A Witness Between Us

Sing to the Lord; let’s make up a new song.
Sing to the Lord; let’s make up a new song.
Sing to the Lord; let’s make up a new song
As a witness between us that He is our God.

Sing of His love and sing of His goodness. . .
As a witness between us that He is our God.

Sing of His mercy and His forgiveness. . .
As a witness between us that He is our God.

Sing a new song to the Lord;
Sing of His infinite greatness.

Sing of His power and sing of His presence. . .
As a witness between us that He is our God.

Sing of his truth and sing of His wisdom. . .
As a witness between us that He is our God.

Sing a new song to the Lord;
Sing of His infinite greatness.

Sing to the Lord; let’s make up a new song. . .
As a witness between us that He is our God.

About This Song:
What Christians sing is a witness to others about what they believe. And sometimes that involves the writing of a new song. To be God-honoring, it doesn’t need to have professional potential or adhere to the rules of good musical composition. It just needs to be sincere–from the heart.

I purposely made this song somewhat repetitious–so people could sing along with it more easily. And to make it easier for me to remember the words.

The basic idea comes from Psalm 98:1. . .
Sing to God a brand-new song.
He’s made a world of wonders!
He rolled up his sleeves,

He set things right.
(MSG)

and Joshua 22:34. . .
Reuben and Gad named the altar:
A Witness Between Us.
God Alone Is God.
(MSG)

The rest of the lyrics come from various Psalms and name many of God’s attributes. If you can think of any  I should consider adding–at least as optional stanzas–please let me know by leaving a comment.

This song seemed complete for a number of years. But then a new idea came to mind–something I felt the need to add: the little bridge that goes, “Sing a new song to the Lord; Sing of His infinite greatness.”

I don’t know about other people, but I enjoy singing this song more with the addition of the bridge, even though–unlike a refrain–it only appears twice in the song.

Why not let this song be your witness today? Go here and select it from the Tascam dropdown box. Or if you’re a musician, get the lead sheet here.

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 God's Attributes, God's goodness, God's love, Joshua, Psalms, Singing, Songs, Witness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Goodbye Song (w/Monologues Nine and Ten)

[from the 1974 pop Christian musical, Song of Plenty]

Monologue Nine:

GIRL (continuing letter). . .

My life was at a crossroads. A silly rhyme I once heard somewhere popped into my head:

A turtle passed me as I was walkin’ down life’s road.
I was really quite surprised ’cause, man, he was goin’ so slow.
But he was goin’ straight and I was movin’ from side to side.
When he got there first, I just fell down and broke my pride.

I smiled then–all over–for I realized just how much God had already changed me. My new friends were special to have shared their love so freely; I could never thank them for that. But I knew I would have to thank them by saying goodbye, and that was hard.

Song:

Goodbye, brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Faith declares us winners in a race that’s not yet done.
Distance doesn’t matter, but how and why we run.
God’s the one we look to; He’s the one our eyes are on.

His one way leads in separate ways through many different phases:
Through different paths and through different mazes to many different places.
Pray we may be faithful, that we won’t be misled.
God help us not look right or left, but only straight ahead.

We’ll unite with God in heaven as on earth we’ve all been one;
Let our greatest blessing be His softest said “Well done!”

Monologue Ten:

GIRL (concluding letter). . .

I knew something else: if I couldn’t even thank my friends, then the most impossible thing of all would be to try to thank God adequately for His love.

Mom and Dad, I’ve let God change and renew my life, and He told me to begin thanking Him by coming home to you.

(The sound of several knocks on the door.)

About this Song:

The apostle Paul had a lot to say about running races and keeping our eyes upon the prize.

 

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Galatians 2:2
I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
 
Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

Those idea are reflected in the first stanza of this song.

The second stanza is a reminder that God’s children aren’t all alike. We have various interests and talents. But if we keep our eyes on God and use our talents in the way we feel God leading us to do, we are still part of that great race we call Life.

I don’t know about you, but my greatest desire is to enter heaven–that part is  assured because of my faith in Jesus–and hear God saying, “Well done.” And not because I could ever be good enough to earn His love and approval, but because He knows I’ve done my best to keep my eyes on Him. Not perfectly, but always desiring to do better.

And so ends the Christian musical, Song of Plenty. I hope it’s given you something to think and meditate about. Audio files of the songs from one of the musical’s three public performances are now available at my website. Look for the appropriate drop-down box in the center of the page.

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

Best regards,
Roger

                

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Image of God (w/Monologue Eight)

[from the 1974 Christian pop musical, Song of Plenty]

Monologue Eight:

GIRL (continuing letter). . .

We were all one in love. Then the speaker looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’re on the up-road now. But you’re only human, just like the rest of us. You’re going to need God’s renewal of your life many times daily to put this new-found love into practice. God’s love can’t be just a feeling.

Song:

I bear an image of God,
Though it gets broken many times each day.
When the fire in me dies down, the image shatters,
And I need to be remade.

Every time God looks at me and cannot see Himself,
He sadly smiles a smile so warm it melts my heart.
In the heat of love I’m melted–
Healed, made new, made fresh, made perfect–
In the perfect image of my God.

I bear an image of God,
Though it needs mending many times each day.
When God relights me inside, His spirit glows,
And I know I’ve been remade.

Every time man looks and me and cannot see himself,
He strangely smiles a smile of wonder asking, “Why?”
Then in heat of love I answer,
“It’s not me; it’s my Creator.
Let Him now begin to work in you.”

About this Song:
I must have gotten the idea for this song from Brent Coleman, my pastor at that time, because I dedicated the song to him.

Even though “Image of God” doesn’t specifically reference what the Bible says about Believers being clay in the Potter’s hands, that always comes to mind when I think about this song. When a potter’s work-in-progress isn’t going right, he doesn’t throw the clay away. Instead, he lovingly reworks it until it once again takes on the shape He wants it to be.

God has to do that frequently for each of His children–not because He has failed to carry out His design correctly, but because we somehow fail–through our sins and our disobedience–to let Him do what He wants to do with and through us. That introduces impurities into His work of art–impurities that need to be dealt with and removed.

The work of any well known artist is easily recognizable–not so much just because it bears his signature, but because its style is so representative of that artist’s style. God wants each of His children to bear such a resemblance to our Maker that other people can tell who He is.

The more like our Maker we are, the more we’ll make others admire Him and want Him to do a similar work in their lives, too. What would be more wonderful than that?

What does this song say to you? I’d love to read your comments.

Look for me again next Wednesday, when we’ll finish the Song of Plenty musical. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

                

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Posted in Clay, Image, Potter, Reshape, Song of Plenty, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Me: Outside/Inside (w/Monologue Seven)

[from the 1974 pop musical, Song of Plenty]

Monologue Seven:

GIRL (continuing letter). . .

God IS a God of plenty! He filled me with his complete presence. I rushed to the front of the room ad collapsed at the speaker’s feet in tears. One by one, my new friends came to me and put their arms around me. They were crying, too! They were happy–for me.

I glanced up at the cross out of mist-filled eyes and. . .no! it can’t be. . .I imagined I was two people. One was nailed to that cross, dead. The other had been lifed up to God’s side and was safely enveloped in love and peace.

Then I looked at my friends, and I told them that the old “me” was dead now. With God’s help, the real “me” could live and start to grow.

Song:

Look at the outer me I wear for public display.
See the side that seems to show the sum of all my good.
Me that’s got and got looks so full
And me that’s fancy looks so happy,
But me that’s complex can’t tell that
It’s not the real me I see.

Look inside at the me I keep hidden.
See the side that seems to show how small and empty I am.
Stripped of my outer self
So I can see what God knows is me:
Rough and simple and in need of love’s complete refining.

About this Song:
This song is the honest confession of someone who recognizes that the life she’s been living on the outside may appear great to other people. But in reality it’s empty and small. The singer acknowledges that only God can remake her from the inside out, and she’s not just willing–but desirous–of having Him do that.

Do you need God’s help in becoming real, too?

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

Best regards,
Roger

                

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Bring My God Down (w/Monologue Six)

[from the pop musical, Song of Plenty, 1974]

Monologue Six:

GIRL (continuing letter). . .

It was all so clear. . .so simple. And yet I had this feeling of pride nagging away at me. It said, “Don’t give in. Keep searching. You’ll be okay. You’ll find what you’re after on your own.”

The the invitation hymn was sung. It was unlike any I had ever heard before. This one was meant for me.

Song:

Bring my God down,
Bring my God down
From your dark and unknown skies.

Make Him the sun,
Make Him the sun
In the solar system of your lives.

Bathe in His light,
Bathe in His light;
Warm to perfect love and peace.

Be His reflection,
Be His reflection;
Let all men known whose light you are.

About this Song:
One spring during the early sixties, I worked in the kitchen at the original Phillips Crabhouse in Ocean City, Maryland.

My job? Boring the stalks out of cabbage heads and quartering the heads in preparation for making tons of cole slaw. Ironically, I hate cabbage in any form.

But this one particular day, the idea of “Bring My God Down” came to me–even the melody–in the midst of my cabbage cutting, and it turned out pretty well, I think.

I always smile at the line in the monologue about this song being an invitation hymn unlike any the girl has ever heard before. Even though she explains that the difference is she listened to this one, the style of this song is so unlike the average invitation hymn that her statement has a double meaning.

Please leave a comment if this song–or this blog post–has spoken to you.

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 Cabbage, Invitation Hymn, Light, Ocean City, Song of Plenty | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Is the Spirit (w/Monologue Five)

From the musical SONG OF PLENTY…

Monologue Five:

GIRL (continuing letter. . .)

Oh, the difference! Their lives were happy! They had found the plenty they sought. I felt sick and, well, quite a bit jealous.

They invited me to a service with them. I was held in a very plain room (I’ll never forget that room) with a few folding chairs, a simple speaker’s stand, and a rough wooden cross on the wall behind the stand.

The speaker he…well, he was just one of the kids. But as he began his sermon, I could only stare at him, for my imagination clothed him in a flowing robe and I could hear the waters of the Sea of Galilee lapping at the shore.

He laid it on the line. He made it very clear. Mom and Dad, he told me what you’ve been trying to tell me for years. But there was a difference: this time I really listened.

Song:

God is the Spirit moving in life’s underground,
Inspiring those enslaved to this world
To rebel against their sin and despair.

You can’t control or improve your life
With just your determination.
It takes more than sleepless dreams
And self-made revelations.

God is the Spirit boiling in the souls of men,
Inciting them to conquer the world
And set it on fire with the heat of God’s love.

It takes more than hope and faith
To live in God’s world of spirit.
God must live in you with you as His slave;
That’s how to be free. Please hear it.

God is the Spirit, moving in life’s underground,
Inspiring those enslaved to this world
To rebel against their sin and despair.

God is the Spirit boiling in the souls of men,
Inciting them to conquer the world
And set it on fire with the heat of God’s love.

About this Song:

Jesus was physical. He actually lived on earth and ate and slept and did everything other human beings do. Everything but sin, that is, and even He wasn’t immune from temptation.

But after his his resurrection from death and ascension into Heaven He sent His Holy Spirit to urge us to follow Him and to guide us when we do. So this song focuses on the role of the Holy Spirit in changing our lives.

I think one of the most striking parts of these lyrics is the part about “God must live in you with you as His slave; that’s how to be free.” To the non-Christian, those words undoubtedly make NO sense whatsoever. But those of us who are Believers understand that following Christ is voluntary.

But it’s more than just accepting Him as our Savior. It also means accepting Him as Lord. And as Lord, He is in charge of our lives–to whatever extent we’re willing to let Him be.

Being His servant is a privilege, and obeying Him more completely should be one goal of every prayer we pray.

Next Wednesday I’ll post Monologue Six and “Bring My God Down.” 

Please leave a comment if something in this post has spoken to you. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the bottom right.

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

Best regards,
Roger

                

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My Story Mystery (w/Monologue Four)

From the 1974 Christian musical Song of Plenty…

Monologue Four:
GIRL (continuing letter). . .

I was almost in tears as one person after another told me about themselves. Can you believe it? Their lives were all so similar to mine. The running away. The searching. The trying. The crying.

But their stories all had happy endings!

Song:

I was born the bitter child
Of a latter-day Adam and Eve,
Who lived destroyin’ God’s Garden
Till He sadly had to make ’em leave.

With a snake-filled apple in my mouth,
I was misconceived:
I grew up thinking I was all there was;
I was deceived.

Then I found I was nothing,
And my empty spirit grieved
And began a long search
For something bigger to believe.

Then God’s Spirit found mine
And gave me new breath to breathe;
He gave me warmth I needed badly;
My tiredness He relieved.

He filled me with His Presence,
My life’s pattern to reweave.
He gave me new direction.
All I’d lost has been retrieved.

His gift of love, His gift of peace:
These blessings I have received.
I don’t know why He loves me so;
That He does I do believe.

About this Song:
This is one of the strangest songs I’ve ever written–the first few stanzas, anyhow– although it fits right in with the story. And it looks like I must have been going crazy making rhymes, but in a strangely fun way.

I must admit I get a kick out of the reference to the “latter-day Adam and Eve” because that describes every set of human parents. The part about being “misconceived” simply means that all of us human beings are born under the burden of original sin.

I think the progression from very negative searcher to someone God finds and rescues is clear and encouraging. We may look for God, but He’s the one who ultimately finds and accepts us–and changes us if we allow Him to. I like the variety of “benefits” the singer has received from becoming a Child of God.

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 Adam & Eve, Garden, Mystery, Sin, Song of Plenty, Story, Testimony | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment