup from her.  She was “like a child on [her] knees” crying out “thy will be done” (Matthew 18:3; Psalm 143:10; John 1:13, 5:30, 6:38).  In this moment, the artist was out of words to say.  She exhausted her energy from the agony she was feeling and says, “‘all that comes to me’ Lord, I need you!”

Through tears and hurt, Scott realized that God’s ways are higher than her’s (Isaiah 55:8), and she surrenders to Him even when she cannot “count it all joy” (James 1:2).  She no longer wanted to seek understanding, but to find peace in the midst of life’s storms.  She found the strength to get on her knees and pray “thy will be done”.  Scott begins to declare that God sees her (Jeremiah 12:3; Psalm 139:1) where she is at and hears her prayers (Psalm 17:6, 30:10, 86:1).  She sees that God has a plan for her (Jeremiah 29:11) and goodness will come from this tragedy (Psalm 31:19).

APPLICATION

Sometimes all we have left is a broken heart with no answers to “why” it happened, but this song encourages us to stay strong in our faith.  This song tells us to get on our knees and pray to God with desperation.  Just like this song says, God has a plan for all of us and it is a good plan.  We have to trust God to get us through the rough times to see what is in store for our future.  So the next time you find yourself in a hopeless situation, I encourage you to get on your knees and surrender to God’s will.

PRAYER

God, I know You see me, and I know You hear my prayers.  I come to you today crying out Your Name.  If it is Your will then help me stay strong in the midst life’s storms.  God, help me find peace in my circumstances.  I know that You are good and only have the best for my life.

OTHER REFERENCES TO LOOK UP

  • “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave
  • “Love Has Won” by Natalie Grant
  • “Nothing But The Blood” by Casting Crowns
  • “Crimson” by Nichole Nordeman
  • “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin
  • “Carry Me To The Cross” by Kutless
  • “This Is Love” by Kutless

 

Worshipping Through Scripture Series – “Be Changed By The Water”

As Christians, we all are knowledge of or experienced baptism.  A baptism is a “Christian sacrament of admission and adoption, with the use of water, into the Christian Church” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism).  It can also be described as “the religious rite of sprinkling water onto a person’s forehead or of immersion in water, symbolizing purification” (www.google.com).  In layman’s terms, it is a sacrificial proclamation to God that is celebrated and witnessed by other believers.

Many song artist have written powerful songs about baptism.  Jordan Feliz wrote a song in 2016 called “Be Change By The Water”.  The song is based off the Scripture John 7:38: “Whoever believes in Me [,Jesus,] as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  The lyrics describe baptism as a tide: “It is rising up deep inside a current that moves and makes you come alive.  Living water that brings the dead to life.”  The chorus declares for us to “go down to the river” to be changed forever.  Baptism is a symbolic ceremony to proclaim to your church and the ones you love that you are changed by God.  You will never be the same again once you come up from the living water.  You will be “washed by the water and rise up in amazing grace” (Scripture reference: John 3:16).

Carrie Underwood, known as a country artist also sings Christian music.  She wrote a Christian song called, “Something in the Water”.  The song was nominated for many awards and received the top Christian song award in 2015.  The song tells a story about a man or a woman who lost his or her faith.  A pastor comes along to renew this person’s hope by saying have “a little faith” (Scripture reference: Matthew 8:26).  The man or woman follows the pastor to the river and gets baptized.  A few days later, the person realizes he or she has lost all hope and crumbles to the floor in tears asking God for help.  In prayer, he or she begins to sing “Amazing Grace” and thanks God for His mercies every day.  The person declares, “I am changed [and] stronger” in Christ because, “there must be something in the water”.  In this song, we can relate to the story being told.  In circumstances, we tend to forget the meaning of baptism until we are reminded through Scripture, prayer, music lyrics, and/or a pastor/friend that we are renewed in Christ.  We have been transformed by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

The final song called, “Come To The Water” sung by Matt Maher, gives us the invitation to seek God through Baptism.  For those “who seek, let them come to the water”.  For those “who thirst, let them come to the water” (Scripture references: John 4:14, 6:35, 7:38-39; Matthew 5:6-16; Psalm 63:1, 143:6; Revelation 7:16-17).  And, for those “who are weary, let them come to the water” (Scripture reference: Matthew 11:28).  No matter the circumstances, come to water!  This is a declaration of a transformed life.  Run to the river to be washed clean.  Run to the water to have a personal relationship with Jesus (Scripture reference: Matthew 3:13-17, Jesus’ Baptism).

APPLICATION

This week is a simple message: If you want a transformed life, meet Jesus in the water!

OTHER REFERENCES TO LOOK UP

  • “Welcome Without End” by True Vine Music
  • Scriptures: Mark 1:4-5; Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 4:3-6; Acts 2:38-41, 16:31-33)

Worshipping Through Scripture Series -Being An Overcomer Through Christ

As Christians, we live in a world filled with chaos.  Every day we put on our Armor of God and fight the battles of this world.  With God on our side, we face “giants” with confidence and come out as winners through Christ.

There are several characters in the Bible who have fought and defeated giants.  One of the characters is named David.  In 1 Samuel, chapter 17, David fought and defeated a giant named, Goliath, with just a sling shot and a stone.  His story encourages us to stand strong on the battlefield, no matter what we are facing.

Two Christian artists, Francesca Battistelli and Blanca, wrote songs based off this Scripture to encourage Christians to not give up in the fight.  These songs remind us to stay on the battlefield and to trust that God will come through for us.  Francesca Battistelli wrote a song in 2014 called, “Giants Fall”.  The song is written in honor of a young girl, at the age of 11, who wanted to start an organization called, “Project Yesu”.  The purpose of the organization is to minister to girls and women in Uganda.  When the artist read her story about being mocked by others and being told she was crazy to start an organization, Battistelli was inspired to write a song to encourage all of us to be bold and courageous for what we believe in.  It’s never “too late” or “too far” to turn away from sin and walk with God (prodigal son, Luke 15:11:32).  We are never “too small” and it’s never “too hard” to go after our dreams (David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17).

In the chorus, it states “don’t you be afraid of the giants in your way [because], with God you know that anything’s possible” (Referenced: Matthew 19:26; 1 John 4:18).  The chorus continues to encourage us to stay in the fight with boldness and bravery and watch the giants fall.  “With childlike faith” (Matthew 18:2-4), mountains will move and miracles will happen (Hebrews 11:1; Matthew 17:20).

Blanca, also wrote a powerful song in 2015 called, “Greater is He”.  She wrote the song in honor of her mother being diagnosed with cancer.  The artist was inspired by her mother’s courageous fight to live.  The song lyrics expresses the struggles we deal with on a daily basis.  It starts out saying, “I face a giant in over my head.  Help me to look up [and remember to] take a deep breath” (Referenced: David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17).  These lyrics are a prayer to God desperately crying out to Him to be present in our circumstances.  I imagine this artist face down on the floor crying out to God for a miracle for her mother.

In the chorus, Blanca declares who God is through Jesus’ miracles.  She states that her family have faced “an ocean [with] waves raging (Psalm 89:9, 93:4; Mark 4:35-41) and, with faith, they have “step[ped] out on the sea” to meet Jesus (Matthew 14:2-23).  The song continues on to proclaim God’s name.  We can face anything “in His name”.

APPLICATION

We were all made to be warriors through Christ.  The songs mentioned above are powerful and will lift our spirits when we are discouraged and feel defeated.  The lyrics and the meaning behind these songs come from the heart of these artists.  Battistelli and Blanca both wrote songs through inspiration of others.  They were inspired by someone else’s strength while going through hardship.

These two songs declare who God is through Scripture.  Just like David in 1 Samuel 17, we have our own battles to fight and win.  The lyrics remind us to stay strong in the fight and always have God by our side.  Philippians 4:13 states that we “can do all things through Him who gives [us] strength.”  I encourage you to put on your Armor of God and run onto the battlefield to face your giants.

OTHER REFERENCES TO LOOK UP

  • Joshua 24:14-18 (Joshua’s Story) – “Every Giant Will Fall” by Rend Collective, The Promise land.