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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We Are the Body (8-16-2020)

Today I was watching a music video to a communion song.  In this video, Christians were taking communion together.  Tears came to my eyes for a number of reasons.  One of those reasons was because our ability to commune together has been stifled in many ways due to the pandemic.  Yes, we are able to meet together again and take communion together, but definitely not in the same way as before.  Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to act as a body.  Because we are hindered in our ability to connect in ways we did before, we need to make sure we are acting as one body–taking care of one another, loving each other, and serving each other.  Our songs this week will all encourage us in those endeavors.

1. Bind Us Together

Bob Gillman was in someone’s home with a group of Christians praying.  He was so taken with emotion that the words and tune to the chorus of this song began to come to him in that moment.  He never imagined it would become a song sang around the world.

2. We Will Stand

Most of the songs we sing in church are directed to God (the Father), Jesus (the Son), and/or the Holy Spirit.  This song, however, is strictly directed to one another.  It reminds us that we’re all brothers and sisters, working together, and “as long as there is love, we will stand.”  (This video contains the verses, but we will only be singing the chorus.)

3. The Greatest Commands

Always a crowd favorite when this one is led!  A perfect reminder of how important loving one another truly is.

4. By Christ Redeemed

If we are the body of Christ, there is great symbolism then as we commune together and remember the body of Christ.  This is a song that I feel like is often overlooked as a good communion song.  Perhaps it is because the music is somewhat chant like.  (Our hymnal, “Praise for the Lord” actually depicts some of the phrases musically as a chant!)  Perhaps it is because of some of the difficult phrases it uses.  (“With the last advent we unite, by one bright chain of loving rite.”)  Either way, I thought it was very appropriate for our theme this week as we prepare to take communion.

5. Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?

This song reminds us of all the different places that we can see Jesus as we look around the world and creation.  In particular, the last verse reminds us that when we see our Christian family, we see Jesus!

6. We Are the Body of Christ

It’s pretty rare that a song directly matches the title of our sermon!  I love the declaration this song makes of “one heart, one vision, one voice.”  The world needs to see that demonstrated by Christians in every aspect of our lives.

7. Where No One Stands Alone

I always like to come up with a set list and then sit on it for 24 hours to see if any new ideas come to me at the last minute.  This one was definitely last minute!  I was having trouble finding the right way to end our service, when this song suddenly hit me as the answer.  A body is made up of many parts, and none of those parts can be alone.  No one in God’s family should ever feel alone, even during these times of social distancing.

8. Blest Be the Tie That Binds

John Fawcett, a struggling preacher, was offered a job in London.  He packed up his family and possessions into their wagon and proceed to wave goodbye to the town he had been serving for 7 years.  His pain of leaving them was so great, he turned the wagon around and stayed another 45 years!  That served as the inspiration for him to write the words to this song.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

Bind Us Together
We Will Stand
The Greatest Commands

PRAYER

By Christ Redeemed

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?

We Are the Body of Christ

SCRIPTURE READING – 1 Cor. 12:27-31

SERMON

Where No One Stands Alone

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

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Watch Together (7-19-2020)

The word “watch” can sound like an inactive or passive activity.  If I sit on the porch and watch the cars go by, I’m relaxed and not engaged.  When Jesus tells us to keep watch in Matthew 24, there is definitely an urgency to it.  We’re not relaxed and unengaged.  Instead, we’re preparing, we’re working, we are readying ourselves…and helping each other!  Our songs this week encourage us to keep watching, working, and all the while helping our brothers and sisters do the same.

1. To the Work

We begin a medley of 3 songs that all remind us of the work that we are to be doing.  In fact, just as I mentioned earlier, this song helps us equate “watching” with a sense of urgency.  The chorus tells us “let us hope and trust, let us watch and pray, and labor till the Master comes.”

2. We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes

This song reminds us that while we are longing for rest and our heavenly home, there is work to be done in the mean time.  In particular, I like the words to the second verse (which is not found in some hymnals) because it reminds us that this world is not our home: “No tranquil joys on earth I know, No peaceful, sheltering dome, This world’s a wilderness of woe, This world is not my home.”

3. Work, For the Night is Coming

We finish out this medley with a song that reminds us that our work will not last forever.  Night is coming, and there will come a time when we won’t have to work anymore!

4. Go Light Your World

In my opinion, this is probably the best song about the Christian mission of evangelizing written in the last 30 years.  Working can be very difficult when you feel like there’s no hope.  This song reminds us that there are hurting, struggling people out there in the world.  It’s our job to carry our candle and help them find the light so they can join us in our work and share in the hope that we have!

5. Instruments of Your Peace

Not only do we want to work, we want to be God’s instruments.  In a world where there seems to be so much chaos, anger, and strife right now, let’s aim to spread love and peace wherever we go.

6. Heaven’s Road

This is a song that I can remember singing as a little five year old boy in chapel at school.  This song reminds us that we’re all in this journey of working and watching together, both young and old.  (Not sure which of those categories I fall into anymore!)

7. Will Jesus Find Us Watching

We finish out our service with this classic hymn written by one of my favorite lyricists, Fanny J. Crosby.  Out of all the songs she put words to, I find this one truly poetic in that she was blind, yet she lived a life that was always “watching” for Jesus.  May we all learn from her example!

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

WELCOME

To the Work (1,2)
We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes (1,2)
Work, For the Night is Coming (1,2,3)

PRAYER

Go Light Your World

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Instruments of Your Peace (c,1,c)

Heaven’s Road

SCRIPTURE READING – Matthew 24:36-42

SERMON

Will Jesus Find Us Watching (1,2,4)

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Life of Surrender (6-28-2020)

When you’re asked to plan a service around the theme of being a slave to righteousness, that causes you to think.  There’s only about 2 songs I know with the word “slave” in it (“No Longer Slaves” and “O Holy Night”).  There are some songs that have the word “righteousness” in the lyrics, but only as an incidental lyric, not as the main theme.  So what direction was I to go?  As I contemplated no longer being a slave to sin but to righteousness, it caused me to think of surrendering.  We surrender our lives to God.  Isn’t that what the Christian life is all about?  I hope these songs cause you to reflect on that theme as we worship.

1. Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Before we focus on surrendering, we’ll sing a few songs that remind us of how much God has done for us in freeing us as slaves to sin.  We begin with this song, also known as Doxology.  We’ll sing it in a lower key than usual in order to go directly into the next song.

2. 10,000 Reasons

This song gives us a lot more reasons to surrender to God…10,000 of them, to be exact.  Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin came up with this lyric while discussing how each day we wake up, we should never stop being able to think of the many ways God has blessed us.

3. When My Love to Christ Grows Weak

“Learning all the might that lies in a full self sacrifice.”  This song is deep in lyrical meaning.  Sometimes when we’ve been singing them for years, that meaning may start to slip our minds.  In order to refresh that meaning, we’ll sing an arrangement of the song that has just the men on the first verse, just the women on the second verse, and verse 3 begins in unison.  Here is the traditional arrangement of the song:

4. Lord, Take Control

Another way we can become slaves to righteousness is by making our lives a “living sacrifice,” as this song suggests.

5. All to Jesus I Surrender

Judson Van de Venter tells the story of how he wrote these powerful lyrics: “For some time, I had struggled between developing my talents in the field of art and going into full-time evangelistic work. At last the pivotal hour of my life came, and I surrendered all. A new day was ushered into my life. I became and evangelist and discovered down deep in my soul a talent hitherto unknown to me. God had hidden a song in my heart, and touching a tender chord, he caused me to sing.”

6. Pierce My Ear

Finally, we come to a song in which we state that we indeed wish to become slaves for God, not out of obligation, but out of love for our Master.  From Exodus 21:5-6, “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.”

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow
10,000 Reasons

PRAYER

When My Love to Christ Grows Weak (1,2,4,5)

COMMUNION
OFFERING

Lord, Take Control

All to Jesus I Surrender

SCRIPTURE READING – Romans 6:15-23

SERMON

Pierce My Ear

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He Calls Us to Call Others (3-1-2020)

I’m excited to be guest leading this week at Highland Oaks Church of Christ in Dallas.  As they wrap up their focus for the month on missions, the songs reflect that message.  God has called each of us to work, and as we work, we are to call others to join us.  I hope each of these songs remind you to live that out in your daily life.

1. Send the Light

This is a very appropriate song to sing at Highland Oaks during the month they are collecting for missions because that is exactly how this song was born.  Charles Gabriel was asked to write a hymn for Easter Sunday when they were taking up a special collection for his church’s mission work.  What a testament that we’re still singing the song 130 years later.

2. I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord

Isaac Watts was a great example of someone who was willing to put himself out there and spread the gospel.  He was often criticized by his own Christian family for the songs he was writing, which many considered to be unscriptural at the time.  This song is a great representation of Christ’s words in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

3. More Than Conquerors

The band Rend Collective has given us a lot of great anthems over the last few years, including songs like “Build Your Kingdom Here” and “Rescuer.”  They wrote this song as a reminder of all the victory we have in Christ even when we see the evil, hurt and pain around us in the world.  What a powerful statement to declare to the world.

4. Called Me Higher

Leslie Jordan of the group All Sons and Daughters wrote this song as a personal prayer between her and God.  I arranged this song for acappella singing and used it on a project for teenagers called Regen Harmony.  I can’t tell you what an encouragement it is to see young people declaring that they will go wherever God leads.

5. We Will Glorify

This Twila Paris classic has stood the test of time over the last 30+ years as an anthem loved by people around the world.  It’s simple in message, yet the power of that message is one that I want to sing for the rest of my life!

6. O Praise the Name (Anastasis)

As we move into our time of communion, this song paints a picture with such beautiful descriptions.  “That cursed tree,” “drenched in tears,” “heavy stone,” “still and all alone.”  Such sad words, but then contrast that with the declaration in the chorus, “For endless days we will sing Your praise, O Lord, O Lord, our God.”

7. My Eyes Are Dry

The words of this song sound as if they were written by someone of old age who is struggling in faith.  “What can be done to an old heart like mine?”  They were actually written by Keith Green, who tragically died at the age of 28.  He may have been young, but he had the wisdom to know what to ask God for in his time of hurt: “Please wash me anew in the wine of Your blood.”

8. Seek Ye First

There are very few songs we sing that actually contain words spoken by Christ.  All three verses of this song come from Jesus’ words in Matthew chapters 4, 6, and 7.

9. Hosanna, You’re My King

I think each of us has an affection for the songs that we sang in our teenage years.  This would be one of those songs for me.

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

Sent the Light (1,2,4)
I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord
More than Conquerors

WELCOME

Called Me Higher
We Will Glorify
O Praise the Name (Anastasis)

COMMUNION

My Eyes Are Dry

OFFERING

Seek Ye First

Hosanna, You’re My King

SERMON

Called Me Higher (reprise)

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Listening in His Presence (2-9-2020)

The last time I led worship, our sermon was on prayer and our songs centered around talking to God.  This week, our sermon is going to focus on listening to God.  In order to listen to Him, we need to be in His presence.  Our songs this week all center on those two themes: hearing God and being in His presence.

1. Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

This song is a great way to set the tone for our entire set.  Jesus said in John 10 that His sheep know the sound of His voice.  What a comforting thought to ask Him to lead us like a shepherd, knowing that He will speak to us, lead us, and protect us from harm.

2. I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

Like many of the songs that we sing, this song most likely originated as a children’s song.  Horatius Bonar had a heart for children and had a passion for writing metrical lyrics that they could understand.  This song continues the theme of hearing Jesus, as each verse picks a phrase that Jesus spoke in Scripture.  (Believe it or not, I was unable to find a video of this song paired with the tune that we will be using.  There is another version of the song, most likely the original, written in minor key, which gives the song a much different feel!)

3. My God and I

We conclude our opening medley with lyrics of a song that makes the relationship between God and the author very personal.  They stress deep, personal relationship with God, using imagery of walking hand and hand with Him.

4. Surround Us, Lord

In order to hear the voice of the Savior, we need to be near Him.  Beginning with the words to Psalm 125:2, the song then stresses our need to be in His presence.

5. A Shield About Me

When God is present with us, He also serves as a protector.  He fights for us.  And, as Psalm 3:3 tells us, He is a shield about us.

6. As the Deer Thirsts

Most of us can probably quote Psalm 42:1, but if you read the rest of that Psalm, it paints a picture of someone hurting and in pain.  When you are feeling this way, I hope this song will serve as a catalyst for you to cry out to Him and draw closer to His presence.

7. I’ll Be Listening

This one seemed like a perfect fit right before our message, which is titled “It Pays–To Listen.”  Hope you agree!

8. Soul, A Savior Thou Art Needing

Do you remember when you felt called to respond to the gospel?  I hope none of us forget what that felt like.  This song serves as a reminder, “He is calling, softly calling, come to Me and be at rest.”

9. There’s a Stirring

The last and final call I want to hear from Jesus is when He calls me to rise up and go with Him to heaven.  What a wonderful day that will be to be in His presence, “bow down, and lay my crown at His precious wounded feet.”

In Him,
Aaron Shotts

ORDER OF SERVICE

WELCOME

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (1,2,3)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say

My God and I

PRAYER

Surround Us, Lord
A Shield About Me

COMMUNION
OFFERING

As the Deer Thirsts

I’ll Be List’ning

SCRIPTURE READING – Revelation 2:1-7

SERMON

Soul, a Savior Thou Art Needing

There’s a Stirring

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