The More Like Him I Grow

God is my Heavenly Father;
He made me who I am.
He wants all that’s best for me;
It’s written in His plan.
His Son is like a big brother
Who guides me as I go.
The closer I walk beside Jesus,
The more like Him I grow.
Yes, the more like Him I grow.

The more I come to love Jesus,
The more I learn about me:
Who I was and who I am
And who God wants me to be.
It’s a lifelong transformation;
The changes seem so slow.
Yet the more I seek to please Jesus,
The more like Him I grow.
Yes, the more like Him I grow.

About this Song:
While I was away on a mission trip to Australia in 1995, my daughter, Kristi, made a profession of her faith in Jesus Christ at our home church; she was eight years old at the time. I wrote this song soon after my return, dedicating it “to Kristi at the beginning of her Christian growth.”

She sang it with me at our church not long after that and again at the Windsor District Baptist Church in Australia on a family trip in 1996. Never has her singing been sweeter.

Not one of us is born an adult anymore than a new Believer begins her Christian walk at full maturity. Our growth into human adulthood takes years, and our growth into Christian maturity is apt to take even longer. As this song states, the growth into being who God wants us to be “is a lifelong transformation.”

Christians don’t necessarily mature equally. But those who “seek to please Jesus” will grow into the kind of people God wants them to be.

If this post has spoken to you, how about leaving a comment?

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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First and Second Mile Blues

If you’ve come to walk just one mile
And to tell me what you’re taught to say,
Go on home; I’m not gonna listen.
I don’t think you’ve a thing real to say to me.

But if you will walk all the way
And tell me how you really feel,
Have a seat; I’m ready to listen.
I think you might have something real to say.

About this Song:
I was visiting my original in-laws in November of 1979 when the ideas for two songs came to me. This is one of them. What you can’t tell from just looking at the words,  however, is the rhythm was so tricky–so challenging–that I never bothered to write the tune down until 1993.

It was just as much a challenge to play.

I’ll never forget doing a program at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Salisbury, Maryland, one Sunday evening closer to 1979 than to now. I was sitting on a stool. “The First & Second Mile Blues” made me so nervous that the guitar bounced up and down on my knee from start to finish, and I’m not sure how many right notes I hit–if any. No wonder I decided never to do that song in public again!

But my friends at the Ashland Convalescent Center are pretty low key and uncritical, and I don’t get as uptight about mistakes as I used to. So a year or so ago I chanced doing it for them. It not only went well, they actually seemed to like it.

Enough about that, though.

If you’re familiar with Jesus’ teachings, the idea of voluntarily going the second mile in doing something distasteful for someone rather than just the required first mile–that teaching can be applied to so many aspects of life–then you understand where the idea came from.

You can see why I’ve chosen to share this song the  week after “An Empty Spoon.” Both songs warn people who try to pass their wisdom along to others–especially if it’s unsought–in a forceful and distasteful way to back off. No wonder we tend to describe people like that as “Bible thumpers” and accuse them of hitting listeners over the head with their Bibles.

They can’t seem to understand that nobody wants to listen to them until they’ve established themselves as genuine examples of what they’re proclaiming. As Christians, that often means going the second mile to establish a credible relationship.

If this song has spoken to you, please leave a comment.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

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Posted in Bible Thumpers, Blues, Credibility, Second Mile | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Empty Spoon

As you come to fill my mouth
With food for thought from your abundant past,
Why wonder that I do not eat?
For I am not molded in your cast.

You tell me you can tell me what truth is,
But truth is that truth for right now
Is not yours to give.
You tell me you can tell me how life should be,
But my life is not your life to live.

As you come to fill my mouth
With food for thought from your abundant past,
Why wonder that I do not eat?
For I am not molded in your cast.

When I was young you gave me milk.
As I began to grow up, you gave me meat.
But now the time has come for me to feed myself,
You’d rather see me starve to death
Than sick from what I’d eat.

You feed me from an empty  spoon.

About this Song:
Sometime around 1970 I read a fascinating non-fiction book by Sunny Decker. That I can even remember her name is a real tribute to the power of her book. But the title itself left even more of an impression: An Empty Spoon.

Sunny wrote about her real-life experiences teaching out of her comfort zone in an African-American school. While I don’t recall anything specific about her story, I do remember feeling so overwhelmed when I finished reading it that I picked up my Epiphone 12-string guitar and just started playing and singing. Once something started to gel, I just kept playing it over and over.

The words to this song came very quickly–as did the tune and the chord progression. Probably faster than any of my other songs.

I can’t look back now and relate the lyrics to Sunny Decker’s book, but I can and do think about how easily adults–perhaps especially those of us who’re supposedly more mature –think we have all the answers to life’s questions. If not that,  we’re apt to at least have strong opinions and recommendations about pitfalls to avoid.

Although our advice may be well thought out and legitimate, we’re often a bit too free offering it at times. And it may not be received as willingly as it is offered.

As Bob Dylan said so eloquently around that same time in American history, “The times they are a-changing.” So “An Empty Spoon” becomes an imaginary protest against those of us who fail to note the changes and think things ought to continue being done the same old way.

That’s apt to be true even regarding spiritual matters. While the truth of God’s love and His plan for salvation for each of his creatures through faith in Jesus Christ is unchanging, the world is filled with false religions. If we are to share our faith with others, we need to know how Christianity differs from the other faiths that are vying for young peoples’ attentions.

Even though we may speak the truth in love, we must make its relevance evident to those we’re sharing it with. Else we may be just like the person to whom the lyrics of “An Empty Spoon” are addressed.

If this post speaks to you, please share a comment.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

Posted in Behind the Times, Empty Spoon, Giving Advice, Lack of Understanding, Sunny Decker, Uncategorized, Wisdom | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Call Upon His Name

Why should life discourage you so?
Why despair when you’re feeling low?
Let the Lord be the strength of your heart.
Call upon His name, call on His name.

Let God be your shelter and your strength,
An ever-present help when life’s at its worst.
There’s no need to fear, though the world fall about you.
Calm down and know that He is still the Lord.

Troubles in this world never cease,
But the Lord wants to give you His peace.
Take heart; He has conquered the world.
Call upon His name, call on His name.

Do not worry about anything.
Pray instead about everything.
Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him
For His each and every answer.

Why should life discourage you so?
Why despair when you’re feeling low?
Let the Lord be the strength of your heart.
Call upon His name.

Troubles in this world never cease,
But the Lord wants to give you His peace.
Take heart; He has conquered the world.
Call upon His name, call on His name.

About this song:
I wrote this song many years ago–part of it, anyhow. The original first stanza is based on Psalm 46:1-2. . .”God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up, and the mountains crumble into the sea.” (Living Bible).

The original second stanza is adapted from Philippians 4:6. . .”Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.” (Living Bible)

In the original version of this song, then titled “Do Not Worry,” the two stanzas were reversed.

It always seemed too short, though. So, a few years ago, I started searching through the Bible for some related ideas. Finding enough appropriate Scriptures wasn’t a problem, but finding too many.

John 16:33 was perfect: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So was Psalm 73:26. . .”My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

So I took these Scriptures–perhaps several others–and mixed them up in my usual prayerful way and came up with the current version of this song.

It was interesting coming up with a tune for the refrain after having sung the old version of the song for so many years.

I might add that I was recently in a very down mood when I got in the car to go walking at the mall, but I started singing this song to myself while driving. By the time I got there, my mood had done a one-eighty. I felt great! I pray this song may do the same thing for you.

Please leave a comment.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

Posted in Despair, Discouragement, Do Not Worry, God's Provision, Hope, Thanks, Trust, Worry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Words

God’s words are like the rain and snow
That fall on dry, thirsty ground,
So seeds can be planted and crops be grown
To bring forth a plentiful yield.

The crops are ripe and ready to harvest,
But the workers are few.
Ask the Lord to send out more lab’rers
So nothing will be lost.

As the Word of God goes around the earth
And drenches dry, thirsty hearts,
It never comes back to Him again
Till it’s done all He wants it to do.

The crops are ripe and ready to harvest,
But the workers are few.
Ask the Lord to send out more lab’rers
So no one will be lost.

About This Song:

I admit it! With just over two hundred songs under my belt, I have no choice but to recycle my songs on this blog. I do try to update what I say about them, however, and today’s song is no exception.

Even though I posted this originally not quite one year ago, I’ve made a major revision–actually an addition–I want to share with you.

“God’s Words” as posted on September 13 last year was a rewrite of another song called “A Special Rain.”  It was also based on Isaiah 55:10-11…

10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
(NIV)

I haven’t changed the words this time, but I’ve added a refrain based on Luke 10:2…

He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.
(HCSB)

That was Jesus speaking to His disciples. He knew the evangelism of the whole world would require more than his twelve original disciples. So He told them to pray for additional workers.

I hope you noticed the one difference in the first refrain and the second one. Even though the first stanza makes the comparison of God’s Words with watering the earth, that stanza really emphasizes the farming aspects.  So the refrain for that stanza ends with…

So nothing will be lost.

The second stanza focuses on the effect of God’s Word going around the earth–the effect on the people who hear it. So that refrain ends with…

So no one will be lost.

I believe this song now seems more complete than before.

If I read the Scripture passages correctly, the fulfillment of God’s Word depends on His specific purpose, however. His purpose is often different from ours.

Nonetheless, my wife and I will continue to pray that God’s Words will eventually touch the hearts of some people who’re very close to us, people who don’t want to listen to us.

To see, print, or download a free PDF lead sheet of this song, go to the Lead Sheets tab on this blog.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Links you might be interested in:

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in God's Word(s), Rain, Snow, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working Behind the Scenes

I believe God’s working behind the scenes;
He’s helping me in ways I can’t see.
God understands all my problems;
He knows my best efforts are not enough to solve them.

I believe God’s working behind the scenes;
He’s retouching my faded hopes and dreams.
God always provides the things He knows I need.

I believe God’s holding me in His hands,
Assuring me I’m safe in His plans.
God banishes fear and confusion;
I know that His way is the only true solution.

I believe God’s working behind the scenes,
Drawing from His unlimited means.
God always provides the things He knows I need.

About this song:
In 2003 I was downsized from my work as a programmer/analyst after working almost nineteen years at a Christian organization. I wasn’t quite fifty-seven at the time–far too young to think of retiring.

At the same time, trying to keep up with the changes in Information Technology had worn me out so much I couldn’t conceive of continuing to work in that field.

I participated in several job search groups, but my favorite was a small group sponsored by a local Presbyterian church. It met weekly for breakfast at a Bob Evans restaurant. The fellowship among the men in the group was wonderful, and God inspired me to write this song and dedicate it to the group.

I might add as a P.S. that I ended up working  a while at home as a part-time administrative assistant for a management consultant. When she ran out of work even for herself, I started a three-year job on the register at Target.

During that time, I wrote my first novel and started attending Christian writer’s conferences. By the time I turned sixty-two, my wife agreed that writing was more important than working outside the home–and I was eligible for more Social Security than I’d been making at Target, anyhow.

So I look back on that whole time and see God’s hand leading me from stepping stone to stepping stone as I hopped across what at first had appeared to be an uncrossable river.

And that makes this song all the more personal to me.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Downsizing, God's Provision, Job Loss, Job Search, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is This the Church?

Look right through those stained glass windows.
Look beyond those heavy wooden doors.
Look above that towering steeple spire.
Is this the church or is there more?

Look behind the curtained baptistry.
Look beneath the pulpit furniture.
Look above the rows of organ pipes.
Is this the church or is there more?

Oh, the church isn’t found within.
No, the church isn’t bound within these four walls.

About this Song:
[Note: In the original version of this song, I used “beyond” in the first three lines of each stanza. I’ve since changed that to “through, beyond, above” and “behind, beneath, above” for greater variety. Take your pick.]

This song may not describe your church–it doesn’t describe mine, either–but I believe it’s a far too accurate portrait of many contemporary churches that get so caught up in the fancy trappings that they lose track of what’s really important: the lost people outside their doors. Lost people who may not feel welcome or comfortable in grandeur.

Especially if the membership is so focused on itself that it fails to look beyond and outside itself to meet the needs of outsiders, welcome them, and invite them to become insiders.

King David wanted to build the temple in Jerusalem as God’s earthly dwelling place, but the Lord said no. David’s history of violence made him an inappropriate choice. Instead, his son Solomon would be allowed to carry out David’s dream.

But that didn’t stop David from stockpiling materials for the work Solomon would carry out. Only the finest of materials would do. After all, this would be the House of God, and God deserved the best man was capable of doing.

Solomon took over this project when he became king, and the temple he built would make even the fanciest of today’s chuches look like ramshackle sheds in comparison.

God respected and blessed the temple and accepted it as his earthly dwelling place. He commanded his people to come there to make sacrifices for their sins. God truly inhabited Solomon’s Temple.

But did you notice one particular thing in the previous paragraph? Even today, we tend to refer to it as “Solomon’s temple.” Not God’s.

Is that the problem with today’s fancy churches? Have those congregations failed to place their buildings in God’s hands? And have they so badly dishonored Him by ignoring the people outside that He refuses to inhabit those buildings?

That’s something to think about. If you have something to add, please leave a comment.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

Posted in Church, Outreach, Solomon, Solomon's Temple | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment