Sing a New Song

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Sing to him a new song [Psalm 33:3]

It is time to unlearn and to stop singing the same old song. It is easy to catch a hold of a thought, give it a melody and allow it become the soundtrack of our life. Then wherever we are we sing it over ourselves again and again and again. Songs that tell others all about how we feel, full of emotion and always sung with great passion.

Songs of how we feel frustrated.
Songs of how life is hard.
Songs about how things are not going our way.
Songs full of our pain.
Songs of how we feel lost.
Songs all about how we feel hopeless.
Songs full questions to God.

Songs describing all the challenges we face.

Let’s be people of God who will stop singing those songs. Let’s stop singing wrong lyrics over our circumstances like ’Things ain’t like they used to be’, and begin to a sing a new song. Instead begin to sing over your circumstances.

Sing a song of peace.
Sing a song of security.
Sing a song of transformation.
Sing a song of healing.
Sing a song of discovery.
Sing a song of hope.
Sing a song of confidence.

Sing a song of faith.

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. [Psalm 33:20-22

Enter The House

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. (‭Matthew‬ ‭2‬:‭11‬ MSG)

I love this simple, yet powerful picture as we observe the Wise Men in the Christmas story.

They enter the house where Jesus is. 
Being in His presence was important to them. They had travelled a long way for a moment that they didn’t really understand. It wasn’t enough to just be in the vicinity, they had to enter in to experience the fullness of all that was happening. 

Have I made this a non-negotiable in my lives? Am I doing all I can to enter the house where Jesus is?

They were overcome.
I imagine this was a special occasion for them. Their journey had reached its  pivotal moment and their awareness of all that was happening, naturally and supernaturally causes them to be overcome – in wonder, in revelation, in their hearts.

When was the last time I was overcome by entering into the presence of God? 

They kneel and worship. 
It must have just felt right to do this. When I enter the house where Jesus is I need to ensure that I am willing to respond in a way that feels right ~ with reverence, honour and humility. 

Am I coming ready and willing to worship my Saviour King?

They presented their gifts. 
We all have something we can give, regardless of the value we may give it. Perhaps it has to become less about what Jesus can give me and more about what I can bring to Him. That when I enter the House and worship Him, I give. 

Of what God has given me am I willing to give it back to Him? Am I presenting my gifts for Him to use for His glory?

I am praying that in 2015 my life with Jesus would better reflect these great attitudes. How about you?

Living in the Impossible

41kvsoXncfL._SL125_Jesus tells us that if we want to come after him we have to deny ourselves and take up our cross. The way to find yourself is to lose yourself. This is the IMPOSSIBLE call of the Christian faith.

Culture almost dictates to us that we should find out who we are, that ‘I’ am the most important person in my world, that everything I have, want and desire is okay because ‘I’ feel better, ‘I’ am made complete if I have them.

Culture teaches us to be self-aware, to be self-taught, to enjoy self-discovery, to learn self-help, to become self-absorbed even, to see God in all that you do and that YOU have all you need within you to live a successful life. Rather than challenge this thinking, maybe the Church has at times encouraged this.

Then you read the words of Jesus. ‘Lay down your life’. ‘Lose yourself’. ‘Die to yourself’. ‘Pick up your cross’. ‘Follow me.’ Is it any wonder that many choose not to. This is a tough call. Not just difficult – IMPOSSIBLE. In his book, Simply Christian, Tom Wright states that ‘the only way for us to live this life is to draw strength from beyond ourselves, the strength of God’s Spirit’.

This was the crescendo for me as I read Simply Christian. Slow at first but then increasing in momentum has the challenge to ‘reflect the image’ was laid out, thoughtfully but with enough of a push to make you feel uncomfortable about how you walk with God.

Loved the image of living in the overlap, the place where heaven and earth interlock. Every time we pray, take communion, worship, read the Bible, bringing all that God has done for us into the present. Walking in this reality makes us effective for God I’m sure, led by the Spirit not by culture or self.

The last page lays it out so convincingly:
‘We are called to be part of God’s new creation, called to be agents of that new creation here and now. We are called to model and display that new creation in symphonies and family life, in restorative justice and poetry, in holiness and service to the poor, in politics and painting’.

To take a phrase that we have used recently at Xcel Church – living in the impossible, by the strength God provides, help us to repaint the landscape of Christianity in our worlds, in this region, in our town.

Made for spirituality, we wallow in introspection. Made for joy, we settle for pleasure. Made for justice, we clamour for vengeance. Made for relationship, we insist on our own way. Made for beauty, we are satisfied with sentiment.’

It’s time to grow up. Time to grasp a hold of it. To leave behind the brokenness and incompleteness that this world offers and take up our proper role.

This is a recommended read, if you like more to think about, more depth to your knowledge but to still be challenged enough to change how you live the Christian life. Take your time in the reading and you won’t be disappointed. Get your copy here.