Motion of Mercy – developing the Beautiful Attitudes of Christ

Just a quick stop in to say hi – and post a song I have told my pastor is hugely relevant to a sermon he is preaching this week on the Beatitudes. Hope you also enjoy it. (It is a song by Francesca Battistelli by the way.)

I was poor I was weak
I was the definition of the spiritually
Bankrupt condition
So in need of help

I was unsatisfied
Hungry and thirsty
When You rushed to my side
So unworthy
Still You gave yourself away…

(Chorus)
That’s the motion of mercy
Changing the way and the why we are
That’s the motion of mercy
Moving my heart

Now I’m filled by a love
That calls me to action
I was empty before now I’m drawn to compassion
And to give myself away

(Chorus)

Living for the lost
Loving ’til it hurts
No matter what the cost
Like You loved me first
That’s the motion of mercy

God give me strength to give something for nothing
I wanna be a glimpse of the Kingdom that’s coming soon

(Chorus)

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Trying on the shoes of a Christmas visitor

2012-carols1It must be difficult for people who grow up in an environment where there is no affection for the Church or for Christ to suddenly be confronted by Church and church people at Christmas time – especially when ‘we’ are so overly enthusiastic about it all!

Our Christmas Community Carols commences in just a few hours, along with a puppet show for the kids/parents and a BBQ before the carols singing. So I’m trying to put myself in our visitors’ shoes as they walk in our church door. What will they see? What do they want to experience as guests at our place? If I didn’t know Christ, what would I want to see at a carols service? Perhaps . . .

I would want a place that welcomes me with sincerity, that puts me at ease and appreciates that I won’t know the status quo for moving around your premises.  I won’t know where the toilets are, and I won’t know if it’s okay to put my feet on the seats or stop my kiddies running around in certain areas. Please tell me.

I would want a preacher who looks me right in the eye and tells me what they genuinely believe. I would want them to ask me to consider the real meaning of this Christmas celebration, explaining it in a clear but really succinct way! If this Jesus character is so important to you all, please tell me why. Show me.

I would want the music to sound good, with musicians who know when to come in and when to stop playing. I want singers who look like they are interested in the things they sing about.

I would want to see you had put effort into providing decorations for my children and I to be feeling festive. I would want some air conditioning and cold drinks (there’s no snow in the land down under at Christmas).

Most of all I would want you to treat me like someone who belonged here, not someone who is obviously new. I would love people to show a genuine interest in me, and my children, and to ask me back to visit again. That would show me how much you enjoyed my company!
That would make me feel special. If you remembered my name the next time I came, that would be awesome!

Please pray with me for our upcoming community carols, which is essentially one of the best outreach opportunities for the Gospel in our calendar. And I will pray for yours: that Christ will be glorified; that people may be won over by the love of Christ, turn from the god of self, and follow Him.

May there be much rejoicing in heaven over many new souls entering the Kingdom this Christmas.

Grace has now appeared – Christ!

adventTitus 2:11  “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”

Talking today about another great new Christmas song published by the folks from EMU music. (If you haven’t heard of them, they are a great source of singable gospel-true congregational songs). This song “Grace has now appeared” is the first track on their recently released Christmas album Advent(follow this link to buy on itunes). The theme is obviously the “advent”, the arrival of our Saviour, the Word become flesh.

The whole album is filled with gospel-rich songs of different styles and tempos. It’s great to play in your home or car through the holiday season, to help remember the loving act of our Holy God, who became man, and showed immeasurable kindness in stooping down to save us, from our addiction to worshipping ourselves.
My favourite lines of this song come in verse 3, “He has come to dwell within us, Bringing us from death to life, Giving us the hope of glory, Making us like Christ, Shining forth his light.” Grace has indeed appeared! And we “little Christs” are the living reminders of that grace. Hope you enjoy the album! (Sheet music available here)

GRACE HAS NOW APPEARED

1. See the love of God of Father
For our lost and desperate race
Sending to our world a saviour
Full of truth and grace
People who once walked in darkness
Now are dwelling in the light
Undeserving of his kindness
Blindness turned to sight
Dead have come to life

Chorus
Glory to our God in heaven
Celebrate the Saviour’s birth
Joyful news for all the people
Hope has come to earth
God has comforted his people
Come to drive away our fear
Born for us in David’s city
Grace has now appeared

2. See the grace of our Lord Jesus
Who was rich but became poor
In our place he pays our ransom
Satisfies the law
Giving up his life for sinners
Banishing our guilt and shame
Pouring out for us his life-blood
Freeing us from blame
This is why he came

3. See the Holy Spirit’s power
Overshadow Mary’s womb
Come upon the suffering servant
Raise him from the tomb
He has come to dwell within us
Bringing us from death to life
Giving us the hope of glory
Making us like Christ
Shining forth his light

© 2012 Rob Smith

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Grace has overflowed in song

Mary did you know?

I have only recently discovered an awesome Christmas song by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene (1991), called “Mary did you know?” Why haven’t I heard of this one before? Jeremy Camp has just released it on his new Christmas album “Christmas: God with Us”. It would make a great solo/ensemble song for your carols/Christmas program. (And see my other suggestions here to ease your planning stress). Enjoy!

Buy the song here at iTunes

Here are the lyrics:

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am.

Read more of what I’ve learned about the great I AM in my post from last month “You are I AM”

December 25 in song, thanks to Francesca!

francescachristmasalbumA very short post today, encouraging you to go buy a new Christmas album for your collection, or as a gift for someone else. Bought this new one from Francesca Battistelli in October just after it was released, simply called “Christmas.” It was a birthday present for daughter Emily (14). It has become a huge hit in our house. Click here for the itunes link.

If you are looking for a great song for a Christmas event at your church, I would recommend “Heaven Everywhere” (sheet music available from Musicnotes.com) or a slower one “December 25“. If you live in a snowy location, try “Marshmallow world” for a bit of fun! Can’t say we relate to that over here in sunny Brisbane, in the middle of a heatwave. (If you have the time, check out my blog on the rationale for Christmas: “Why wouldn’t we remember Christmas”. It might help to share it with some “baa humbug!” friends or relatives.)

Here are the lyrics for HEAVEN EVERYWHERE (please note the grace in chorus #2)

I hear the bells, they’re ringing loud and clear
You can’t help but love this time of year
It’s Christmastime, there’s something in the air
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

Somehow there’s a little more of love
And maybe there’s a little less of us
Or maybe we’re just slightly more aware
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

Chorus
It’s the smile on a man who has finally found hope
It’s the tears of a mother whose child has come home
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

It’s funny how it takes a holiday
To show us how the world could truly change
If we all took the time to really care
There’d be a little more of heaven everywhere

Chorus 2

It’s the grace that we show to a world that needs hope
It’s giving our lives knowing they’re not our own
It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

Bridge
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Hallelujah, halleljuah

It’s the joy that we feel and the love that we share
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere
There’s a little bit of heaven everywhere

Tag
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plain