Don’t Try to Walk on the Water

Don’t try to walk on the water
Till you walk by faith on land.

Don’t try to move any mountains
Till you move by God’s heartbeat.

Don’t try to preach any sermons
Till your life tells God’s whole truth.

Don’t try to love everybody
Till you know who lives next door.

About This Song:
What Christian wouldn’t love to have the influence of somebody like Billy Graham? But that’s not the goal God has set for anyone but Dr. Graham himself.

No matter how simple this song may appear, don’t let its truth escape you: How can we attempt to accomplish big things for God until we’ve conquered some of the seemingly smaller ones?

Walking by faith, moving in coordination with God’s leading (“by God’s heartbeat”), living a life that gives an accurate portrait of our merciful God, and learning to love the people we already know–these are all major goals to strive for.

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Preaching, Love, Walking with Jesus, Water, Sermons, Mountains, The Devil and Pastor Gus | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’ll Keep on Praising the Lord

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I have a sound roof over my head;
I have a loving family around me.
I have food upon my table
And clothes upon my back.

But even if I lose those blessings,
I will not complain.
I’ll just keep on praising the Lord
For being so good.

My bills are paid; my credit is quite good,
And I live in peace with my neighbors.
I have friends who’ll come a-runnin’
To help in times of need.

But even if I lose those blessings,
I will not complain.
I’ll just keep on praising the Lord
For being so good.

I thrive on smiles and words of good cheer;
My hopes and dreams keep me looking forward.
My creativeness fulfills me
And keeps my mind alert.

But even if I lose those blessings,
I will not complain.
I’ll just keep on praising the Lord
For being so good.

About This Song:
This is one of my more recent songs. I began writing it while undergoing some health problems that had the potential to be worse than they turned out to be. They interfered with my sleep for a number of nights, however, and I started working on the words during a time of sleeplessness.

I didn’t get out of bed to do it, though. So I had to memorize my progress so I could return to it the next night. I should’ve written the words down when I got up the next morning, of course, but I honestly didn’t feel up to it.

Eventually a tune started coming into my head. God graciously brought it back to me each night. Interestingly, though, I made a few major changes once I felt up to entering it in Personal Composer, the software I use to transcribe my songs.

One change will always amuse me. The first four notes used to be G-C-D-E rather than C-C-D-E. If you play those notes on your instrument of choice, you’ll recognize the original version as the beginning of “How Dry I Am”! Not exactly what I want to associate with this song. A more practical reason for starting on C instead of G is the fact G was a bit low for my voice–at least for starting each stanza.

The last couple of songs I’d written came pretty easily, but the rest of the lyrics for this one–I’d only “dreamed up” some of them during my times of sleeplessness–gave me fits. The basic idea was clear, though. “No matter what God has blessed me with, I’ll continue to praise Him–even if He takes some of those blessings away or allows them to be taken.”

So I wanted to include as wide a variety of blessings as I could. Several times I thought about the old hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” Mine are definitely too numerous to count. Or to list in this song.

I started with the most basic–the ones most people have: shelter, food, clothes, family. Then I moved on to money and credit,  my relationship with neighbors, and friends I could depend on.

The third stanza was the most challenging, however. I wanted to limit my references to blessings I currently had, and I was none too sure about my health at that time. So I finally omitted references to health.

I already had “hopes and dreams,” but what did I want to say about them? I thought I had my answer with “perking” or “rolling.” But I decided hopes and dreams play a major role in not living in the past.

I also had “creativeness” left over. I wanted to use “creativity,” but it had one syllable too many to fit the tune. I just about wore out my thesaurus before coming up with “fulfill.”

I still had a hole in the third stanza, though. Then I thought about how much I love to receive smiles and words of encouragement from others–and to give them. So that stanza finally came to completion.

What about you? If you were to lose some of all of the blessings the Lord has given you, would you still be able to praise Him? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (including today’s), go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Blessings, Complaining, God's goodness, Praise, The Devil and Pastor Gus | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Lone Angel

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In these days of great darkness,
The righteous are not spared.
Though they’re on mission for their God,
The dangers are quite real.
Sometimes the Lord assures them
That He’s still in control
By sending one lone angel forth
To lead them through the storm.

‘Twas in the midst of chaos,
A bullet struck her head;
Unconscious for a moment,
She lay still upon the ground.
Her husband rushed to help her;
The bleeding would not stop.
A friend helped get her to the car,
Their passports left behind.

A man stepped through the chaos,
A stranger to them all.
He knew this lady would die soon;
Her life was in his hands.
He led them to the clinic
By many twists and turns.
The precious moments that he saved
Helped get her there in time.

The doctor said the bullet
Had passed right through her head,
And it had done no damage,
Though it glanced against her skull.
He said, “You are hard-headed.”
She laughed. “Like those I love.”
While friend and stranger went back for
The passports left behind.

When their friend turned to thank him,
The stranger was not there;
Though this was in an open place
With no place he could go.
They said, “We’ve seen an angel
Sent by the Lord today:
He’s come here just to help us
And remind us of His care.”

In these days of great darkness,
The righteous are not spared.
Though they’re on mission for their God,
The dangers are quite real.
Sometimes the Lord assures them
That He’s still in control
By sending one lone angel forth
To lead them through the storm.

About This Song:
Around Christmas we’re apt to think about angels. The Bible usually portrays them as messengers. For example, an angel told Mary she would become the mother of Jesus. An angel told Joseph not to reject Mary for her pregnancy because God was the father. Angels announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

But angels in the Bible aren’t limited to Christmas. Neither are they limited to being messengers, as we see in this song.

I based this song on a news article written by Robert O’Brien and published by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) a number of years ago. It’s an accurate rendering of Robert’s article. The incident took place during fighting in Albania, where Burt and Debbie Ayers served as CBF missionaries.

The “friend” who helped Burt was an unnamed Mennonite missionary. The stranger who saved Debbie’s life was–who knows?

Not everyone believes in angels. But it’s difficult–in my case, impossible–to read this story or consider the words of the song and deny that something quite supernatural occurred that day. If you don’t believe it was an angel, please share your explanation in a comment. The Ayers don’t have one.

~*~

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (including today’s), go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Albania, Angels, CBF, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Friend, Missionary, Stranger | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s True Children

Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
All who believe.

Who will believe in God’s Son,
Who will believe in God’s Son,
Who will believe in God’s Son,
Unless they have heard?

Who will hear of God’s love,
Who will hear of God’s love,
Who will hear of God’s love,
Unless they are told?

Who will tell them God’s good news,
Who will tell them God’s good news,
Who will tell them God’s good news,
Unless somebody goes?

Who will go to tell them,
Who will go to tell them,
Who will go to tell them,
Unless someone is sent?

Who will send out tellers,
Who will send out tellers,
Who will send out tellers,
Unless somebody cares?

Who cares enough to send them,
Who cares enough to send them,
Who cares enough to send them,
But true children of God?

Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
Who are God’s true children?
All who believe.

About this Song:
God’s True Children” is what I would describe as a circular song. You’ll notice the progression as one word in each stanza ties it to the next stanza. Then that stanza introduces a word that will be referred to in the following stanza. And so forth, until the song returns to where it started: “Who are God’s true children?” in a slightly different context.

Although this song is based loosely on Romans 10:13-15, which I’ve included below, I wouldn’t have been foolish enough to try to “improve on” the Bible. I did, however, make an effort to fill in between the lines and give this idea a slightly different spin.

Romans 10:13-15
13 for every one — whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved.’
14 How then shall they call upon [him] in whom they did not believe? and how shall they believe [on him] of whom they did not hear? and how shall they hear apart from one preaching?
15 and how shall they preach, if they may not be sent? according as it hath been written, `How beautiful the feet of those proclaiming good tidings of peace, of those proclaiming good tidings of the good things!’
Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

I dedicated this song to Dr. and Mrs. Keith Parks. Dr. Parks, then the president of the International Mission Board, gave a chapel message that inspired me to use this Scripture.

~*~

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them, go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Dr. Keith Parks, Sharing God's Love, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All Around the World

When You ask who’ll go,
Will we turn away?
Or will we exclaim,
“Here we are; send us!”?

Send us out, O Lord,
Into all the earth;
Let us tell the news
Of your saving power.

When You ask who’ll go,
Will we turn away?
Or will we exclaim,
“Here we are; send us!”?

Let us share Your Plan
With each tribe & tongue.
Send us out, O Lord,
All around the world.

When You ask who’ll go,
Will we turn away?
Or will we exclaim,
“Here we are; send us!”?

About This Song:
This song comes in part from Isaiah 6:8…

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
New International Version

The rest comes from Psalm 67:2…

Send us around the world with the news of your saving power and your eternal plan for all mankind.
Living Bible

Growing up the only child of a dedicated Christian minister, I saw firsthand many of the problems preachers have to deal with day in and day out: prejudice, insufficient finances, substandard housing, contentious church members, broken promises, resistance to change.  Plus every flavor of sin. Compiling an adequate list would take a lifetime, and even then it would still be incomplete.

Is it any wonder, then, that I prayed for God NOT to call me into a full-time Christian vocation? Picking up roadside litter would have seemed preferable to serving as a preacher or a missionary.

I’ve been familiar with Isaiah 6:8 my whole life, I imagine. But I didn’t have Isaiah’s spirit of servant-hood and obedience. Not in my early years as a Christian. Developing even a little bit of that attitude took years. Many of them. I can’t say they were “wasted,” though. I believe God used that time to grow me in certain areas that would better qualify me to “go.”

At the same time, though, I’ve always had a heart for missions. Just not missions done by me. Working in Information Technology at the International Mission Board gave me a special thrill because of the way it allowed me to participate actively in missions behind the scenes. Without having to go.

And then I heard about an available, two-week mission trip to Australia. Who wouldn’t want to go to Australia? But on a mission trip. Hmm. Was this my call to go? The one I’d never wanted to hear before?

The answer was yes, and that trip changed my life. I fell in love with short-term mission trips. They’ve been mostly hard work–definitely not vacations.

I was dying to go back to Australia, and I had another opportunity. But it didn’t feel right that time. Did God have something else in mind? I learned of a mission trip to England. England? Hmm. Not exciting. But was I willing to give up Australia if that’s what God had in mind?

Apparently so.

I’ve always felt that forgetting about where I wanted to go and going where I felt I should go constituted my ultimate “Here am I. Send me.”

Are you ready to go where God directs you? Or will you hesitate? Will you hem and haw and make excuses? Or will you take one step forward and say, “Send me”?

How about sharing a comment?

~*~

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them (including today’s), go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Growth, International Mission Board, Isaiah, Loyalty, Missionary, Missions, Obedience, The Devil and Pastor Gus, Uncategorized, World | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As We Go Through the World

As we go through the world,
We go to share the Word of God,
So that all may hear
And have a chance to believe.

For how can they believe
Unless they’ve a chance to hear,
And how else can they hear
Unless somebody goes?

But we are all going somewhere,
And God’s Word says to share as we go.
So as we go through the world,
We go to share the Word of God.
As we go through the world,
We go to share.

About This Song:
The message of this song is both similar to and quite different from another of my songs, “All Around the World.” But whereas the latter talks about being willing to go somewhere else to spread God’s Good News, “As We Go Through the World” emphasizes the fact that we’re all on the go. Perhaps only locally. Still, we run into spiritually needy people throughout our lives–even if God never “sends” us anywhere as such.

We have the Good News. It’s up to us to share it wherever we are.

Much of the inspiration for this song comes from what my pastor father used to say about Jesus’ Great Commission, which is found in Matthew 28:19-20:

19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(NIV)

My father pointed out that in the original language, Jesus really said, “As you go…”

But this song also has a bit of Acts 1:8 mixed in:

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
(NIV)

That verse doesn’t say Christians will all go elsewhere. It doesn’t even say that when they go they’re doing it for mission purposes. It DOES say that Christians–this verse is about the very early Christians, but isn’t limited to them–will share the Good News wherever they do go. I think of “Jerusalem” as my home city (perhaps even just my neighborhood), “Judea and Samaria” as other cities or states, and, well, I guess “ends of he earth” is obvious.

And, finally, this song also contains a bit of Romans 10:14:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
(NIV)

If you’re a Christian, are you sharing God’s love wherever you are? It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or an intimidating process. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel always. If necessary, use words.”

~*~

I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them, go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Going, Good News, Jerusalem, Samaria, Sharing, Sharing God's Love, Witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Too Used to the Dark

We’re getting too used to the dark;
We have been learning to live in the night.
We have forgotten how the world looks in the light.

We are getting too used to the surface;
Forgetting that there’s an underneath.
We have been drowning ourselves in the well of our unbelief.

We have forgotten the meaning of goodness.
We have forgotten what is meant by right.
We have given up believing that believing in God
Will carry us out of the dark world of our night.

About This Song:
If you see rhymes in one of my songs, it’s apt to be one of the older ones. In this case, it dates back to 1972.

M. Brent Coleman, my pastor during my first few post-college years, gave a great sermon illustration one Sunday. An illustration that jumped out, grabbed my attention, and refused to let go. A song waiting to be written.

He talked about walking into an oppressively dark restaurant. He could tell how dark it was because of his inability to see well when he first went inside. That was because of the contrast; he had just been outside enjoying the daylight. So the difference between outside and inside was as unmistakable as, uh, day and night.

The longer he stayed inside, though, the less conscious he was of the darkness. Of its being so objectionable. He grew used to it. More accepting of it. More comfortable about being there, no matter how uneasy he’d felt at first.

When we’re walking with God in His Way, we walk in His light. A light like no other. We’re “outdoors” in a special kind of way. There’s no stumbling when we’re walking close behind Him.

But when something tempts us enough that we go off on our own sinful way, we move from the safety of His light to the dangers of darkness. At first we realize we’ve strayed–our consciences are apt to bother us–but the longer we remain in the darkness of that “restaurant of sin,” the more comfortable we feel. And the less we worry about the pitfalls we may encounter.

A Child of God must be constantly on the alert. We can’t avoid temptations–even Jesus was tempted–but we can and must resist them. And remain in the safety of God’s Light.

What do you think? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

 I’ll be back again next Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

I have free lead sheets (chords, notes, & words) for many of my songs. To see which ones and print or download any of them, go HERE.

“As I Come Singing” isn’t my only blog. Go HERE to visit “On Aging Gracelessly.”

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

 

Posted in Brent Coleman, Darkness, Light, Sin, Temptation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment