Here is the Good Morning America interview with Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman. (aired 8/6) This was their first open, public, conversation regarding the death of their youngest daughter, Maria. Amazing grace, and their faith in God’s promise, is evident in every word. I hope you will take a few moments to watch. (HT:Alpha & Omega Ministries)
I just read an [older – Jan., 2007] article about the whereabouts of John James , former lead singer of The Newsboys. This is a sadly painful story on one hand, yet his redemption will leave you feeling great joy and in awe, once again, of what the Lord can do. I pray you’ll take time to read it, if you haven’t already seen it.
I know an article over a year old is not ground-breaking news. However, there was a point in the article that really got to me. John speaks about the adoration, cheering, worship of the fans. The CHRISTIAN fans. And it got me to wondering how that can happen. How we, as Christians, can come to a point where – like the world – we idolize the musician or group instead of enjoy the worship of the One it is intended to honor?
My family has been to a number of concerts featuring Christian artists. We’ve “met” many Christian performers. We walked a table line for Audio A, Rebecca St. James and a few other big names in Christian music. Been there, done that, have the T-shirts. But I think the most memorable times, for our family, were the times we truly got to spend with these musicians and band members – talking about what God is doing in their lives, and in our lives. My kids spent hours with Pigeon John, Riley Armstrong, and Red Cloud at LifeLight one year. And these performers talked to these kids about God, about where they stood with His Son. We’ve spent real time with Jeremy Camp, the guys from [now defunct] OC Supertones, Scott Kirkpayne. We worked the merch table with Chris and Matt of Sanctus Real – and had wonderful conversations with these guys. When Morgan Cryer came to town, my daughter went to lunch with the pastor’s family [her bff’s dad!] and Morgan. He even fixed her hair ribbon – stopped it from ravelling. I remember her saying, “Mom – he’s a real person just like everyone else!”
And that’s the point – these are real people, just like we are. They are fellow brothers-in-Christ. They need the same edification, love and accountability as everyone else. They do not need us to adore them for what they do. They need us to love them for who they are. Now, I’m not saying that every artist and every venue will allow for you to spend time with these people. But where there is opportunity, meet them – love them as brothers. Unless you are a journalist covering the concert, I’m pretty sure you will find they love to talk about things other than their music! That’s what we’ve found.
Psalm 32:1-7 (NASB)
1. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! 2. How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! 3. When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. [Selah] 5. I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”; and Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin. 6. Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him. 7. Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. [Selah]
Psalm 32 is one of my favorite pieces of Scripture. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I love all of God’s word, even the parts that make me uncomfortable in my life. This one, however, reminds me how wonderful it is when I turn to God with my sin. How good His forgiveness truly feels. It also reminds me that I must confess my sin, even though God knows it! Until I do so, I will not be forgiven.
Here is Sons of Korah performing Psalm 32:1-7 (be patient, the first 10 seconds are ‘goof’ on my part!) I pray you will enjoy it and be blessed by God’s song.
Ahhhh, Friday night worship – it IS a wonderful thing. Last night I was blessed to be able to go to see Chris Tomlin in concert with nine wonderful ladies from Omaha Bible Church . For those who have not been, a Christian artist’s concert is not like any other concert imaginable. I’ve been to many concerts, both secular and Christian, and I am always humbled by the glorification of God that happens at the latter.
Chris’s concert is the epitome of what is good about worship in song. The first half of the concert was all praise and worship music that was familiar to anyone who enters a bible believing church on a Sunday morning. With words displayed on a giant screen, the body of Christ sang it’s collective heart out to our Lord and Savior. (May it be a sweet aroma to Him! ) We then heard from speaker, Louie Gigglo, who reminded us how big God really is by speaking about just four stars in the vast universe that our God spoke into existence. After a fifteen minute intermission, we were back to Chris performing music from his CDs. Again, the words were displayed and much of the body sang, with Chris, to the Lord.
When the movie Amazing Grace was in production, Chris was approached to write a song about that subject matter. His initial response was, “No, I won’t touch that song. There is nothing I can add.” But he then began doing some research and found that the last verse we sing in church today was added to the song one hundred years later. Armed with that information, Chris wrote “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”. It is a powerful reminder of what Christ did for those who believe. Intertwined into Amazing Grace is the bridge:
My chains are gone I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace
When I think on what Christ did for me on the cross, I cannot be anything but awed. Christ’s sacrifice, His desire to be the propitiation (full and final payment) for our sins, was not a Plan B for God. It was not a second-guess, last ditch effort to help a people who were off track. It was God’s plan all along. Christ came to earth – fully man and fully God – for this specific purpose. And along the way, He showed us a perfected example of a sinless, blameless man. He came as God’s Lamb; the one acceptable, unblemished, sinless, sacrafice that could ultimately give all glory to God on High.
That is the grace of God in action. And, if you are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, how can you be drawn to anything other than giving glory to the all-powerful, indescribable, God who created you? He IS worthy of our praise and worship!!
I am thankful that God provided me the opportunity to be pleasantly reminded of what my true purpose on this earth is.
May it all be for His glory and to His purpose.
Remaining in His Arms,