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:

 

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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

Wedding Song

What God joins together,
Man cannot separate.
What God’s love creates,
This world cannot harm.

When God gives light,
Where can there be darkness?
When God smiles in love upon us,
What can we do but love?

About This Song:
Of the two hundred-plus song lyrics I’ve posted on this blog, this one is the hardest to talk about. That’s why I’m hesitant to post it now.

When I wrote “Wedding Song”  for my first wife, I meant those words. Just as I meant every word of our wedding vows.

Jesus had some tough things to say about divorce. He considered it a sin except in the case of adultery. That was certainly not the case in my divorce.

It’s easy for Christians who are still married to their original spouses to speak harshly of those of us who are divorced.

But God forgives all kinds of sin. The cleansing that comes from His forgiveness is complete. Perfect. Eternal.

You may not be divorced, but  you may be guilty of other things you know God considers sinful. Sins that feel huge. Bigger than the everyday kind of sins we’re all guilty of. Sins that are too big for God to forgive.

No sin is that big, however. All we have to do is repent and ask God’s forgiveness. For that I’m truly thankful.

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. 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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God’s Special Mirror

All those who hear the Word of God
But don’t apply its teachings
Soon lose sight of who they are,
With backs turned to God’s mirror.

But blessed are those who hear God’s Word
And put it into practice;
They gaze into God’s special mirror
And see just who they can be.

About This Song:
This song might remind you a tiny bit of another of my songs, “When the Storms Come,” which is based on Matthew 7:24-27–one of Jesus’s parables…

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

“God’s Special Mirror” comes from James 1:23-25…

23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

What about you? Do you listen to God’s Word and then fail to let it change your life? I hope not.

God’s Word provides abundant freedom. Are you enjoying that freedom or have you forgotten what you look like–and what you CAN look like when you’re obedient to God’s Word?

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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