Adding Up Fractions

Adding up fractions to total their sum
Requires finding their common denominator.
So growing a whole church from people like us
Takes our faith and our love and our common vision.

If you want to add two-fourths and five-tenths,
You cannot do it directly.
But if you look at both numbers as halves,
Their sum can be easily figured.

Adding up fractions to total their sum
Requires finding their common denominator.
So growing a whole church from people like us
Takes our faith and our love and our common vision.

The Lord wants to bond the “us-es” and “thems”
To form one sound church body,
By overlooking our differences
And using what we have in common.

Adding up fractions to total their sum
Requires finding their common denominator.
So growing a whole church from people like us
Takes our faith and our love and our common vision.

About This Song:
Some years ago I belonged to a church that was experiencing a severe lack of unity. The members were not of one accord, and I wasn’t sure God felt comfortable on either side. The spirit was fractured, and its ministries ineffective because of each side’s insistence on being “right.”

I wrote this song to encourage the members to seek those things we had in common: to find our lowest common denominator so God could add our mutual strengths together to form a perfect One. A unity He could use us for His purposes–whatever way He wanted to.

While my song may not have inspired the desired changes, the church eventually began to pull together. Better than before, anyhow. But can you imagine how much more effective this church might have become if the members had overlooked their fractiousness and put themselves fully into God’s hands to be made perfectly whole?

Note: In all fairness, I haven’t been involved in that church in recent years, so I cannot say that complete healing hasn’t taken place since then. Only that it hadn’t at the time I left.

<>

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 (not 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 Church, Fractions, God's plan, God's Will, Good Intentions, Unity | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let The Whole Earth Ring!

Let the whole earth ring
With a shout of great joy
To the Lord, the King of Kings!
We serve Him gladly and obey His commandments,
And we sing glad songs
When we enter His presence.

We come into His gates with thanksgiving
And enter His courts with praise;
We thank Him for who He is
And praise His holy name.

Let the whole earth ring
With a shout of great joy
To the Lord, the King of Kings!
We serve Him gladly and obey His commandments,
And we sing glad songs
When we enter His presence.

We know He’s our Creator;
We didn’t make ourselves.
We’re sheep, and He’s our Shepherd;
We’re servants; He’s our Lord.

Let the whole earth ring
With a shout of great joy
To the Lord, the King of Kings!
We serve Him gladly and obey His commandments,
And we sing glad songs
When we enter His presence.

The Lord has been so good to us;
His love has never failed.
We know His promises will keep coming true
In all the years to come.

Let the whole earth ring
With a shout of great joy
To the Lord, the King of Kings!
We serve Him gladly and obey His commandments,
And we sing glad songs
When we enter His presence.

About This song:
One Thanksgiving Day years ago, I sat on the floor of my living room surrounded by different translations of the Bible.

These are several of the translations I was using:

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2     Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
New International Version (NIV)

1 Sing to the Lord, all the world!
2 Worship the Lord with joy;
    come before him with happy songs!
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him;
    we are his people, we are his flock.
4 Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving;
    go into its courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise him.
5 The Lord is good;
    his love is eternal
    and his faithfulness lasts forever.
Good News Translation (GNT)

1 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3 Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Why was I so interested in Psalm 100 that day? Because it best expressed what Thanksgiving meant to me, and I felt inspired to turn those words into a new song, while remaining as true to the meaning of the Scripture as possible. Click here for a PDF lead-sheet.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you won’t be surprised that I did take a few liberties with the words. Did you notice the one major change I made? I switched what should have been the first and second stanzas. Although I may have had a reason for doing that, I couldn’t tell you what it was now.

I never let Thanksgiving pass without singing this song many times. And now that I’m involved in an almost-weekly nursing home ministry, the folks at the Ashland Convalescent Center can count on hearing me do it for them each year.

No matter where or when this Psalm is sung–or how the words are arranged–may the joy it expresses reflect your feelings of thanksgiving for the countless blessings God provides day in and day out.

What are you thankful for today? Please share 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 God's love, God's Provision, PDF, Praise, Psalm 100, Psalms, Thanksgiving, The Devil and Pastor Gus, Uncategorized, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All He Made Was Good

When God created the world,
He began a major project,
And when each phase was finished,
He saw that it was good.
Sometimes we face a task
That seems quite overwhelming.
Yet when we let God help us,
We see the end is good.

On the first day of creation,
God made the day and night,
On he second day of creation,
He made the sky above.
On the third day of creation,
He made the earth and sea.
And day by day He looked and saw
That all He’d made was good.

On the fourth day of creation,
God made the sun and moon.
On the fifth day of creation,
He made the birds and beasts.
On the sixth day of creation,
He made woman and man.
And day by day He looked and saw
That all He’d made was good.

When God created the world,
He began a major project,
And when each phase was finished,
He saw that it was good.
Sometimes we face a task
That seems quite overwhelming.
Yet when we let God help us,
We see the end is good.

About This Song:
How often have you been requested–or required–to do something that seemed totally impossible? I still remember demands like those that made me cringe in my own weakness. No matter how confident I felt about some of my abilities, I was weak in a number of others–including areas I should have been stronger in. Is it any wonder that assignments outside my comfort zone seemed IMPOSSIBLE?

Are you with me so far? Can you relate?

Now let’s think back three thousand years or so (many millions of years if your belief system can reconcile evolution and creationism), to the time God created the world and everything it contains.

The first question that comes to my mind is where God was and where He came from if nothing existed before Him. I can only assume that He lived (and still lives) in a dimension that’s not part of our normal human experience.

Hmm. That works for me, even though it doesn’t really answer the question.

And how did He plan something so intricate? Although I picture myself as a creative person, I can’t imagine designing the layout of the universe and determining the functionality of even the tiniest parts. Not to mention the relationships among them. I may detest flies and mosquitoes, but I don’t doubt they played a part in His Grand Design.

But what about the act of creation? How could anyone make something from nothing? Especially something as extensive as our universe? Did God use materials from His dimension? I can’t even guess at that one.

And to create life where none existed before? That took a degree of intelligence–or an ability that transcends intelligence–no human being will ever come close to matching.

The more I look at what God faced “in the beginning,” the tinier my seemingly impossible challenges seem. Especially since God doesn’t expect me to accomplish everything on my own. He’s standing close by, ready to help. All I have to do is ask.

He doesn’t expect me to do everything at once, either. He set the example for that. He took His time–whether in 24-hour days or some unit of time we humans are unfamiliar with–and carried out His plan in steps,  steps that were both logical and realistic for Him. Then He assessed His progress at the end of each step. He never had to back up and redo anything. He’d been careful all along, and He hadn’t made any mistakes.

Then at the end, He rested. Not because He was tired, I’ve been taught. But to set an example for mankind. Even the Energizer bunny runs down eventually, and God wants us to get enough rest to face the next project refreshed and ready to go.

Yes, I wish I could look at each of those major projects I’ve faced over the sixty-six years of my life and say that each of them was good, but they didn’t always turn out acceptably. I failed sometimes. Too often. Maybe I didn’t do the proper planning. Maybe I didn’t break my work down into the proper steps. Maybe I wasn’t sufficiently physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually rested.

Or maybe I just didn’t rely on God enough.

<>

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. RogerBruner.com 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 Creation, Creativeness, Energizer Bunny, Planning, Reliance, The Devil and Pastor Gus | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perfect Present

When you purchase presents for the people you love,
It’s fun to do because you know what they like.
But could you imagine if you had to choose the perfect gift
For a perfect stranger?

That’s what God did for me when He sent Christ to earth.
He gave me His love long years before I was born;
Yet He knew me better then than I know myself today.
He knew His love would be what I need now.

When I shake the hands of the people I meet,
I can’t imagine just who they really are.
Yet God sees within their hearts and knows what each one needs;
He longs to love them through me.
Yes, God longs to give them His love through me.

About this Song:
Even though we sometimes complain about people who’re hard to buy for,  most of the folks on our gift-giving lists aren’t that bad. Especially if we’ve known them for years. We’re familiar with their tastes…their interests. . .their preferences.

Hmm. But what about those office gift drawings?

That’s almost like buying for a perfect stranger. Sure, those drawings frequently include a request from the recipient-to-be, but they can still be a challenge. Especially if the requested item doesn’t make sense or isn’t easily found.

God has a unique perspective on giving mankind the truly perfect gift, though. That’s because He knew each of us from the beginning of time. He knew who we would be and what we would need the most.

He knew we would inherit sin and death because Adam and Eve were going to use their free will to sin. He wanted us to have something better. Life. Real life.

So He gave us the Perfect Present by sending Christ to earth not only to show us how to live righteously, but to set us free. How could a present be more perfect than that?

But His giving didn’t end with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As crazy as it might sound, He also gives each of us the freedom to reject that first gift. But if we accept it–a meaningful earthly life and the assurance of eternal life in Heaven–we also accept His desire for us to share His gift with others.

Many of them will be strangers. Or people we don’t know overly well.

We may not know what near-strangers think they want, but God knows who they are. He knows their real needs. He knows how desperately they need His love.

So when we share His love with them, we’re offering a pre-approved gift. A gift He has pre-approved, that is, and that makes it a Perfect Present.

Have you accepted God’s Perfect Present? Does sharing it with others come naturally? 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 Eternity, Gifts, God's love, Perfect Present, Presents, Sharing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not My Will But Yours, Lord

Not my will, but Yours, Lord,
Not my will, but Yours.
Help me want what You want,
When I call on You.

Help me pray like Jesus In Gethsemane.
Not my will, but Yours, Lord;
Not my will, but Yours.

Sometimes when I pray, Lord,
Sometimes when I pray,
I ask things I shouldn’t,
And You answer, “No.”

Help me pray like Jesus In Gethsemane.
Not my will, but Yours, Lord;
Not my will, but Yours.

Often when I pray, Lord,
Often when I pray,
I seek quick solutions,
But You tell me, “Wait.”

Help me pray like Jesus In Gethsemane.
Not my will, but Yours, Lord;
Not my will, but Yours.

I don’t always pray, Lord.
I don’t always pray
Till I find a door locked;
Then I cry to You.

Help me pray like Jesus In Gethsemane.
Not my will, but Yours, Lord;
Not my will, but Yours.

About This Song:
In Jan Karon’s Mitford series, she talks about the prayer God always answers: “Not my will, but Yours.”

That’s the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. He had just asked God to spare Him from the physical, emotional, and spiritual agony He was about to undergo. Yet He recognized that His death was a key part of God the Father’s plan to redeem mankind. So in praying “Not my will, but Yours,” He was acknowledging that He not simply accepted what was coming, but that He wanted it because God Himself wanted it.

Amazing.

It’s easy enough to tell God how we think He ought to answer specific prayers requests. But we lack a God’s-eye-view of the situation. We don’t know His plans. His intentions.

I believe God wants us to be specific in our prayers, however. But once we’ve asked for what we want or think best, we ought to conclude by praying for God’s will to be done, regardless of our personal preferences. And we need to mean it.

I think Jan Karon is right. Whenever we want what God wants, He’ll honor our prayers. Not necessarily doing things our way, but providing answers that best suit His plan for our lives. Could we ask for anything better than that?

Is prayer a normal part of your life? How about sharing a comment about what prayer means to you?

<>

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 Jan Karon, Mitford series, Praying like Jesus | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Till I Place My Life in His Hands

Christ went to a wedding,
And when the wine was used up,
Nobody else knew just what to do.
He asked that six large stone jars
Be filled up with plain water;
When they tasted it,
The water had turned to finest wine.

He turned ordinary water into extraordinary wine;
Nothing is too commonplace for God to use.
I can never know what kind of wine He’ll make from me
Till I place my life in His hands.

Jesus had been preaching,
And the crowds were getting hungry.
Only five loaves and two small fish could be found.
He took that food and blessed it,
And thousands ate their fill.
Twelve baskets full of crumbs were left when they were done.

He turned meager bread and fish into a feast to feed a crowd.
Nothing is too everyday for God to use.
I can never tell what type of feast He’ll use me for
Till I place my life in His hands.

About This Song:
Ron Crawford, my pastor at the time, preached a sermon one Sunday based on John 2:1-10:

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so,
and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

Then he preached on Mark 6:35-44 the next Sunday:

35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
They said to him, “That would take more than half a year’s wages[a]! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
38 “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.”
39 Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. 41 Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. 42 They all ate and were satisfied, 43 and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. 44 The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.
(NIV)

Both sermons had to do with God’s ability to use the plainest, simplest, most seemingly unusable materials to perform the most extraordinary miracles.

While turning water into the finest wine and creating a feast to feed thousands from a little boy’s lunch are major miracles, the fact that God not only wants to make us His children but allow us to participate in the family business–reaching out to others and loving them in our Father’s name–is pretty amazing, too.

None of us is up to carrying out our assignment as Christians on our own. We all need God’s help to become the people He wants us to be. But that kind of help is readily available. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Viewed from a different perspective, “God doesn’t call the enabled. He enables the called.” And each of us is called. The question is whether we’ll respond to the call and allow Him to enable us. He isn’t going to assign the same tasks and talents to each of us, but He’ll give us what we need to do our part in advancing His Kingdom on earth.

What do you think? Will you allow God to turn you into something miraculously useful in spite of your weaknesses? That should be the prayer of all of God’s children.

Comments are welcome.

<>

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 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Bread, Compliance, Feast, Fish, God's plan, Ron Crawford, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Younger Son

There was a man who had two sons,
And the younger one said to him,
“Give me the portion of wealth which will be mine,
So I may enjoy life while I am young.”

Then he packed his bags and headed off,
Wasting his whole wealth in every wicked way.
When there was nothing left, he lived by feeding hogs
And gladly would have eaten what they left behind.

Then he thought about his father and his home,
And he repented of all the wrongs he’d done.
So he packed his bags and headed home, a servant hoped to be.
But his father was so forgiving he restored him as his own son.

About this Song:
If you’re familiar with the New Testament, you undoubtedly recognize this song as Jesus’ parable of “The Prodigal Son.” Although He tells the story much better than I can, I’ve done my best to boil the basics down into something more succinct than in any of my other songs. I hope it captures the essence of what Jesus was teaching: We can never sin so badly that God won’t forgive us or welcome us home again–just as a human father would welcome back a wayward child–if we return to Him seeking forgiveness.

I’ve heard sermons that claim this parable is actually about the older brother–the son who stayed home and didn’t stray–but I don’t agree. I think the older brother was jealous of his younger brother from start to finish. After all, unless I’m mistaken about how things worked in biblical times, the younger brother wasn’t entitled to any of his father’s money anyhow; it should all have become the older brother’s at the death of their father. So the younger son was–in effect–stealing from his brother.

Judging by the way the older son reacted to his father’s celebration over his  brother’s return, he was still jealous.  And unforgiving.

So I still believe the parable is all about God’s love and forgiveness.

Sin is anything that separates us from God. So–as the Scriptures state so clearly–“All we like sheep have turned away” and “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Nobody is good enough to be friends with God. Not without faith in Jesus as God’s son and repentance of our sins.

As Jesus made so clear in this parable, God is waiting for you, ready to forgive. Don’t put it off if you haven’t already made that commitment.

 <>

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 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Family Christian Stores. Go HERE for links to those places.
SmallGusCover
Best regards,
Roger

Posted in Forgiveness, Forgiving Father, Jealous Brother, Prodigal Son | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment