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

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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

Brag on Him!

Let those who are wise
Not boast about their wisdom.
Let those who are strong
Not brag about their strength.
Let those who are wealthy
Not boast about their riches.
But let all those who know the Lord
Brag on Him!

Let those who know the Lord
Boast about His goodness!
Let those who know the Lord
Brag about His righteousness.
He is the King of Kindness;
He is the Lord of Love,
And He delights in those who
Brag on Him!

About this Song:
I don’t think I’ve ever posted the lyrics of a song I haven’t quite finished writing, although I believe the lyrics are pretty much set in stone. So today is a first.

A couple of Sundays ago, Travis Rector, the drummer on our church praise team, shared this Scripture from Jeremiah 9:23-24:

23 Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, [a]judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

I’m not a boaster. If I have any strength or any wisdom, it’s not mine to boast about. And riches? My wife and I live comfortably, but not luxuriously.

Nonetheless, that Scripture really spoke to me. As good as God is in every way–when has He ever withheld His blessings from me?–shouldn’t I be boasting about Him whenever and wherever I can?

I pray that this Scripture and the song itself will inspire me to do just that.

What about you? Are you so conscious of God’s love and provision that you like to brag on Him? 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

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

Posted in Boast, Brag, Jeremiah | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greater Than All

Your questions fall like a hard rain,
And your problems rush like a flood.
Your faith is stuck in the mud of despair,
And your sunshine is tainted with clouds.

But remember that Somebody loves you,
Someone Who has lived here before,
Someone Who is greater than questions and doubts,
Someone Who is greater than all.

The mountains you want to conquer
Are taller than you think you can climb,
And the valley you’re walking through right now
Seems to keep leading you down.

But remember that Somebody loves you,
Someone Who has lived here before,
Someone Who is greater than mountains and depths,
Someone Who is greater than all,
Greater than all.

About this Song:
This is one of two songs I wrote on a visit to my (then) in-laws in 1979.

My former brother-in-law was a teen then, and he was experiencing some significant problems. I’m not sure I even knew what they were, but that didn’t matter. I felt compelled to write this song of assurance for him.

The first stanza follows a logical progression: from rain to flood to mud. And even the clouds (where else would the rain come from?) enhance the symbolism of the problems being addressed. The refrain, which differs slightly from stanza to stanza, echoes the ideas expressed in the stanza it follows.

The second stanza uses a contrast rather than a logical progression: mountains and valleys. People often use mountains to symbolize a goal or something desirable. Think about mountaintop experiences.

But I’ll bet our American forefathers didn’t view the mountains that blocked their westward travel as anything but problems to overcome.

And even though valleys symbolize peacefulness, normal life, or even home, I suspect that our forefathers felt quite differently when looking upward at the next mountain from the depths of the current valley.

And that’s the way I imagined my brother-in-law felt as he faced his seemingly insurmountable problems at that time.

One thing I’ve always found interesting about this song is the fact that the “Someone Who…” clearly means Jesus, even though the song never references Him by name. But that’s okay. This song was written for a Christian who understood that.

My former mother-in-law surprised me by making a printing plate of some kind from a copy of this song. I no longer know exactly what a plate like that would have been used for, but she’d framed it, and it still has a place of honor on my music room wall.

Please leave a comment if this song has spoken to you.

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.

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 Assurance, Faith, Greatness, Mountains, Mud, Problems, Questions, Rain, Valleys | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s My Soul Worth to You, Christian?

What’s my soul worth to you, Christian?
Is it worth your time of day to speak to me some words of love and faith–
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

What’s my soul worth to you, Christian?
Is it worth some act of love to show me you believe in God above?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

Is my soul worth the chance that I won’t ridicule you?
Is my soul worth the chance that I will listen to you?
Is my soul worth the chance that God will speak through you?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

What’s my soul worth to you, Christian?
Is it worth a life that shows in every way the joy of God you know?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

Is my soul worth the chance that I won’t ridicule you?
Is my soul worth the chance that I will listen to you?
Is my soul worth the chance that God will speak through you?
Before I go my way, before you go your way?

About this Song:
This song, written during the early 1970s, is addressed to the Christian who’s hiding his witness under a basket.

It’s a strong appeal from someone  so hungry for the Gospel that he’s willing to  challenge the Christian who–for whatever reason–fails to share God’s Good News with him. This non-Christian is specific in asking why the Christian won’t share:

  • words of love and faith
  • an act of love
  • a life that shows the joy of knowing God.

I can’t speak for other Christians, but even now, forty-some years after writing this song, the lyrics still condemn me for my hesitation to “intrude” into the lives of others with the message of hope they might be desperately in need of–and perhaps even hungry to listen to. I’m great at making up excuses for keeping Jesus to myself.

  • I may not stutter like Moses, but I’m much better at expressing myself in writing than I am verbally. While I do share my faith in my novels, my songs, and my other writing,  does that excuse me from speaking when the time is right?
  • I may not have riches to share with those in need, but I have more than I need. What’s my excuse for not giving what I have?
  • And if my life is as full of joy in Christ as I believe it is, what’s my excuse for not living more joyfully? Can’t I at least make my joy obvious in making positive contacts with other people?

After traveling to various parts of the world on short-term mission trips and meeting a variety of people who live in vastly different cultures and circumstances, I believe more strongly than ever that every person on this earth needs salvation–for the assurance of eternal life in heaven and the assurance of a more meaningful life here on earth–through faith in Jesus Christ.

Of all the songs I wish I’d been the one to write,“People Need the Lord” heads my list.

Who’s going to tell those people if we Christians don’t?

I’m not responsible for other Christians, though. I’m only responsible for myself.

What do you think? 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.

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 Good News, Hope, Non-Christians, Sharing, Sharing God's Love, Soul, Witnessing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning to Touch Lives

When I meet someone for the first time
And I shake that person’s hand,
I touch his life in a physical way
That says, “I know you’re there.”

But my prayer is to learn to listen
To just what he thinks and how he feels–
So I may learn to touch his life
In a way that says, “I care.”

About this Song:
Shaking hands is the most common way for men in our society–often women, too–to greet one another. Especially the first time they meet.

A handshake is a formal greeting, though. Nothing at all like a hug or a peck on the cheek. Those are greetings we reserve for people we know well and care about.

Nonetheless, a handshake allows one person to acknowledge the existence of another one–and the second person to return the acknowledgement. But it’s a purely physical greeting.

No emotional involvement is at risk. A handshake doesn’t mean that one person cares about the other. Learning to care–especially to care deeply–is apt to take many  contacts beyond the initial one.

If we listen to what people tell us–especially on an ongoing basis–they will discover that we care. Then they’ll be more willing to open up to us and permit us to minister to them in ways we couldn’t do otherwise. It’s one method of giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name.

Jesus told us that what we do for others we are doing for Him.

But the hard part is being quiet and listening. All too often, we want to be the ones sharing our problems with others. How much more effective we are as Christians when we close our mouths and open our ears–and our hearts.

Your comments are welcome.

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.

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 Caring, Cup of Cold Water, Greeting, Handshake, Listening, Meeting, Touching Lives, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As God’s Love Leads

Wherever there is need,
That’s where I long to go,
With feet that move in Jesus’ name,
So the love of God will show.

Wherever there are problems,
That’s where I long to be,
With hands that work in Jesus’ name,
So God’s love will show through me.

Wherever there are problems,
Where there is need,
As hands and feet of Jesus Christ,
Let me go as God’s love leads.
Let me do as God’s love leads.
Let me serve as God’s love leads.

About This Song:
I wrote this song originally for the men of the First Baptist Church of Easton, Maryland. That was more than thirty years ago.

The men of our church, Winn’s Baptist, are forming a group–Winn’s Men–and I thought the words of “Wherever There Is Need” would be appropriate. But I felt a little funny about offering them a song that had already been dedicated to a different set of men.

As I pondered that issue, I realized that the words were too appropriate to fail to use. But what I could do–and what I did–was to compose a completely new tune…and to change the title. And, of course, the dedication.

~*~

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 reminds us that the Church–the Body of Christ–is made up of many people performing many different roles, each of which is necessary and important.

I don’t consider myself very multi-talented. There are a number of roles both at church and “in the world” that I’m not qualified to fill. But I can care and pray about people’s needs.

And, yes, some needs are things I can actually help to meet. On a daily basis, I pray for God to lead me to be a blessing to somebody else. Not just with my writing and my music, but in whatever way He desires.

What could be more important than to be Jesus’s hands and feet as I go about my daily walk? And to provide that “cup of cold water” Jesus talked about in Mark 9:41:

And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of My name,[a] since you belong to the Messiah—I assure you: He will never lose his reward.” (HCSB)

Have you had an opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet today? Or perhaps someone has been Jesus’ hands and feet 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.

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 Cold water, Cup of Cold Water, Feet, Hands, Ministering, Problems, Service, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment