His Father’s Foreign Missionary

What father asked his only son to be his foreign missionary
And go to share his perfect love with a world so full of hate?
What father let his son be killed so others could have life?
What father asked his only son to be his foreign missionary?

What only son asked to be his father’s foreign missionary
And go to tell his father’s truth to a world so full of lies?
What son brought such good news that those who believe become his brothers?
What only son asked to be his father’s foreign missionary?

What father asks his adapted children to be his foreign missionaries
And share his love and tell his truth everywhere they go?
What father’s spirit guides his children and helps them do all things?
What father asks his adapted children to be his foreign missionaries?

About This Song:
Not only did I grow up in a Christian home where missions was important, I spent almost nineteen of my best non-novelist work years in Information Technology at the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia. During those years I went on short-term mission trips to England, Wales, Romania, and Australia. Since then, I’ve also been to Nicaragua.

Although I never felt God calling me to be a career missionary, I had numerous contacts over the years with people God had called to that task. Although these people never saw themselves as “special”–God’s calling was what made them special–they were a real inspiration to me.

God was a mission agency of one when He sent Jesus to earth to bring the Good News of His love and His offer of eternal salvation. God the Father didn’t MAKE Jesus do that, though. But Jesus felt His Father’s call and chose to obey it, even knowing he would suffer and die a hideous death.

A Southern Baptist missionary was murdered in Jordan shortly before I wrote this post originally. She hadn’t resisted God’s call to go, and she paid with her life.

The same was true with Jesus. He left heaven to carry out God the Father’s assignment, and those of us who’re believers 2000 years later owe a huge debt of gratitude for the way Jesus carried out His assignment.

We can’t pay God back for what Jesus did and–in so doing–turning His followers into adopted children of God and His own brothers and sisters. But if we take our family membership seriously, we want to share the Good News with others. Whether we go overseas or next door, we show God our appreciation by serving as His missionaries.

Are you a member of His family? Are you helping to spread His Good News?

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 Good News, International Mission Board, Missionary, Telling | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Koala Song

A koala eats certain gum tree leaves,
And it always eats the kind it knows it needs.
A Believer feeds on the Word of God
And knows no other bread will do.

About This Song:
I’ve been to Australia seven or eight times now and consider it my second home. On each of those trips I visited one or more animal parks where I could pet a koala and have my picture taken doing it.

Fascinating creatures.

No matter how lethargic they normally look, I actually once took video footage of a koala running on the ground and of another jumping from branch to branch. I still don’t believe it. They must be pretty healthy animals.

I may be wrong about this fact–the one I based “The Koala Song” on–but my understanding is that koalas are very picky about what they eat. Not only do they just eat gum tree (eucalyptus) leaves, but only certain kinds. They seem to have an instinct for knowing which ones are right for them–which ones are healthful.

As children of God, we know we should restrict our diets to certain kinds of influences. Some movies, TV shows, and books and periodicals are unhealthy for us as Christians. Better that we steer clear of them and feed on the Bible, the Bread of Life. That’s even healthier than feeding on books about the Bible.

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 Australia, Bible, Food, Gum Trees, Koala | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let God Drive

I have the best intentions;
I long to do all that pleases God
And yet I fail to do what I mean
And do what I mean not to do.

It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
For He alone knows where I’m really going.

If backed into a corner,
I may admit that I have done wrong,
And yet I tell God what He should do
To make things work out right for me.

It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
For He alone knows where I’m really going.

It’s hard to want what God wants;
Even Christ Himself didn’t like to suffer,
But He cried, “Not my will, but Yours.”
Lord, help me to pray that prayer, too.

It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
It’s time to jump into the back seat and let God drive,
For He alone knows where I’m really going.

About this Song:
If these words remind you of several vastly different Scripture passages, you’re on the same page I am.

In Romans 7:19-20, the apostle Paul says, “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” That’s from the NIV translation.

Here’s the same thing from the Easy-to-Read translation: “I don’t do the good that I want to do. I do the evil that I don’t want to do. So if I do what I don’t want to do, then I am not really the one doing it. It is the sin living in me that does it.”

No matter which translation you prefer, Christians can relate too easily to what Paul is saying. Just because we’re saved doesn’t mean we’ve lost our sinful nature. We truly don’t want to sin, yet we still do. We won’t get rid of that sinful nature until we die.

But with God’s help, we can keep it under control–under better control, anyhow. The closer our walk with Him–the more willing we are to put Him in the driver’s seat of our lives–the more we’re able to do the good we want to do and avoid doing the bad we don’t want to do.

The other passage referred to here is Matthew 26:39 & 42. Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. The human side of Jesus would have much preferred to avoid the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering he faced the next day. He said, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” (That is, may I be spared from the coming agony?)

In verse 42, He prayed a second time. “My father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it. . .”

Ah, but I’ve purposely omitted the most important words in both verses: “Yet not as I will, but as You will” in verse 39 and “May Your will be done” in verse 42.

As today’s lyrics suggest, Jesus was acknowledging that He wanted God the Father to be in the driver’s seat–regardless of Jesus’ personal feelings on the subject.

Because Jesus was both God and man, He was born with a sin nature–just like you and me. But He did what the apostle Paul was never able to do: He stayed in such close contact with God the Father that He never let his sin nature take control. Not once. Jesus never sinned.

You and I will never stop sinning. But the closer we get to God–the more we put Him in charge of our lives–the less sinning we’ll do.

If you’re not a Christian, you probably still have problems making yourself do what’s right sometimes–and doing what you know is wrong at other times. You’d be amazed how God’s presence in your life can affect your intentions and your ability to carry through with them.

Please leave a comment if this song has spoken to you in any way…or my comments about 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.

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 Control, Driving, Good Intentions, Sin, Submission | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Loves the World So Much

God loves the world so much
That He gave His only Son
So that the world through Him
Might be saved.
Yes, God loves the world so much
That He gave His only Son.

God did not send His Son
To condemn the world,
But that the world through Him
Might be saved.
Yes, God loves the world so much
That He gave His only Son.

About This Song:
“God Loves the World So Much” was the second song I ever wrote–sometime in the latter 1960s. The lyrics come from John 3:16-17, Bible verses familiar to every Christian and  undoubtedly our most beloved Scripture.

If you’re like me, you memorized the King James Version translation:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

I recently bought an album that contains the very familiar John Stainer arrangement of that Scripture. Even though I’m not fond of the Early Modern English the King James version of the Bible was written in, it sounds beautiful in the Stainer choral arrangement.

As I always do when writing songs based on Scripture, I reword them my own way, making every effort to remain true to the intent of the original. However, one choice I consciously made with this song was to say “God loves”–present tense–instead of “God loved.”

While God sent Jesus in human form only one time, His love is past, present, and future. Hence my preference for “God loves.”

Non-Christians often question how a loving God can “condemn the world.” That’s the result of sin, something that happened because God wanted human beings to have free will, and every one of us sins. Nobody is “good enough” on his own to meet God’s standards.

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 Bible, God's love, John 3:16, John Stainer, King James Version, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yesterday’s Dirt

When I get up in the morning,
I jump into the shower.
I turn the water on full force
And lather up some soap.
Then I commence to scrubbing
From my head down to my toes,
So I won’t keep on wearing
Yesterday’s dirt.

Yesterdays’ dirt was something awful;
I was really quite a mess,
And I wondered if I ever could get clean.
But when I’d finished bathing
And the dirt all washed away,
It’s amazing what a little soap can do.

Then I slip off to some quiet spot
With my Bible in my hand,
So I can listen to the Lord
And see what He wants from me.
I immerse myself in God’s love
And scrub off with His truth;
Forgiven, I am free
Of yesterdays’ dirt.

Yesterday’s dirt was something awful;
I was really quite a mess,
And I wondered if I ever could get clean.
But when I’d finished bathing
And the dirt all washed away,
It’s amazing what the love of God can do.

Don’t ask me why I go to bed
Before I’ve had a shower.
I know I would sleep better clean
And wake up more refreshed.
But sometimes it seems harder
To do things the easy way.
Lord, don’t let this become
“Yesterday’s Dirt.”

Today’s dirt is something awful;
I am really quite a mess,
And I wonder if I ever can get clean.
But when I finish bathing,
I know the dirt will wash away;
It’s amazing what the Love of God can do.

About this Song:
I hope the words to this song have left you smiling. Maybe even laughing. I mean, who but me would write a song about taking a shower? (Unless you’re old enough to remember Bobby Darin’s hit from the fifties, “Splish Splash.”) Or even use showering as a metaphor for something else?

Yet the message is quite serious. The dirt I’ve described is guilt. The shower itself is the overall process of seeking and receiving God’s forgiveness. The soap we scrub with is His love. The water is His willingness–His desire–to forgive us. And the resulting cleanliness is freedom from guilt.

You probably caught that part, though.

The real importance of this message is that we so often–too often–wallow in our guilt for a period of time before we finally turn to God rather than come to Him when we first became aware that we’ve sinned. We could have “showered” then without suffering unnecessary guilt and enjoyed His forgiveness and the freedom from guilt all the sooner.

Have you been postponing this kind of shower for something you’ve done? It’s not too late, you know. Please feel free to 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

       

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Posted in Cleansing, Dirt, Forgiveness, Guilt, Shower, Soap, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will You Leave Behind?

When you die, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Precious memories for your friends and family
Or relief that you’re no longer there?
Will the faith you’ve shared bring them comfort
Or your hopelessness cause them more grief?
When you die, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you pass away, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Will your words continue to encourage
Or the harm they’ve engendered linger on?
Do your sermons tell of God’s Kingdom
While your actions point the other way?
When you pass away, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you depart this life, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Will the good you’ve planted grow like flowers
Or the problems you’ve sown spread like weeds?
Is your life well invested in others
Or will your influence die at your death?
When you depart this life, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you expire, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Meager savings that soon will be used up
Or all the riches of the least child of God?
Will you leave debt for things that don’t matter
Or your witness to what God paid for you?
When you expire, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

About this Song:

There are two songs I want sung at my funeral–other than some favorite hymns. Chi Coltrane’s “Go Like Elijah.” I doubt that Chi, who has no idea who I am, would have any interest in coming to sing at my funeral, even if she’s still alive at that time. So I’ll have to leave a CD where Kathleen can find it.

The other song is this one. And I doubt seriously that Kathleen would be emotionally up to singing it, so I once spent a number of hours recording a CD of this song for future use.

This song was a challenge to write. Among other things, I was hard pressed to find and fit synonyms for “die” into the song’s rhythm in the second, third, and fourth stanzas.

But that’s not really the point, is it?

We’re all going to die, and each of us will leave some sort of heritage behind. Some people will barely be missed. The death of others will even be a relief. How sad.

As Christians, however, we have the chance to leave so much more than material goods. If our lives are filled with love, kindness, consideration, generosity, and so many other virtues than I can begin to list here, we will continue to live in the memory of others in a good way.

But how would we feel if all we knew that all we would be remembered for was hatred, nastiness, selfishness, violence, or any of an endless list of other negative characteristics?

Very few people are remembered throughout the centuries. Probably only the very best people–and the most wicked.

But why should we waste the opportunity to be remembered approvingly for as long a time as possible? It’s up to each of us as individuals, isn’t it?

Your comments are always 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

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Posted in Death, Despair, Family, Hope | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment