Throne of Grace (5-23-2021)

As I read this week’s scripture reading for our sermon (Hebrews 4:14-16), one phrase stuck out in particular: “throne of grace.” When I imagine approaching the throne of God, there are a lot of things I could definitely be afraid of. I could fear punishment for all the things I’ve done wrong. Instead, I take comfort and am forever grateful for grace as I approach that throne. Our high priest is Jesus, and it’s because of Him that grace is available from that throne. This week’s songs all center on those thoughts.

1. Wonderful Grace of Jesus

We start right off the bat with the most difficult song of our set list this week. Written in 1918, this song gives the men a chance to take over the melody for the first half of the chorus. Check out this amazing rendition of the song with over 1 million views on YouTube!

2. Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Marvelous Grace)

Have you ever heard a song title and said “I don’t know that one,” but then once someone started singing it, you realized you do? That’s what happened to me when I first ran across this song this week. Just like the last song declares that grace is greater than our sin, this song does the same, but with a more contemplative feel.

3. His Grace Reaches Me

Out of all the songs we’re singing about grace, I dare say that none of them make it more personal than this one. Whitey Gleason, the composer of this song, performed it with a group he was in called the Blackwood Brothers. While it was an instrumental rendition, this song appears to have exclusively made its way into the Church of Christ as I can’t find hardly any info on the song in my usual places. I’m so glad it did, though!

4. Shine On Us

If you’ve ever attended a concert by Michael W. Smith, the crowd almost always expects him to sing “Friends,” much to his dismay, which he co-wrote with his wife. However, when it comes to songs that continue to be sung in church, I think this one will probably outlive “Friends,” much to his relief. (Michael tends to poke fun at how saccharine “Friends” is, but I digress). This song, which he also co-wrote with his wife, is a beautiful prayer asking for God’s light, love, and grace to shine down on us.

5. Always Forgiven

Now that I’m thinking about this song, I wonder if I should take back my earlier comment about “His Grace Reaches Me.” This song makes grace just as personal, if not even more so. Starting with the line “I don’t deserve to be Your servant, and how much less to be Your child,” the chorus then reflects on how much God has showered us with His blessings. Take a listen and see which song you think makes grace more personal.

6. Before the Throne of God Above

The words to this song actually trace back to a hymn written back in 1863! It never seemed to gain mass popularity here in America, but in 1997, Vicki Cook made a trip to England and heard it over there. She was shocked that the powerful lyrics had never made it to America. They tried singing it at her church when she got back home, but it ended up bombing with the audience. She stuck the lyrics in her Bible and before she knew it, she had written a completely new tune to these 130 year old lyrics. Vicki’s version of the song has now become a standard in churches in America. Once you hear the song, it’s easy to see why.

7. When We All Get to Heaven

”Sing His mercy and His grace!” I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get to stand around the throne and sing about His mercy and His grace.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

Wonderful Grace of Jesus

Grace Greater Than Our Sin (1,2,4)

PRAYER

His Grace Reaches Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Shine On Us (1,2)

Always Forgiven

SCRIPTURE READING – Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV)

SERMON

Before the Throne of God Above

When We All Get to Heaven (1,4)

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Built on the Promise (4-11-2021)

The word “covenant” is only in about 2 songs that I know of. But another word for covenant is promise, and that opened up the door for a lot more songs. Not only will we focus on God’s covenant/promises to us, the first half of our songs will focus on the idea of our faith and hope being “built” on those promises.

1. There Stands a Rock

We begin with a lesser known hymn, but it serves as a great reminder of where we should (and should not) place our hope. Each verse points out a different aspect of our hope, referring to the rock as a cross in verse 2 and a tower in verse 3.

2. Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand

Just like the last song, this song places emphasis not only where we should place our hope, but also where we shouldn’t. Each verse reminds us that time, treasures, and even relationships will all fail us at some point. Hallelujah for the promise of God’s unchanging hand!

3. Cornerstone

In 2011, a shooting took place in Norway in which 69 people were killed at a camp, the vast majority only being ages 15-19. Reuben Morgan and Jonas Myrin sat down to write this song in the wake of that tragedy. Tragedies in life often put us in a storm, but “through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all.”

4. Thank You, Lord!

For the rest of our songs, we now switch our focus to the promise (covenant) of God. This song reminds us that the promises of God help us through life. “For all that You’ve promised…is all that has carried me through.”

5. Standing on the Promises

Sometimes songs take on a deeper meaning after they are written. Russell Carter wrote this song in 1886, but when he had some serious heart issues at age 30, he truly had to put the words he had written into practice and rely on his faith in God’s promises. God blessed Russell with a healed heart and another 49 years of life!

6. Shout to the Lord

“Nothing compares to the promise I have in You!” What a wonderful thought to reflect on after hearing our message on the covenant of God.

7. Blue Skies and Rainbows

“Never more will I be all alone since He promised me that we never would part.” Gary Mabry was first inspired to begin writing this song when he spotted a rainbow while in an airplane. I’m glad he didn’t let a good airplane ride go to waste! 🙂

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

There Stands a Rock
Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand (1,2,4)

PRAYER

Cornerstone

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Thank You, Lord!

Standing on the Promises (1,3,4)

SCRIPTURE READING – Hebrews 8:10-12 (ESV)

SERMON

Shout to the Lord

Blue Skies and Rainbows

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Jehovah Rohi: The Lord is My Shepherd (3-21-2021)

Even though shepherds are not a common part of our culture, it is still an easy concept for us to grasp. Sheep, animals which are generally timid and unable to defend themselves, need protection and guidance. What an amazing thought to think that we can receive that type of protection and guidance from God! Here are songs to remind us that He is our Shepherd.

1. The Lord My Shepherd Is

You couldn’t ask for a more dynamic songwriting team than this song. Isaac Watts (Joy to the World, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross) wrote the lyrics. William Bradbury (Just As I Am, He Leadeth Me) wrote the music. William gave the tenors and basses some nice runs apart from the women on this song.

2. Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

William Bradbury must have been known for being an enthusiast when it came to writing songs about God being our Shepherd because he wrote the music to this song as well. I don’t recall singing this one as a child, so I’m thinking I must have learned it as an adult. I wish I had known it as a child as both the words and music bring a comforting feeling. I can hear some minor similarities between this tune and Bradbury’s most famous children’s song, Jesus Loves Me.

3. The Lord’s My Shepherd

Of all the musical settings of Psalm 23 known in the church of Christ, this one is probably the most well known. I love the soprano/alto duet in the middle!

4. Gentle Shepherd

This is one of the more modern songs on our list this week. Written in 1974 by Bill and Gloria Gaither, this song is an earnest plea for God to be our Shepherd. You might see some familiar Creekside faces in this video.

5. Fear Not, Little Flock

This is one of the few songs in our list this week that doesn’t have the word “Shepherd” in the title. You’ll definitely find references to Shepherd in the verses though. It is written from our perspective of being the flock of sheep. What a wonderful thought that even though we may get dirty as sheep, God can make us whiter than snow! This is one song I definitely remember singing as a kid because as I watched this video, I started to get tears in my eyes as I could hear my Grandpa singing the men’s part in the chorus.

6. Jesus, the Loving Shepherd

Sheep in many ways are like children, needing to be called, reminded, and sometimes herded. William Ogden no doubt felt he had the role of shepherd as he worked as a superintendent for the Toledo school system. I’m sure he tried to exemplify the love of a shepherd to those children just as he writes about in this song. I doubt he ever imagined his song being sung in other languages around the world. I love this couple singing together in what I believe is the Swahili language.

7. I Am a Sheep

My goal is to always end service with a song that will stick in your head and stay in your heart. I hope this song accompishes that!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

The Lord My Shepherd Is

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

PRAYER

The Lord’s My Shepherd

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Gentle Shepherd

Fear Not, Little Flock

SCRIPTURE READING – Psalm 23:1-6 (ESV)

SERMON

Jesus, the Loving Shepherd

I Am a Sheep

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God Provides (2-21-2021)

What a fitting sermon topic to center our worship on after the week that we’ve had. Just in the last week, I know people who had no heat, had no water, were running out of food, needed shelter, needed blankets, needed transportation. Yet through it all, I saw people reaching out. I saw strangers offering strangers their time and resources. God provided through the loving-kindness of others. You may still be facing difficult times, but let these songs serve as a reminder to you: God provides!

1. Lean On His Arm

The first time I led this song at Creekside, I definitely got some blank stares. Sometimes I assume that just because a song is old that everyone knows it, but that was clearly not the case with this song. The song was written in 1904. I suspect that Will M. Ramsey, who wrote the music, was familiar with a cappella singing as the chorus highlights four part harmony very well.

2. God Will Take Care of You

If we choose to lean on His arm, then God will take care of us. Notice the word “provide” in this song! This song was written by a husband and wife songwriting team. Civilla Martin had health issues and had to stay home quite a bit, so no doubt she was speaking these words from experience.

3. I Need Thee Every Hour

It’s very rare that we get firsthand personal accounts of the story of a song for hymns of this age. Annie Hawks wrote the words to the verses of this song, and here is her account of what inspired them:
“One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks during a bright June morning [in 1872]. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me — ‘I Need Thee Every Hour. . . .'”

4. Always Forgiven

As I was perusing my list of songs about God providing, this one was a must have. “All you have shown me is grace, love and mercy.” If there is anything that God has provided me, I am deeply thankful for those three things!

5. El Shaddai

Our scripture reading this week is the story of Abraham taking Isaac to be sacrificed. I had to include this song since it directly references that story. “Through your love and through the ram, You saved the son of Abraham.” Of course, this song tells a much bigger picture of how God provides, ultimately leading to Him providing Jesus on the cross.

6. Soul, A Savior Thou Art Needing

Sometimes in order for God to provide, it requires action on our part. This song reminds us that He offers us an invitation, but we must choose to respond and confess. As we sing this song, let’s keep that frame of mind of coming to Him: “Savior…I will ever go to Thee!”

7. God Be With You (Till We Meet Again)

Not only does this serve as a good closing song as we say goodbye, each verse reminds us of different ways that God will provide for us, including protecting us beneath His wing, providing daily manna, and wrapping His arms around us. What comforting thoughts!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

Lean On His Arm
God Will Take Care of You

PRAYER

I Need Thee Every Hour

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Always Forgiven

El Shaddai

SCRIPTURE READING – Genesis 22:6-14 (ESV)

SERMON

Soul, A Savior Thou Art Needing

God Be With You (2,3)

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Gaze on His Glory and Grace (1-24-2021)

Some weeks I’m given a passage and it’s really hard to find a central theme. Other weeks, the theme practically jumps off the page. This was one of those weeks. See how the above mentioned theme weaves throughout each of these songs.

1. To God Be the Glory

We start off with this uplifting hymn that reminds us who should receive all the glory. With lyrics written by Fanny J. Crosby, there’s no doubt she attempted to give God the glory in her life, writing the lyrics to well over 5,000 songs.

2. He’s My King

We go directly into another song which reminds us how “glorious” God is in the chorus. (Sopranos and altos will have to pay special attention as they don’t sing the word “glorious.” Only the tenors and basses do).

3. My Eyes Are Dry

This song came to mind when I read verse 16 in our scripture reading. There are times in life when we are certainly aware of the frailty of our human bodies. But as the scripture reminds us, our spirits can be renewed daily. This song is a great prayer to achieve that renewal.

4. His Grace Reaches Me

This song definitely jumped out at me as I read verse 15 in our passage and saw the phrase “God’s grace reaches more and more people.” Of course, there are two different arrangements of this song, one where everyone sings the words to the verses, and another where sopranos only sing the words and the other parts sing “Ah.” I hope the altos, tenors and basses will forgive me for picking the “Ah” version. I know it’s not as interesting to them to not be singing the words, but I actually think it allows us to focus on the words of the verses more by having only one part singing them.

5. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Verse 18 in our passage reminds us to “fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.” This song reminds us that when we do fix our eyes where they need to be, suddenly the things of this world become less important. With all that is going on around us with COVID, politics, etc., this is a great reminder for all of us.

6. Salvation Belongs to Our God

Once again we find another anthem of a song that declares “be praise and glory, wisdom and thanks, honor and power and strength” all to be given to God.

7. The Battle Belongs to the Lord

This was the hardest slot to fill this week. Nothing was working, so I texted Sage and asked him to help me understand what point he was going to be driving home at the invitation. You can be the judge if I picked the right song or not when he finishes his sermon!

8. Hilltops of Glory

We see God’s glory. We give Him the glory. Lastly, we hope one day to join Him in glory!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

To God Be the Glory
He’s My King

PRAYER

My Eyes Are Dry
His Grace Reaches Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Salvation Belongs to Our God

SCRIPTURE READING – 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 (ESV)

SERMON

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Hilltops of Glory

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I Will Meet You There

There have been a lot of requests online for the lyrics to “I Will Meet You There,” as well as the story behind the song.

It hurts to think of those who’ve gone.
It hurts because I care.
But I won’t fret; before too long
I will meet you there.

I will meet you there.  I will meet you there.
I know within my heart one day I will meet you there.

The love we hold in all our hearts
for God’s own family
will stay within our hearts until
we will meet them there.

We will meet them there.  We will meet them there.
I know within my heart one day we will meet them there.

I will meet you there.  I will meet you there.
I know within my heart one day I will meet you there.

© 2008 Anthony K Music

On May 17, 2008, I was on a weekend trip with my church singing group, Gr8ful Praise.  We had been asked by a church having an anniversary celebration to come sing.  We had just finished our Saturday evening concert and were preparing to head back to the hotel for the evening when I was dealt the biggest blow of my life: my friends, Dan and Jennifer, were dead.

While out riding their motorcycle with two other couples from church, a drunk driver made a lane change, forcing the car in the lane next to him to cross over the center line into oncoming traffic.  Dan and Jennifer’s motorcycle was hit head on.  Dan was one of our four elders.  Jennifer, his wife, was one of our church secretaries.  I had known them almost my entire life.  Dan taught me so much about caring for people, not in words, but by example.  And Jennifer treated me like one of her own sons.  In fact, she would often tell me that she hoped her kids turned out like me.

Two months later, I headed to Abilene, TX to attend the Texas Normal Singing School for the first time.  I had signed up for a song writing class, mainly to gain the skills to arrange music for Gr8ful Praise.  I had no intention of writing my own song that week, but was told the first night I had to write a verse.  That night, with Dan and Jennifer on my heart, I wrote the following words: “It hurts to think of those who’ve gone, it hurts because I care.  But I won’t fret, before too long, I will meet you there.”

Before I knew it, a melody came to me and I had written my first song.  It was performed publicly for the first time that week at Singing School.  While I was the only person in the entire room that knew Dan and Jennifer, the song touched many hearts.  People who were strangers just days before were coming up to me and sharing stories of lost loved ones, and how the song brought them comfort.

Another month later, I was able to share the song with my home congregation.  Gr8ful Praise put on a summer concert on a Sunday evening, along with about 30 teenagers from church, including Dan and Jennifer’s daughter Alicia.  “I Will Meet You There” was sang in memory of Dan and Jennifer Tarjeft.  God still uses this song to touch hearts and bring comfort, knowing that we have hope of seeing our loved ones again.

To purchase the song, sheet music, slides, and more, visit:
The Acappella Company

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The Word Became Flesh (12-13-2020)

There’s never a shortage of songs to pick when it comes to Jesus’ birth. For our worship this Sunday, you’ll find a mixture of old and new songs, all referencing the birth of Jesus in one way or another. I hope we’re singing at least one or two of your favorites!

1. Why Did My Savior Come to Earth?

We set the tone right away by asking why Jesus came to earth.  The answer is simple: “because He loved me so.”  I understand that the composer used the word “loved” because He was answering why Jesus made the choice back then.  But it also is important for our hearts to remember that He STILL loves us.  So after singing verse 1 and the chorus, we will go back and sing the chorus again and replace the word “loved” with the word “loves.”

2. Here I Am to Worship

“Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness.” I love the poetic way Tim Hughes reminds us that Jesus came down to Earth for us in this song. You’ll notice that when we finish this song, it feels unresolved because it doesn’t end on the usual chord that most songs end on. That is a purposeful choice based on the final lyric. “Hope of a life spent with you.” We’re all still waiting for that life spent with Him, so the song ends with that unresolved chord to remind us of that.

3. Silent Night

”Stille Nacht,” as it was originally called in 1818 when it was written, was eventually translated into multiple languages and had made its way around the world by 1900. We will sing just one verse of this classic hymn, and then go directly into the next song.

4. O Holy Night

This is my favorite traditional Christmas song. Just as the last one originated in German, this one was written in French in the year 1843. The English version that we’ve come to know and love was written in 1855. It’s a testament to how beautiful the music and the words are when this song is still covered by countless artists 160 years later!

5. Magnificat

Perhaps Mary was not aware of the many miracles that Jesus would perform, but she certainly was aware of how God had blessed her by choosing her. The words to this song come from Mary’s Song in Luke chapter 1.

6. Because He Lives

Just stop and think for a moment what your life means today because of Jesus coming to Earth. “He lived and died to buy my pardon.” What does that mean for you and me? “I can face tomorrow. All fear is gone.” Praise God!

7. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

We may think of 2020 as an unpleasant year when all is said and done, but there is one thing happening this month that is on the positive side. Jupiter and Saturn are going to align so closely that they will produce a “Christmas star” on December 21, something that has not been in seen in about 800 years. Perhaps this was the type of star that appeared to announce Jesus’ birth when he was born. Regardless, we know that Jesus is “now that star divine.” Shine on!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

Why Did My Savior Come to Earth? (1)
Here I Am to Worship

PRAYER

Silent Night (1)
O Holy Night (1,3)

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Magnificat

SCRIPTURE READING – Luke 1:9-14

SERMON

Because He Lives (1,2)

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (1,3)

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Share My Joy (11-15-2020)

When I was given this week’s sermon info, it was suggested I do songs about Christian brothers and sisters overcoming obstacles together. As I’ve lamented many times before in my blog, there is a very limited number of songs that talk about our Christian family. In fact, I just used most of them 3 months ago when I led. I needed a slightly different direction to go then.

As I read the passage for our scripture reading, a phrase that Paul used stuck out: “share my joy.” One of the many joys we share as Christians is our desire for heaven. I think our desire for heaven is strong not just to have the comforts of heaven, but so much more than that. We long to be with God, we long to be with loved ones we miss. We look forward to no tears or sadness, no sin or loss, even no politics! If we truly want everyone to reach heaven, then let’s do everything we can to help each others during the trials of this life so we can share the joy of the next life with others.

1. Sing to Me of Heaven
2. Beyond This Land of Parting
3. How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
4. Home of the Soul
5. Heaven Holds All to Me

We’re going to begin with a medley of 5 songs all in the same key that tell of different aspects of heaven. The first song sets the tone for our entire service as we sing of heaven and “fondly dream” of what it will be like. The second song reminds us that beyond the pain and struggles of this life is a land where God is the light. The third song reminds us of the beauty that we’ll see there. The fourth song tells what life will be like there, being “free from all care.” And finally, the last song reminds us that we will have “joy without measure” in heaven!

(Look for some familiar Creekside faces in this video!)

6. I Have Heard of a Land (Never Grow Old)
7. An Empty Mansion

We sing another medley of two songs in this same key, albeit a little less upbeat than the last medley. Both of these songs acknowledge that part of the reason we long for heaven is because of the trials and tribulations we experience here on earth. Indeed, our longing for heaven is likely directly proportional to the pain that we experience in this life. The more pain we experience here, the more we long for a place where we’ll never grow old and meet our loved ones at the “door of that mansion someday.”

8. Heaven’s Medley

This song is a medley within a medley…each part contains a different song. Sopranos sing “When the Saints Go Marching In,” altos sing “I’m Sing, Sing, Sing,” tenors sing “Heaven is a Wonderful Place,” and basses sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

9. Heaven’s Road

I wanted to make sure I included some more contemporary songs about heaven. This song would fall into that category. It’s also a great reminder that getting to heaven is a journey that we all take together, helping to carry each other’s load.

10. Trials Dark on Every Hand (When Morning Comes)

This song has many different titles that it is known by, two of them listed above. The third one that is often used is “We’ll Understand It Better By and By.” What may be less known is that fact that it was written by Charles Tindley, born the son of a slave. No doubt he faced “trials dark on every hand” early in his life, but he strived to excel in everything he did. He placed his faith in God that he would understand his questions better in heaven when he could look back and “tell the story how we’ve overcome.”

11. I’ll Fly Away

No list of songs about heaven would be complete without this classic song. I hope these songs all stay in your heart throughout the week and you share that joy with others.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

Sing to Me of Heaven (1)
Beyond This Land of Parting (1)
How Beautiful Heaven Must Be (1)
Home of the Soul (1)
Heaven Holds All to Me (1)

PRAYER

I Have Heard of a Land (1,3)
An Empty Mansion (1,3)

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Heaven’s Medley (5x)

Heaven’s Road (1,2,3)

SCRIPTURE READING – 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:4

SERMON

Trials Dark on Every Hand (1,2,3)

I’ll Fly Away (1,3)

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Do Not Fear or Despair (10-11-2020)

If you were to sum up 2020, “fear and despair” would be two obvious word choices.  Don’t get me wrong…I have my health, I have my home and my job, and the list goes on.  But in general, the pandemic has had the entire world locked away in fear and despair.  What are Christians to do in those moments?  That is definitely not where God intends us to stay!  These songs will help move us in the right direction.

1. God Will Take Care of You (Be Not Dismayed Whate’er Betide)

As I began scrolling through my list of songs and asking what to do during times of fear and despair, this was the first one to jump off the page at me.  Those of you who have read my blog regularly know that it annoys me when we change song titles from what the composer originally intended by using the first line of the song instead.  Many of our hymnals title this song “Be Not Dismayed Whate’er Betide.”  How much more comforting is it to hear the answer to that question in the title instead?  No doubt that is the message that Civilla Martin was trying to drive home, as you sing the phrase 20 times when sung with all four verses!

2. I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

Songs that help us in our time of fear and despair likely were born out of times of fear and despair.  Such is the case with this song.  Ira Stanphill served God as youth director, music director and pastor.  So you can imagine his devastation when his wife decided that ministry was not for her and left him.  He wrote this song while driving in his car and thinking about his future.

3. He Knows Just What I Need

It’s a shame I can’t find more info on this song or what the story behind it was.  Mosie Lister just passed away in 2015, so he was certainly around to ask for many years after this song became famous.  Regardless, it is likely he was writing what he needed to hear at the time–a reminder that Jesus knows exactly what we need in our times of fear and despair.

4. A Shield About Me

A shield is something we don’t associate with much anymore.  Long gone are the days of soldiers fighting with a sword and shield in battle.  But we use other things for shields.  Our houses serve as a shield from weather and storms.  Sunglasses shield our eyes from the sun.  Even the masks that we’re currently wearing are shielding us from potential illness.  But what better shield from fear and despair is there than God?

5. Surround Us, Lord

What do you feel when you are surrounded by mountains?  Typically we are awe inspired.  We are reminded of the beauty of nature, and may even be reminded of how small we are in comparison.  Likewise, when we are in the presence of the Lord, it’s hard to feel fear and despair.  Instead, we are reminded of His love and protection.

6. Rescue Me

In Psalm 17, David is praying to God about his own fear and despair.  He asks God to rescue him, to protect him, and to strike down his enemies.  This song is a contemporary setting of that Psalm.

7. Had It Not Been the Lord

Sometimes the best reassurance that God is with us in times of fear and despair is to look back and see how He has been with us all along.  That’s exactly what David was doing when he wrote Psalm 124.  I love this beautiful setting of that Psalm.

8. My God is Singing Over Me

What a comfort it is in our times of fear and despair to remember that “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF WORSHIP

WELCOME

God Will Take Care of You (1,2,3)
I Know Who Holds Tomorrow (c,1,c)
He Knows Just What I Need (1,2,3)

PRAYER

A Shield About Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Surround Us, Lord

Rescue Me

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV)

SERMON

Had It Not Been the Lord

My God is Singing Over Me

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Good Deeds (9-27-2020)

Our sermon this week reminds us that our Christian walk shouldn’t just focus on NOT sinning; instead, we should focus on doing good! That can be difficult at times, given the hardships of life and our forgetful human nature. Our songs this week will not only attempt to remind us to do good, but will help us in our frame of mind when we’re struggling to do so.

1. He Gave Me a Song

Alton Howard was a prolific song writer in the Church of Christ. He passed away in 2006, but his work lives on in songs like this one. His appreciation for all that God has done for him is evident in the uplifting words and upbeat music of this song. How can we not want to do good in our lives when we have this perspective?

2. A Beautiful Life

William Golden is another person who had a great perspective on what it meant to do good in life. Perhaps that is because at one point in his life he served a sentence in prison. Little is known about William, what he went to prison for, and whether or not he wrote this song during or after his sentence. Regardless, he clearly sought to do good in his life despite the previous transgressions, setting a wonderful example for all of us.

3. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

You know a song has a powerful emotional connection when it has been recorded by singers from the likes of Elvis Presley, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Alan Jackson, and many more. Sometimes the struggle of being able to do good simply relies on our ability to remember what’s important in life. The chorus of this song reminds us that “the things of Earth will grow strangely dim” when we focus on Jesus.

4. Every Time

This song was written by one of the members of a group called Glorify Him. As they went around singing the song at youth rallies, the song resonated so well that it became a standard devotional song sung by youth groups around the country. The verses of this song remind us that we can see God everywhere we look if we only take the time to remember that He is there. The chorus makes a heart felt confession that while we sometimes let things in life get in the way of seeing God, we should strive each and every day to live our life for Him.

5. Count Your Blessings

Anyone in the field of psychology will agree that an attitude of gratitude will have such a positive impact on your mental well being. How much more inclined will we be to do good for others when we remember how God has done good for us?

6. Always Forgiven

I really struggled with finding the right song to go after our sermon. I always want it to be a song that encourages us to live out the message we’ve just heard. We’ve already focused on doing good deeds, as well as centering our attitude on Christ. But what if we’re struggling with guilt and shame from our past? If we allow our past to define us and tell us that we’re not a “good person,” then we will have great difficulty living a life of doing good. This song reminds us that God doesn’t see our past sins when He looks at us. He simply sees us as His children.

7. I Saw the Light

We finish with a song that’s sure to be stuck in your head long after you walk out of the church building. Just like William Golden’s story of struggle in life before writing “A Beautiful Life,” Hank Williams also had his share of struggles before writing this song. He is well known for having difficulties with alcoholism. Yet he wanted to spread the message of what God can do in people’s lives, a perfect example that even when we’re struggling not to sin, we can still do good in this life!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

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