All Members of One Body

We are all members of one body,
And each of us has a different part to be;
We can’t all be hands and arms
Or the body will not go
Where Christ–the Head–wants the body,
Where Christ–the Head–tells the body,
Where Christ–our Head–tells His body to go.

We are all members of one body,
And each of us has a special part to be;
We can’t all be feet and legs
Or the body will not do
What Christ–the Head–wants the body,
What Christ–the Head–tells the body,
What Christ–our Head–tells His body to do.

We are all necessary members of Christ’s body,
And each of us is an essential part of the whole.
We support and are supported by the rest of the body,
And that is how the body lives and grows.

About This Song:
This song is based on 1 Corinthians 12:12ff. Here’s the passage from the NIV:

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

Isn’t that the most amazing passage? It never fails to inspire me. I look at my own meager talents (they seem meager to me, anyhow). I write music. I play guitar, bass guitar,and sing. I write Christian novels, thirteen of which have been published. I like to take and edit pictures. I enjoy encouraging other people. I believe in the biblical tithe, and I believe in supporting missions. Especially through our church’s nursing home ministry.

Those things don’t make me special, though.  They never will.  But using them to minister through my local church, where each of them is needed, is special indeed.

So the fact that I don’t preach, that I get tongue-tied trying to share my witness (except under just the right God-enabled circumstances), and that I don’t serve as a deacon or a Sunday School teacher–none of those things matters. God has called other people–people He has qualified–to perform those tasks. So I would be foolish to ignore the apostle Paul’s advice in this passage about the unity of the church and its many parts and dwell on what I can‘t be and can’t do.

Thank You, Lord, for the talents You’ve given me and the way You permit me to use them. Help me to  develop them to the fullest–and help me to be ever ready to use them. Not so anyone will look at me and say, “Isn’t he special?” but so my part(s) will help the whole to function even more smoothly. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What about you? What part do you play in the whole? How about sharing 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:

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Posted in Body, Church, Effectiveness, Members, Ministry, Parts of the Whole, Unity, Wholeness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jonah’s Prayer

In my distress, O Lord, I turned to You;
Down in the world of the dead,
I called Your name.
In the depths of the deepest oceans,
Where the waves crashed over my head,
Lord, I feared You might not hear me,
But You quickly answered my cry.

Lord, I feared You might not hear me;
Lord, I feared You might not come.
But You rescued me from danger;
Let me walk close by Your side.

In my despair, O Lord, I turned to You;
Choked by seaweed that was wrapped around my face,
I could barely call Your name.
At the roots of the very mountains,
Where I felt my life slipping away,
Lord, I feared You might not find me,
But You quickly came to my side.

Lord, I feared You might not find me;
Lord, I feared You might not hear.
But You rescued me from trouble;
Let me walk close by Your side.

About This Song:
When I open my Bible, only God knows what might inspire me to write a song. In this case, I had been reading about Jonah’s adventure in the belly of the whale; you’re free to believe this story is only purposeful fiction, but I believe it’s true.

Jonah’s prayer, found in Jonah 2:2-9, really struck me. As human beings, only a handful of people will ever encounter what Jonah did–maybe only Jonah himself.

But each of us has problems that seem so overwhelming at time that we FEEL like we’re trying to survive underwater inside a giant fish. But Jonah’s prayer should encourage us. Even in the most desperate of imaginable situations, he remembered to turn to God for help. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have had any hope at all.

How many of us continue grappling with the seaweed that’s choking us while trying to free ourselves from situations we have absolutely no control over?

Shouldn’t we turn to God and ask for His help first?

How about leaving a comment about sometime when you felt like your situation was hopeless, but you turned to God and He helped you through it.

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 Deliverance, Hopelessness, Jonah, Prayer | 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!”
(NIV)

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 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 most of my life, I imagine. But I didn’t have Isaiah’s spirit of servanthood 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 that 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?

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

I’ll Keep on Praising the Lord

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:
I began writing this song 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 in order to 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 just 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 wanted 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 a 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?

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

A Child Much Loved by You

Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me climb into Your lap, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me look into Your face, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me lean against Your arm, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
Let me whisper in Your ear, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
Let’s go walking hand in hand, my most loving heavenly father,
For I know I’m a child much loved by You.

About this Song:
Long before Kathleen and I got married–or even lived in the same state–we liked to pray together electronically. Either in an Internet chat room no one else was using at the moment or by email.

We agreed at the outset that formal prayers didn’t cut it for us. But since Jesus had referred to God as Abba–“Daddy”–we felt comfortable thinking of God in an equally father-and-child way.

So I ended up writing this song to describe the idea–that we would first climb into God’s lap in our imaginations. Then we would look into God’s face (in a purely spiritual sense, of course), lean against His arm, and then whisper in His ear–whatever we wanted to say to Him. And of course that also put us in the right position for Him to speak back to us.

Praying that way couldn’t last 24 hours a day, however. We would have to end our prayer eventually. But that didn’t mean we wouldn’t continue to enjoy fellowship with Him. Furthermore, spending that time with God should energize us to action. Hence the last stanza.

As a novelist with thirteen published books–and one I’m working on now–I have to laugh at one aspect of my lyrics. Using the passive voice–“a child much loved by You” rather than something like “a child You love very much”–would be a real no-no in one of my novels. But as the title and ending line of each stanza of this song, that doesn’t concern me.

What do you think? When you pray, do you do it formally or informally? How do you feel about our approach to prayer? Please share a comment with the rest of us.

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:

 

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All Those Who Love the Lord

Come and listen, all who love the Lord;
Let me tell you what He’s done for me:
I cried out to the Lord for help,
And I praised Him with my song.

Come and listen, all who know the Lord,
And I will tell you what He’s done for me:
I cried out to the Lord for His help,
And I praised Him with my song.

If I had refused to repent of my sins,
God would have turned His face from me.
But, in His love, He’s forgiven each one,
And He’s listened to my prayer.

Come and listen, all who love the Lord;
Let me tell you what He’s done for me:
I cried out to the Lord for help,
And I praised Him with my song.

Come and listen, all who know the Lord,
And I will tell you what He’s done for me:
I cried out to the Lord for His help,
And I praised Him with my song.
And I praised Him with my song.
And I praised Him with my song.

About this Song:

This song from more than thirty years ago is quite special. Psalm 66:16-19 had drawn my interest, and I’d already begun writing a song based on these words:

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.

But then I learned about the death of the adult son of a coworker. His name was also Roger.

Although he had grown up in the best of Christian families, he had strayed far from the Lord as an adult. Only when dying–apparently of AIDS–did he come home to his parents and to the Lord he had served faithfully years earlier as a teen.

I never met Roger, but his mom said he was a fantastic musician, and he shared his faith with everyone who would listen–up to the very end.

I looked at these three verses from Psalm 66 with fresh eyes. If anything told Roger’s story, it was that passage.

So this song is dedicated to the memory of Roger Koss.

If this song says something special 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

Links you might be interested in:

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The Manager of Our Marriage

We’re asking you, Lord,
To be a partner in our marriage;
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the one whose will comes first.
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the Love and the Truth
That keep us on your Way.
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the partner in control.

Be the manager of our marriage, Lord;
Be the manager of our home.
Be the manager of our words and deeds;
Our life belongs to You alone.

We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the one who blends our separate styles;
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the guardian of our hearts.
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the reason for each
Decision that we make.
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the partner in control.

Be the manager of our marriage, Lord;
Be the manager of our home.
Be the manager of our words and deeds;
Our life belongs to You alone.

We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the trustee of what we call ours.
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the keeper of our time.
We’re asking you, Lord,
That you create in us dreams
And values that will last.
We’re asking you, Lord,
To be the partner in control.

Be the manager of our marriage, Lord;
Be the manager of our home.
Be the manager of our words and deeds;
Our life belongs to You alone.

About This Song:
My wife and I had both been married before. But we knew we’d found in one another what we’d lacked previously.

We didn’t enter into re-marriage lightly, however. We knew that even though a Christian man needs to be the head of his household, the real head should be God. That’s the only way a man can do his part properly. Or a woman her part.

Last week I talked about the wedding song I wrote for marriage to my first wife. I wrote this song for my wedding to Kathleen; we’ve been married  almost sixteen years now.

Kathleen and I actually had two wedding ceremonies. One in jeans and denim shirts on a Wednesday night during what was normally the prayer service time. (That was the legal one.) The other later that month in a Methodist church in Arkansas (we dressed up for that one–so Kathleen’s family could be present along with our girls).

We sang this song together both times to an accompaniment I’d recorded.

If you’re planning on getting married–or if you’re already married–I invite you to consider these lyrics seriously. And to determine who’s in charge of your marriage. Who’s really in charge. And who you want to be.

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 Control, Cooperation, Manager, Marriage, Partnership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment