Tag Archive: worship


Wow. This is my favourite hymn ever and just heard this rendition that just gets drummier and drummier as it goes on [if that’s a thing] – i imagine that even if you don’t like christian music or hymns that you may still be able to appreciate the amazingness of this piece – Enjoy! The percussion group is called Stikyard. Boom, here it is:

Now sings my soul…

If that’s not your thing, or even if it is, this is the latest worship song that has captured my attention just in terms of the energy and vibe the band, Rend Collective, has in delivering it so if you have not seen ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’, give this a watch as well:

 [And if lyrics are more your thing, check out these powerful words by Tim Hughes, in a song that acknowledges life can be hard]

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this is something that my friend Deborah Dowlath reminded me in her simple blog post, A Drop in the Ocean which included this line:

I wish that followers of Christ would be as vocal about the injustices that occur on a daily basis as they are about the progress of their favourite team.

and this passage:

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

i think what strikes me the most is that i hadn’t thought of it this World Cup yet until i read her post.

it is something that has bothered me a lot.

and maybe, for a moment – which has passed, thankfully – i gave up on being bummed by it, because what is the point…

WHAT’S YOU DRUG OF CHOICE?

# when a new Star Wars movie comes out, people line the blocks for miles sleeping outside, sometimes for days, to get a ticket.

# when your favourite band is in town, you will pay an exhorbitant amount of money for a ticket to a live show.

# last night my mind wandered to the place of trying to imagine – i had no chance – just how much money was spent on fireworks in the Oakland area alone, let alone the United States of Americaland or the world… hm, let me see if Uncle Google has anything on that… [according to Eric Dye over here, it is over $600 million spent on one day’s entertainment although with the conscience-easing quote of ‘You wouldn’t ask Michelangelo how many buckets of paint he used to paint the Sistene Chapel, would you?’ but ending with the more provocative question:

With a nation in debt and a world full of needs, it makes you question the wisdom of burning-up $600 million in one day, doesn’t it?

# don’t get me started on how i get ‘attacked’ on social media [usually by christian friends] for daring to suggest how ridiculous it is to me that football/soccer players are paid millions of dollars in transfer fees [which you can translate to $20 million for an actor to star in a movie or whatever it is singers, politicians, business owners take home]

THE IMPORTANCE OF COUNTING BACKWARDS FROM TEN

i totally believe there is a moral question in here for everyone to be asking, and if we are looking at redressing the balance of the world where [small percentage] of the people own [ludicrous] percentage of the stuff, this would be a good place to start.

but specifically for people claiming to follow the ways of Jesus, this feels like an even deeper, more pertinent question not too many people seem to be asking, or answering.

i remember a few years ago when i helped organise a New Year’s Worship event at a megachurch building in Cape Town where we were hoping to have thousands of Christ followers from around the city coming together to worship God into the new year – and we did. i was purposeful about letting the countdown into the new year take back stage [or no stage at all if i’d had my way] so that we could focus on what really mattered. but somehow it still happened and i remember being broken by the fact that 2 to 3 thousand people seemed more excited about counting backwards from 10 than they were about worshiping the Creator of the Universe and Saviour of their lives.

one of the main reasons we were not allowed to use the same church the following year and the only complaint we received from the church leadership [most, if not all, who had not been at the event] was that we didn’t give the New Year’s countdown a big enough focus. It is clearly important that people are given the best opportunity available to count backwards from ten.

IF WE BELIEVED WHAT WE SAY WE BELIEVE…

then surely this picture would look different.

if we truly believed that there is a God, who created the Universe in a moment [or a million years of moments] who came down to earth and lived among us to save us from ourselves and that this God desired to have intimate and profound world-transoforming relationship with us and involve us in the redeeming of this planet and this people, then surely we would be inspired to do a little bit more than simply attend a meeting once a week and throw the excess money we have in our wallet into the bowl out of guilt as it passes us by.

if we love God more than the Football World Cup.

if we love God more than Star Wars.

if we love God more than U2 or Mumford or The Smashing Pumpkins or One Direction or Beyonce.

if we love God more than J.K.Rowling or Johnny Depp or Lionel Messi or Manchester United.

if we love God more than fireworks and Christmas presents and turkey and chocolate eggs and bunnies.

if we love God more than Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube or Pinterest.

then surely, surely, SURELY, things would look different. things would be different.

because clearly we are so much more excited about SO MUCH OTHER STUFF.

does that mean we don’t really believe?

or that we simply see the God part of our lives as significantly less of a priority and focus than a bunch of other things?

“let the person who has no sin cast the first stone.”

i definitely am not without sin here. i HAVE to start this question by asking it to myself. and it is one i wrestle with.

having just returned from a week of speaking to young people about Jesus on houseboats on Lake Shasta, i can definitely say with no doubt that speaking to people about Jesus and writing about Him is one of the things that gives me the greatest joy and feeling of life in life. so passion for God and the things of God is definitely up there.

but there are definitely many areas where my excitement and passion for other things is out of sync and definitely a lot of time spent on things that could be spent on better things. definitely a lot in my life needing to be wrestled with and some changes to be made.

one question i am hoping to better figure out after our next transition [coming August 6th] when we move back to South Africa is which of the ‘least of these’ i should be engaging more with. that feels like a call that has been placed on all of us and something most of us could be more intentional about.

what about you? i would LOVE to hear some feedback on this one based on what you see when you look into the mirror. are you doing well? is this an area that needs some more attention from you? what is your response to the idea that we tend to give so many other things so much more focus, attention and out-of-control passionate support and celebration?

and what does this verse mean to you?

Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Fireworks

DAY 39ish

i saw this prayer/poem/reflection? on my friend Conso’s Facebook wall and thought it was too good not to share…

Task: Mediate and reflect on the following words as they have meaning for you:

 

Until i encountered the CROSS…


i knew confession but did not know repentance,


i knew ritual but did not know true worship,


i knew guilt and shame but did not know redemption,


i knew judgement and condemnation but did not know grace,


i knew loss and grief but did not know reconciliation and restoration.


Now i know…

 

[For the next Lent observance post, click here]

ah man, this Lent schedule is a kicker… may have not gotten to make a post yesterday, but not going to beat up myself about it. let’s just make the most of the ones i do manage to post? good!

DAY 20ish

I was inspired for today’s post by a picture my friend Lilly Lewin [@lillylewin] shared on The Twitterer:

Lilli

Task: Write some words. Or maybe draw a picture. But just get something down.

Whether you give yourself five minutes for this or a whole hour, carve out a space in your busy day to reflect on some aspect of God and maybe more specifically Easter or resurrection, new beginnings, and whether you preferred choice is a poem or a song, whether you are someone who doodles, draws or paints or simply writes it in letter or story form, take some time to compose as an act of worship.

I have a long train ride happening later tonight as I return from a friend’s funeral that is two hours away and will look to use some of that time to do this [and will hopefully be able to post something tomorrow] and if you are up to sharing what you come up with, I would love to see it.

[For the next Lent Observance piece where you get to see what i created, click here]

DAY 19ish

As we start a new week, let us continue to really spend some time each day observing the Lent period leading up to Easter as we prepare for the reminder of what Jesus’ death and resurrection means to our day to day lives.

Task: Read through and meditate on the lyrics of this Tim Hughes worship song [featuring Brooke Fraser] and then give it a listen, remembering a time [it may be now] when you had to cling to the cross. 

Clinging to the Cross

My soul is weak
My heart is numb
I cannot see
But still my hope is found in You
I’ll hold on tightly
You will never let me go
For Jesus, You will never fail
Jesus, You will never fail

Simply to the cross i cling
Letting go of all earthly things
Clinging to the cross
Mercy’s found a way for me
Hope is here as i am free
Jesus, You are all i need
Clinging to the cross

Even darkness is as light to You, my Lord
So light the way and lead me home
To that place where every tear is wiped away
For Jesus, You will never fail
Jesus, You will never fail

Simply to the cross i cling
Letting go of all earthly things
Clinging to the cross
Mercy’s found a way for me
Hope is here as i am free
Jesus, You are all i need
Clinging to the cross

What a Saviour, what a story
You were crucified but now You are alive
So amazing, such a mystery
You were crucified but now You are alive

Simply to the cross i cling
Letting go of all earthly things
Clinging to the cross
Mercy’s found a way for me
Hope is here as i am free
Jesus, You are all i need
Clinging to the cross

[for the next day’s observance of Lent, click here]

so there has been a lot of discussion since Don Miller posted his two blogs suggesting that the traditional sunday church vibe is not for him and i responded with my piece titled ‘Why you should stop going to church’ which was not actually at all about encouraging people to stop going to church, but more trying to enlarge our definition of what church is about… you are the church so you don’t go to church – you go to a meeting at a place at a specific time, but church is something you should be every day and everywhere.

and then my buddy Rob Lloyd shared the best and kindest response to Don Miller in this blog post by a guy called Carey Nieuwhof titled ’10 thoughts on exiting the local church – a response to Donald Miller’ and i agreed with a lot of what he said and his spirit and tone was just incredible [why do christians generally seem to struggle to respond well to people who think differently to them?]

but i still do have some thoughts on this topic of my own…

WOULD YOU RATHER…

on sunday morning at the church i work part-time at [yes, that’s right, i am someone who is part of a local congregation and so maybe my thoughts on that not necessarily being the be all and end all carry the tiniest little bit of weight? i’m not someone who has left who is saying everyone should leave!] i played a game with my youth where i gave them two options and made them choose a favouite between the two.

started with easy ones like Dogs vs Cats, Coffee vs Tea, Television vs Music and then progressed to some slightly tricker ones like ‘Justin Bieber vs Miley Cyrus’ [Bieber won hands down!], ‘Death by Unicorn vs Death by T-Rex’ [guys chose T-Rex cos of logic – quick, painless death – girls all chose unicorn cos “ooh magical!”] and then finished off with some real stinkers like ‘Growing an extra finger out of your forehead vs Growing an extra ear on your elbow’ [ear, cos easier to hide!] and ‘You kiss a skunk but nobody knows vs You don’t kiss a skunk but everybody in the world thinks you did’ and ‘You get $1 000 000 but you lose both your thumbs vs You work ten hours a day every day for the rest of your life and only ever make enough money to just get by’ [amazingly everyone except me chose to say goodbye to their thumbs!]

so really became a kind of ‘Would you rather…’ game and while i was thinking about that and the pillow fight lesson that i had planned for them about whether you are in the middle of the action or on the side watching or recording it.

and it made me think of church and this whole discussion slash rant that has come up based on whether or not everyone needs to ‘go to church.’

LOOK LIKE OR BE?

it feels to me like some people [yes, not all of you], in fact many of the people in this conversation would choose [if they had to] people looking like church rather than being church [and yes, the clever ones among you are saying, ‘But Brett, surely it can be both?’]

so people have been loudly saying that people need to go to church on a Sunday. some of those people might concede that the Sunday part is actually not all that important and so allow you to do church on another day. others might concede that it doesn’t need to be in a church building but just needs to be the same group of people meeting together regularly. i imagine we might even be able to get as far as some people conceding that singing isn’t absolutely necessary [although this would be a tougher one because we all know singing = worship] and so might allow us to use bible reading, liturgy, silence, lyric reading and other forms of worship.

my good friend and tag team buddy Sean brought it down to these four things: worship, fellowship, edification, and encounter

none of which have to happen on a Sunday to take place.

none of which have to happen in a specific building to take place.

all of which could happen in a lounge or coffee shop or besides a park bench.

which is always the point i was trying to make [and to some extent Don Miller i think, although he might take it even further than me]

THE POINT

i know of a bunch of churches that meet on a sunday in a specific building at a specific time where a huge percentage of the people there can get caught up so much more in the way things look and happen from a religious or traditional point of view [you can’t worship with that kind of music, you can’t do communion this way, you have to dress like this to go to church etc] than on whether anyone is actually following Jesus or not [so people holding on to unforgiveness, people gossiping profusely, people judging those outside the church etc]

i also know of some people who don’t meet in traditional sunday church who still create space for worship, fellowship, edification, and encounter in their lives although not necessarily in ways that other people would be happy with… and who are living out the kingdom of God so brilliantly and obviously without question.

and i imagine – quite strongly – that if we played the pillow game and put one of those things on either side, that a lot of church leaders and those commenting would actually honestly choose people who pitch up on a Sunday over people living out the kingdom who are not part of a Sunday gathering.

Looking like church vs Being Church.

and that for me seems rather sad.

because if i take a moment to try and imagine which of the two scenarios Jesus would be more happy with, i don’t feel like there is a question at all. 

i also am reminded of His response to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were the ones who looked like church [but hardly acted like it] of His day [He had some really harsh words for some of them!]

SUMMING IT UP

# i am saying that for a lot of people regular Sunday church works and that is great and they should continue and always be examining their hearts and the way the church does things to make sure that they are aligned with Jesus way.

# i am saying that i think there is a bigger definition of what church is which comes out of the idea and understanding and description of church as either the bride or the body of Christ, both of which are more unified sounding than most of what we see today – that the people of God collectively are ‘The Church’ and that we must always seek for ways to bring us closer together rather than trying to find things that bring us apart.

# i am saying that i think Sean’s four pillars of church are very helpful to keep in mind and pursue – worship, fellowship, edification, and encounter – but that they will not always look exactly the same depending on who is involved and the context of the meeting.

# i am saying that any decision made about how effective church is or isn’t based on how it feels like it is being effective or working FOR ME is unhelpful and unhealthy and likely to be fraught with danger and brokenness – there always needs to be a measure of serving others, or connecting with people that don’t only look like, sound like or think like you so that your faith can be grown and challenged. 

# i am suggesting that for many people the idea of a certain place on a certain day at a certain time short-circuits their brains and has them thinking that church doesn’t need to be happening any other time, place or day when we have been called to be salt and light and the fragrance of Christ among those who are perishing, all of which require us to be a little bit closer to darkness and stench and badness of taste.

# i am suggesting that being church far outweighs looking like church and if i ever had to choose between the two [and maybe i don’t] then i will choose being church every day of the week. 

[For another post on church and the ridiculous notion of ‘Going to church’, click here]

tbV and i have not really been in regular consistent church services for the last two years now and so it’s been really refreshing to find one called Re:Generation that we both enjoy and love going to. in particular being a part of corporate worship has been so refreshing and since we haven’t been around for a little while there are a bunch of new songs to discover which is great.

one song in paricular connected with where i was at last nite and so i hastily scribbled down the words of the chorus and i think the bridge, as these were the two verses that particularly moved me:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

i have been feeling quite distant from God and detached of late and i know a bunch of that is me needing to put more time and energy into my relationship with Him and also dive more into the Bible which really does fill me, but also is related to me not being involved in much hands on ministry vibe outside of work and online stuff and just really drawn to this call to move beyond what is safe and comfortable and to really be able to just trust God and jump. knowing that He has me.

quick Uncle Google ask and turns out the song is called ‘Oceans’ and it is by Hillsong United and so i sourced the rest of the lyrics which are here:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = =

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
[x6]

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

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