God’s Cry…

I love when God stirs my heart so violently that it shakes my stubborn hands into action. Sometimes He’s subtle and soft in His encouragements and guidance. Sometimes He is loud and uncomfortable and abrupt in His will. And then there are some times when He so clearly answers the cry of my heart that it is almost eerie–He answers so directly and so specifically that it leaves me wonderstruck.

This is one of those times.

It would not be a typical day if I didn’t question my true faith and obedience to the Lord at least a dozen times.  I feel like those are natural thoughts for an individual striving to know Christ more, love Christ more and trust Christ more.  There is this common misconception that Christians have some supernatural grasp on their faith and their walk with the Lord. But the fact of the matter is, the more you think you have figured out, the less you probably know.  Christianity is not meant to be comfortable and “figured out”. It is a faith of overwhelming humility and neediness. That constant state of tension is a beautiful thing–it reminds us how little we have figured out. It reminds us how desperately we need Him.

The more and more I have talked to non-believers and believers, alike, the more and more uncomfortable I’ve become with the state of Christianity today.  We are living in an age of hypocritical Christianity. We have churches void of Spirit. We have “Christians” void of faith. And we have lost and hurting people void of Light.  On one side, we have people SAYING they love Christ, but living lives guided by this world.  On the other side, we have people scorned by the guidance of this world, simply HEARING about Christ’s love.  But if there is no example being set, there is no Light being shined. If we are only saying and hearing, rather than DEMONSTRATING and WATCHING a world be healed through Christ’s love, we all simply find ourselves sitting in the DARKNESS.

We, as believers, are called to be the body of Christ. His hands. His feet. His love in a lifeless world. People need not to simply hear about that love, they need to see it and feel it and know it is real.  That is a big responsibility. But that is the call of our lives. One of the most heart-changing sermons I’ve ever had the privilege of sitting under was delivered by Francis Chan at Passion Conference 2012.  In the middle of his message he was telling a story and brought up the fact that God does not listen to all prayers…

 
–What? Hold on…That’s not what I’ve been told in the past. What ever happened to God hearing our cries? What ever happened to the all-knowing God? The one who loves and listens and answers all of our prayers…? What do you mean He ignores some?–

Chan continued on to address a verse that has since mesmerized me. Isaiah 1:12-19 says…
 

“When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations– I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land…”

 

Wow. If that stirs your heart as much as it stirs mine, I imagine you’ll need a moment to catch your breath.  What overwhelmingly convicting scripture.  What a call-out…

 

If you find that you’re upset right now, you should be. But I want you to take a moment to think about WHY you are upset.  Are you upset because you’re offended that God may ignore you at times? Is it because you think it’s unfair and judgmental that He would be selective in who He listens to and who He answers? If so, shame on you.

 

Or are you upset by this verse because you claim that you’re in a loving relationship with Christ, yet your promises and offerings and commitments to him are often shallow. I claim that I love Him, yet I rely on my own guidance. I rarely trust Him. I rarely take His words as literally as I should. I rarely act on the stirring of my heart.  Who am I to cry out in prayer for Him to bless me with things and do things in my life and help me, when I ignore Him the majority of the time.  What type of loving relationship is that?

 

As the body of Christ, as His hands and His feet, who are we to call out for His blessings when we are defiling His Kingdom here on earth with our lack of love and trust and faith in Him? We should be embarrassed of ourselves. As “Christians”, and as a church. Amos 5:21-24 goes on to say…

 
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” 

These verses have weighed so heavily on my heart lately.  I constantly cry out to God, yet I ignore Him when He cries out to me.  Healthy, loving relationships are not take-take relationships. They are give-and-take. They are balanced and developed in love. I found myself crying out to God the other day. Crying out for His blessings and His adornment in my life. Then I sat down at my computer and pressed play on my iTunes. Suddenly, He cried out, back to me…

The songs you sing My heart has grown to hate them
The meetings of the saints are all in vain
Under steeples marked with crosses I see darkness
For sin abounds under false pretenses

Wake up from your sleeping My redeemed
Remove the evil deeds from My eyes
See the orphan see the widow’s needs
Learn to get on your knees and serve each other

If you lift up your hands I will not see them
Even though your many prayers I will not hear
For My pleasure is not in the sacrifices
But in the righteousness of the heart that makes it

Wake up from your sleeping My redeemed
Remove the evil deeds from My eyes
See the orphan see the widow’s needs
Learn to get on your knees and serve each other

Your sins are like scarlet, but they will be white as snow
You wear evil like a garment, but I’m giving you a brand new coat
And if you are willing to live by all My commands
You will know Jesus and you’ll drink from the Father’s hands

Wake up from your sleeping My redeemed
Remove the evil deeds from My eyes
See the orphan see the widow’s needs
Learn to get on your knees and serve each other

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BACKGROUND

 

“Background”
(feat. C-Lite)

 

[Chorus:]
I could play the background
I could play the background
Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won’t You take the lead, lead, lead?
So won’t You take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the leadIt’s evident you run the show, so let me back down

 

You take the leading role, and I’ll play the background
I know I miss my cues, know I forget my lines
I’m sticking to your script, and I’m reading all your signs
I don’t need my name in lights, I don’t need a starring role
Why gain the whole wide world, If I’m just going lose my soul
And my ways ain’t purified, don’t live according to Your Word
I can’t endure this life without Your wisdom being heard
So word to every dance, a foe, a pop star
‘Cause we all play the background, but mine’s a rockstar
Yeah, so if you need me I’ll be stage right
Praying the whole world will start embracing stage fright
So let me fall back, stop giving my suggestions
‘Cause when I follow my obsessions, I end up confessing
That I’m not that impressive, matter of fact
I’m who I are, a trail of stardust leading to the superstar
 

I had a dream that I was captain of my soul
I was master of my fate, lost control. and then I sank
So I don’t want to take the lead, ’cause I’m prone to make mistakes
All the folks who follow me, going end up in the wrong place
So let me just shadow you, let me trace your lines
Matter of fact, just take my pen, here, you create my rhymes
‘Cause if I do this by myself, I’m scared that I’ll succeed
And no longer trust in you, ’cause I only trust in me
And see, that’s how you end up headed to destruction
Paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothing
You pulled my card, I’m bluffing, You know what’s in my hand
Me, I’m just going to trust you, You cause the dice to land
I’m in control of nothing, follow you at any cost
Some call it sovereign will, all I know is you the boss
Man, I’m so at ease, I’m so content
I’ll play the background, like it’s an instrument
 
I know I’m safest when I’m in Your will, and trust Your Word
I know I’m dangerous when I trust myself, my vision blurred
And I ain’t got no time to play life’s foolish games
Got plenty aims, but do they really Glorify Your name
And it’s a shame, the way I want to do these things for You
Don’t even cling to you, take time to sit and gleam from You
Seems You were patient in my ignorance
If ignorance is bliss, it’s ’cause she never heard of this

“Madly In Love With You”

 

 

A musical letter from God to you…

Listen from the perspective of God singing each word to your heart.

 

 

 

 

“Madly In Love With You”

By: Sean McConnell

See you down there everyday
Trying to find a different way
To build some kind of ladder to the sky

Trying to find some way to see
Secrets of eternity, and they don’t come all at once
And you don’t know why

Well how do you think it feels to hear you screaming out my name
While all the while I’m trying to open up your heart
See you when you cry yourself to sleep
It’s tearing me apart

I know you wish you could see me
That’s the way it has to be
Someday you’ll understand,
don’t you lose your faith in me

I know you wish you could hear me
Sometimes it’s so hard to do
But every morning sunrise it says
I’m madly in love with you
Yes I’m madly in love with you
Yes I’m madly in love with you
Yes I’m madly in love with you

I know that you’re waiting for,
A chance to come in from the war
If only a moment, if only a day

A place where you feel safe and warm
A sanctuary from the storm
Until all of these questions fade away

But I cannot count on all the signs
You’ve passed away as mere coincidence
And im running out of ways to break through
Like a lonely lover, Waiting by the ocean
Ill never give up on you

I know you wish you could see me
That’s the way it has to be
Someday you’ll understand,
Don’t you lose your faith in me

I know you wish you could hear me
Sometimes it’s so hard to do
But every morning sunrise it says
I’m madly in love with you
Yes I’m madly in love with you
Yes I’m madly in love with you…

Somewhere Beautiful

I know I have been on a bit of a song-kick lately, but I have been stumbling across some great music that deserves a listen! I don’t know about you, but I am the type of person who can hear any song and relate it to Christ. (Well, maybe not ANY song…”Baby Got Back” just doesn’t quite translate into a good worship tune.) Nevertheless, I love to flip songs in order to praise our King! Good example: listen to “Run To You” by Lady Antebellum. Every time they say the word “baby”, replace it with “Jesus”. So awesome.

Anyways, while there are some songs that you have to really work to adjust, others are just naturally poetic ballads to our King.  I grew up in school with the McConnell siblings. While they were all in different grades than myself, their family’s talents were well-known. Prime example: Sean McConnell, the vocalist on this song. I would encourage you to look up his music. He is an amazing artist and has a fantastic heart for Christ.

I have always loved this song. It is an example of a great acoustic song that can appeal commercially, but also has a more subtle, grace-filled message. Take a listen…

Somewhere Beautiful

written by: Wade Bowen, vocals by: Sean McConnell

Looking down at the strip from my hotel room,
It must be a full moon, cause their all out tonight
All the insecure boys in their muscle cars,
Young girls in their push-up bras under neon lights,
They come here for freedom, freedom from anything
And for miles and miles down this road, you can hear them sing
With their voices, and their engines, and their pounding radios
It seems like round here, no one knows

No one knows that there’s more
Beyond these dead skies and these filthy streets
Take my hand and let me pull you
Out of the blindness of your weary soul
To somewhere beautiful
To somewhere beautiful

Is there any way to learn from what you’ve been told
Or do you really have to hold the experience
Cause you can hear me now, and come out clean
Trust me, I could spare you the consequence
I can tell by your eyes, that there ain’t no getting through
Cause you’re hell bent on doing exactly what you’ve gotta do
So welcome to a long line of sinners and saints
Is there anyone around here who ain’t

Don’t you know that there’s more
Beyond these dead skies and these filthy streets
Take my hand, and let me pull you
Out of the blindness of your weary soul
To somewhere beautiful
To somewhere beautiful

Don’t you know that there’s more
Beyond these dead skies and all these filthy streets
So take my hand, let me pull you
Out of the blindness of your weary soul
To somewhere beautiful
To somewhere beautiful
Yeah, to somewhere beautiful…

God Is Not A White Man…

Just wanted to share the basic, beautiful lyrics to a song I ran across today.  Not to mention, the link to the awesome music video! These words may seem simple…silly even. But, while listening to the music, it brought me back to a state of child-like wonder. In our attempt to “figure everything out”, we seem to make everything twice as complicated. So sit back, put on a smile, and enjoy the simplicity of this light-hearted truth.  🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WybvhRu9KU

God Is Not A White Man

by Gungor

God is not a man
God is not a white man
God is not a man sitting on a cloud

God cannot be bought
God will not be boxed in
God will not be owned by religion

But God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone

God is not a man
God is not an old man
God does not belong to Republicans
God is not a flag
Not even American
And God does not depend on a government

But God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone
God is good, God is good, and He loves everyone

Atheists and Charlatans and Communists and Lesbians
And even old Pat Robertson, oh God He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant, Terrorist or President
Everybody, love

Oh, la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
Yeah, I say God is love, God is love, and He loves everyone
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
Stop the hating, please just stop the hating now cause God is love
Oh, whoa, la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

*How He Loves*

LOOK WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR YOU…so that YOUR soul could be saved. I wanted to share my favorite version of one of my all-time favorite songs with you. The video attached to the song is an unbelievable recreation of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. SEEING what this man did for us will make your skin crawl..but it is TRUTH. This is what He went through to save our souls. If it is too graphic for you to watch, minimize the video but continue to listen to the song. Let the lyrics move you and the beat slide through your veins…He loves us SO much. No matter our past, no matter our flaws. He is so jealous for you…

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BetW_6vtNU&feature=related

 

“How He Loves”

David Crowder Band

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

“What Love Really Means”

“I will love you for you. Not for what you have done or what you will become. I will love you for you. I will give you the love that you never knew…”            –God

I was recently introduced to this song and absolutely fell in love with it.  What a beautiful message. Listen to each and every word….


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgGUKWiw7Wk

 

“What Love Really Means”

By: JJ Heller

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said “I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew