Piano improv – Sunday morning July 3, 2016

United Kingdom

Because some asked for this, I’m posting it here. This was my improv during communion this Sunday, July 3. I didn’t have anything planned for this segment, so this is spontaneous worship. The clatter you hear are the platters with the communion bread being distributed and collected.

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My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

My Faith Has Found - graphic

A few weeks ago, the first line of this old hymn came to mind. I had it wrong, though. I remembered it as saying, “my soul has found a resting place.” When I looked up the words to the hymn, I discovered I got the line wrong, but it was OK. This song expresses so much of the WHY I can rest in God. Originally written in 1890 by E.E. Hewitt, the comforting and strengthening truths of our security in Christ’s finished work are worthy to be sung again and again.

My prayer is that this would be an encouragement to the church. Let me know what you think of it. If you would like a copy of the lead sheet, let me know in the comments or email me, thgmusic(at)gmail(dot)com.

words: E.E. Hewitt
music & additional words: Brad Pearson
Verse 1
My faith has found a resting place,
not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

Verse 2
Enough for me that Jesus saves,
this ends my fear and doubt;
a sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.

Chorus
I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
it is enough that Jesus died,
and that He died for me.

Verse 3
My heart is leaning on the Word,
the living Word of God,
salvation by my Savior’s name,
salvation through His blood.

Bridge
My great Physician heals the sick,
the lost He came to save;
for me His precious blood He shed,
for me His life He gave.

Verse 4
Now as I walk by faith, not sight,
my hope remains secure.
My Lord, who keeps His faithful word
shall help me to endure.

This arrangement ©2016 by Brad Pearson

158H

Glory, Fame and Independence

120H

“This One who is life itself was revealed to us…” (1 John 1:2*)

Jesus was revealed to me almost twenty years ago in a powerfully dramatic way. I came to the Father through Jesus the Son. I was able to see, maybe for the very first time, just how beautiful, majestic, holy yet loving and compassionate God is through the person and work of Jesus.

From that day forward there has been an ever-growing, ever-deepening “fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 1:3) Fellowship, relationship, need, dependence, belief, trust– add “-ing” to them all. Whatever expresses this with an ongoing, active, living relationship–that is what has been mine in Christ since 1996.

I still battle every day with my desire for glory, fame, and independence.

My flesh still wants glory for itself–right here, right now glory. Never mind eternity and the glory that will be mine in Christ forever. I want to be exalted in the eyes of others, finding my worth there.

I want fame now. Oh, how I want to be famous! Oh, how I desire that! I want those words of praise and acclamation now, while I can hear them. Then, then, I will know that my life means something, amounts to something. (I want in my flesh to derive my identity from my fame and glory as a musician.) I want to exult in my own fame.

But most of all, above all else, I want to be independent.

  • Nobody tells me what to do
  • Nobody places demands on my time
  • Nobody directs how I spend my money
  • Nobody is needed for my strength or existence

 Oh, how I want to be independent!

But fellowship with God the Father through Jesus His Son–authenticated, validated and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit–destroys all of my fleshly ambitions. They are all supplanted by the blessings of fellowship.

  • I don’t need glory because I exalt God for His glory! For His glorious Name’s sake I do all that I do.
  • I don’t need fame because I exult in God, through Christ. My joy and my identity come through Him. He is all that I am; all that I need.
  • I no longer desire independence because I recognize my need for dependence. And not just dependence on God. No, I also realize that I am depending on the body of Christ, the church, for help, for strength, for the encouragement I need every day.

In this connection to God and to His people I am free and am being freed day by day from my desires for glory, fame and independence.

“What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms…”

*Scripture quote from NLT

Images supplied by Ryan McGuire, http://www.gratisography.com

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Three Proclamations

More thoughts from 1 John 1:1-4*

Today I find three proclamations. Two speak of Christ’s person and character and purpose. One speaks of a desire that should be mine if I grasp the first two.

 Proclamation #1

“We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning.” “He was with the Father.” (1 Jn. 1:1-2)

If I proclaim that Jesus existed from the beginning, that He was with the Father, then I am proclaiming that God has existed from the beginning. The two are inextricably intertwined.

  • There is no Jesus without God
  • There is no God without Jesus

 Proclamation #2

“We…proclaim to you that He is the one who is eternal life.” “He is the Word of life. This One who is life itself…” (1 Jn. 1:1-2)

If I proclaim that Jesus is life, that He is eternal life, then it is only possible to have eternal life if I know Jesus. And I can know Him because He has been revealed to me (“This One who is life itself was revealed to us…”). John the Apostle saw Jesus, heard Him, and touched Him. Jesus’ physicality was known by John through personal experience. As mentioned in part 2 of this series, I know Jesus through His word, the Scripture. He has been revealed to me through the testimony of the living Word. If I am to know Jesus, I have to know Him through His word revealed to me.

  • There is no Scripture without Jesus
  • There is no Jesus without Scripture

Proclamation #3

“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us.” “We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” (1 Jn. 1:3-4)

I have come into fellowship with the living, eternal God through His revelation of Himself through the eternal, living Son, who has revealed Himself to me through His eternal, living word. Among the implications of this glorious fellowship is that I will have a desire to see others know the joy of fellowship with God the Father through Jesus the Son.

If my joy seems incomplete right now, perhaps it’s because I’m not proclaiming Christ to others? My joy is complete as others come to Christ, and not in the least measure because of my participation in that process through proclaiming Him.

  • There is no joy without proclamation
  • There is no proclamation without joy

I’m writing these things “so that you may fully share our joy.”

Previous posts in this series:

“What We Share In Common with John”

“Reflections on Eternity”

 *Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation.

Reflections on eternity

File Dec 24, 12 05 38 PM

Continuing reflections today on 1 John 1:1-4*

1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

Jesus is “the one who existed from the beginning.” (v. 1)

Where was He in this existence? “He was with the Father” (v.2).

There was never a time as we understand time and eternity when Jesus did not exist. God the Father has always been, so too, Jesus the Son. Before this world in which we live and move and have our being existed–came into being–there was a God who was there. God eternal–Jesus eternal.

It is more than the mind can grasp but our hearts have been opened to that truth, the eternal truth, because He “was revealed to us.” God revealed Himself to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The implication of that revelation is also staggering. We can have fellowship “with the Father and with His Son…”(v.3) God eternal is knowable and approachable through Jesus. This God, who has always been and will always be — the Great “I Am” — can be known not just intellectually, but experientially, through Jesus.

But one more eternal truth is here. Jesus is “the Word of life” (v. 1). He is “life itself” (v.2); He is “eternal life” (v. 2). So this knowing of God, this experiencing of fellowship with Him brings life. We have an abundant life now in fellowship with God the Father through Jesus the Son. The Word of life brings us life. And for all eternity, through the One who is eternal life, we will have fellowship with Him.

Full fellowship of joy.

Full fellowship of grace.

Hallelujah!

*Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation.

What we share in common with John

When we read 1 John 1:1-4, we find that there are things that we share in common with John, while there are other aspects of his knowledge of Christ that we don’t share (at least in the same way).

Here’s the passage (New Living Translation)

“1. We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.”

John saw Jesus with his own eyes and touched him with his own hands. We don’t share that with him. There was a season of the incarnation when Jesus could be seen by all around him. What an amazing thing! God in the form of man could be seen! John again in v. 3 attests, “we ourselves have actually seen and heard” Jesus. We can’t say that, not in the sense of being physically present with Him.

But there are more things that we have in common with John than what we don’t.

  1. We proclaim Christ together. John proclaims “the one who existed from the beginning” and so do we.
  2. Jesus was revealed to us. Jesus, “who is life itself”, was revealed to John in flesh and in spirit. We know Christ together in spirit. We know “the Word of life” together.
  3. We have fellowship together in Christ. Since Christ has been revealed to us, we now have fellowship together with Christ and in Christ.
  4. We share so that others may have joy. John wrote his letter “so that (others) may fully share our joy.” We testify in our words, our proclamation, so that others will share the joy of fellowship in Christ.

So, in this season of celebrating the Incarnation of Christ, remember to proclaim Christ who has been revealed to you. Rejoice in your fellowship in Christ, but share this good news of “life itself” with those who don’t know Him, so that they may have joy.

Healing

  

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Whatever our heartbreak may be, there is only One who can truly heal us, heal the wounds of life. He who bore the worst of wounds can sympathize with all of our wounds. He ministers to the tender-hearted and gives them strength. 

Are We Headed For A Crash? Reflections On The Current State of Evangelical Worship

The issues Jamie brings up here are worthy of our consideration. Read carefully and prayerfully.

Worthily Magnify

1 Last week I spent a couple of days attending the National Worship Leader Conference , hosted by Worship Leader Magazine , featuring many well-known speakers and worship leaders. The conference was held about 15 minutes down the road from me, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I’m glad I went.

I met some new people, heard some thought-provoking teaching, enjoyed some good meals and conversations with worship leader friends, and experienced in-person some of the modern worship trends that are becoming the norm in evangelicalism. It was eye-opening in many ways.

Over the last few days I’ve been processing some of what I saw and heard.

Worship Leader Magazine does a fantastic job of putting on a worship conference that will expose the attendees to a wide variety of resources, techniques, workshops, songs, new artists, approaches, teachings, and perspectives. I thought of Mark Twain’s famous quote…

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