Tag Archive: worship


tim hughes

i have not met Tim Hughes personally, but i was once in a room with him [and quite a large room at that]

it was on a trip to visit my sister Sue and her family in a town called Rancho Cucamonga near LA which must have been 2006 or 2008 and i organised my ticket so i could stop over in London long enough to take the bus to visit some friends in Holland before continuing on to Americaland.

when i lived in London for about 6 months in 2000 i had attended and really enjoyed a church called Holy Trinity Brompton or HTB [where i had inadvertently ended up with some screen time on the filmed for ITV Alpha Course that church and its pastor Nicky Gumbel is known for – i also helped inspire at least one third of a relationships preach with my ‘is sex better than chocolate?’ question i popped into one of their panel discussions which they decided to answer as if it was a serious question, but that’s another blog post] and so on the way back from Holland i had made a plan to go and visit a service before my flight to Americaland.

something happened with the bus or my directions and i ended up being quite late for the service and i walked in as this youngish, decent looking dude started to preach and it was a really great preach, littered with references to “my friend Matt” which i didn’t quite get until afterwards when i discovered he was Tim Hughes [a worship leader whose songs i really enjoy] and ‘my friend Matt’ was of course Matt Redman [who i have met and interviewed on radio and asked stupid questions like ‘if you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be?’ true story, i was young]. it was really cool for me that i got to hear the preach and evaluate it on its merits [as i had no idea who he was the whole time he was preaching] as opposed to listening to it through the filter of  ‘ooh, that’s Tim Hughes’ and i learnt that he is a really good preacher as well.

so yes, Tim Hughes, really enjoy his song writing and songs and this is one of my favourites [i really enjoy how real and rough and raw it is, just so honest] , but first the story of how he came to write it:

‘The song, ‘When The Tears Fall,’ was birthed out of a hard time I was going through. One evening I sat with my guitar and poured out my heart to God. I found great hope and strength being able to express my pain, and in the midst of the doubt singing, ‘I will praise You, I will praise You. When the tears fall still I will sing to You.’ Initially, I thought it wasn’t a song that could be sung in a Church context. We don’t seem to sing many songs of lament. However, as I read through the Psalms, I discovered many cries of worship that came from a place of brokenness. Life is full of pain and sorrow. Loved ones die, dreams fail, people get hurt – we are left with unanswered questions. That’s the reality of the world we line in. Yet in the midst of the pain, through the tears God is good. He is and always will be worthy of our praise.’ – Tim Hughes

WHEN THE TEARS FALL by Tim hughes

I’ve had questions, without answers
I’ve known sorrow, I have known pain
But there’s one thing, that I’ll cling to
You are faithful, Jesus You’re true

When hope is lost, I’ll call You Savior
When paid surrounds, I’ll call You healer
When silence falls, You’ll be the song within my heart

In the lone hour of my sorrow
Through the darkest night of my soul
You surround me and sustain me
My defender, forevermore

I will praise You, I will praise You
When the tears fall, still I will sing to You
I will praise You, Jesus praise You
Through the suffering still I will sing

Written by Tim Hughes. © 2003 Thankyou Music/ PRS/ Admin by worshiptogether.com Songs for the world excluding the UK and Europe which is admin by Kingsway Music

[You can listen to it here]

car and car and car and car and another car

well, not really, but i think the permanent ADT guard who lives in a little wooden hut across from my buddy Dunc’s house where i stay may be suspecting that’s what i do…

purely for the number of different cars of all shapes and sizes that he has seen me drive into 2 Smithers Road over the last two months…

i am always friendly and i always wave at him [or hims, because i think there are a bunch of them] which is probably what they look for in terms of suspicious people trying to look unsuspiciousful…

from Val’s folks to my friend Linda, from my buddy Ross to Beth’s mom, and then of course both Dunc and Megs cars [who i live with, Dunc and Megs i mean, the cars stay outside!] and a lift from my mom and my buddy Rob and Reegs and Mandy  and i imagine i have possibly left someone out, it has been insanely beautiful to see and experience the generosity of friends and family.

[thank you all so very deeply!]

i call it the church being the church – some people see church as that meeting that happens at that place on that day… i tend to see it as a friend saying, “I’m going overseas for three weeks, please feel free to use my car” or as two separate friends buying tickets to the cricket for tbV and me, or my buddy refusing to let me pay for a movie, or countless drinks and meals and one friend lending me his hockey stick and another friend giving me his Meltz voucher so i can buy a hoodie…

i do also see church as that meeting which can happen at that place on that day [and am grateful for some amazing experiences of church and especially worship i got to have while i was here] but it can never stay there. if what happens in that place never spills out into everyday life, then it’s a joke and a mockery and a fake [and pretty much a spitting into the face of God]

but one of the highlights of being home has been reconnecting with people who really ‘get’ what this church thing is about [or more importantly who] and meeting some new inspiring people that are on the verge of doing amazing incredible practical things for the gospel which are often the surest sign of the Love of God…

i am so hopeful for church. God’s people doing God’s stuff lavishly… keep on church… keep on!

one of the first things i want to do once i am settled in Americaland is buy a copy of this song ‘You won’t relent’ by Jesus Culture – i find the lyrics and the singing of it so powerfully haunting and it just resonates s completely with my soul in terms of catching a glimpse of how God sees me. i am reminded of this passage from 2 Corinthians 2.14-15 which says, ‘For Christ’s Love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.’ Especially the phrase, ‘Christ’s Love compels us’ which if you don’t understand the context seems to carry the message of ‘You have to do this thing’ but once you catch a glimpse of God’s great all-encompassing Love for you it quickly becomes something closer to, ‘I can’t not do this for God, everything in me just pulls towards this’…

You won’t relent – performed by Jesus Culture

You won’t relent until You have it all,
My heart is Yours [4x]

I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart
as a seal upon my arm
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy, demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love

You won’t relent until You, have it all
My heart is Yours
You won’t relent until You, have it all
My heart is Yours
Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until You and I are One [2x]

I don’t want to talk about You
Like You’re not in the room
I want to look right at You
I want to sing right to You [3x]

You won’t relent until You have it all,
My heart is Yours [4x]

I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart
as a seal upon my arm
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love

Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until You and I are One [2x]

Married? Single? Other?

My friend Jess is a beautiful, single blonde girl who has been a missionary in Italy for 10 years and is the same age as me. One day, an Italian woman, let’s call her Mamma Carmen, came up to her with a little charm necklace that had a picture of a saint on it.

“What’s this?” asked Jess.
(Cue in accent of Italian mama who doesn’t speak much English)
“A necklace for you. A picture of Saint Anthony. “
“Who is Saint Anthony?”
“Is-a- the patron saint of lost-a things.”
“And what have I lost, Mama Carmen?”
“Oh, you know sveetie. “
“No I don’t know. What is that I have lost?”
“You lost-a your husband.”
“Mama Carmen, isn’t that usually the saint you pray to for a lost sock or car keys-things like that?”
“Yes, but not for you. For you, pray to him for husband. More important than sock.”

Mama Carmen’s Formula:

“Lost Husband + Praying to Patron Saint of Lost Things + Ten Hail Marys= 1 wedding, 5 socks, 2 spoons, and 1 bracelet you thought you gave to your friend Jill.”

I had my own formula concocting conversation with a ministry leader of mine a few years back. Let’s call her Emily. The conversation looked like this:

“Kate, do you remember our babysitter Joann? Well, she went through a season of really struggling with being single like you are going through. She cried and battled and finally brought her burden to the Lord. She let go.

Two weeks later, she met her husband. And he looks just like Ryan Gosling. “

I said,”Emily, I am really happy for Joann. But she is twenty freaking years old.”

“So? What does that have to do with anything?”

I respected and loved this leader, but I just couldn’t brush the comment off this time.

I said “I have had a decade longer than her of wrestling with God over this issue. In all my wrestling, I have had several seasons where I have been content as a single person, embracing the thought of God as my husband. But often, those seasons fade, and I’m struggling again. It is a cycle that happens. I don’t think God laughs at my cycles of frustration. I think he understands. I think He wants to meet me there. “

Emily continued to argue with me, saying that I just needed to let go, insinuating that it was my own fault that I was still single.

I said, “Em, please understand me here. If you had a friend who was not getting pregnant or who was having multiple miscarriages, someone who had been struggling with barrenness for fifteen years, would you say to her ‘If you just trusted the Lord more with your barrenness, he would give you a baby?’ You would never say that! You recognize how much she is mourning that loss, and so you careful with her words. You don’t want to hurt her even more by making her feel like it might be her own fault.

Well at times, I feel barren. Not only barren in my childbearing, but barren as a lover as well. I don’t have children or a husband, and so I really have no immediate blood family. Please, please, be sensitive to this barrenness in me. Please don’t tell me that I have done something wrong in not letting go, and the result of that shortcoming is my barrenness.”

I know that sounds pretty heavy, but it is how many of us feel at times.

In the very thick book of popular theology that is not actually in the Bible, a book I like to call “First Assumptions” , we have this formula:

“Not letting go=being single.
Letting go= being married. “

Most singles I have talked to have had this formula given to them in one way or another. Many of them dozens of times. Almost every time I mention writing my book on singleness, single people give me some kind of version of this story.

Most of us, when we first heard this formula as a young person, grabbed our journal and bible and went to a quiet place. We turned our sweet young faces to heaven with tears in our eyes and said “Lord, I let go. I give my husband to you.”

Do you know why we were saying this? Because we wanted a husband. And according to the formula, if you wanted a husband, you had to let go of him first. So we were letting go of him in order to get him.

Quite ironic, isn’t it?

But as years passed, when that formula didn’t work, we started cringing when someone told us we just needed to let go. We couldn’t put our finger on why it irked something deep inside of us, but it did.

I have a theory about why it frustrates us so much. At the root of this formula is the idea that all single people have done something wrong and all married people have done something right. Married people, I know you probably never meant to make us feel that way, but it is the nature of that formula.

It kind of reminds me of the story of Job. Here is the formula we can get out of his story.

“Tragically losing everything+wife that is pissed+hideous boils all over your body+annoying friends telling you that you must have done something wrong to deserve this+being totally frustrated and not getting why you’re going through this+God’s booming voice telling us humans that we don’t know nothing and He doesn’t fit in our formulas and boxes+ praising God even through horrible circumstances and singing “Blessed Be Your Name” = even more stuff than you had before.”

Sound familiar? (Except for the boils part, hopefully.) That story is one of the oldest in the bible. One of it’s lessons? Don’t make formulas. Meet Him, wrestle with Him, praise Him even when you don’t understand, but never, ever, put Him in a box.

As Donald Miller said, “As much as we want to believe we can fix out lives in about as many steps as it takes to make a peanut-butter sandwich, I don’t believe we can.”

My married friend Becca, who is incredibly dear to me, explained to me that married people don’t often have bad motives in their formula making. She said that when human beings don’t understand something, they make formulas. They want to feel like they are giving their friend some control over the situation. They even make their own life journeys into formulas. Sometimes we singles cling to the formulas given to us because we want some control over the situation as well.

I really appreciate that we had this conversation because it reminded me that married people are not the enemy. They love us.

But out of love, I want our married friends to understand why these formulas are so hard for us to hear.

These formulas makes us feel like our being single has nothing to do with God’s will or our choices or the enemy or any other theory you have on why hard things happen.

It has to do with our lack.

We already struggle with feeling like we lack when we wonder why we haven’t been chosen. Please don’t cut that wound deeper.

This formula also makes us feel like our not being married has to do with our relationship with the Lord, which evidently is wanting.

For most of us, our relationship with the Lord is the most sacred one that we have. Please, please, don’t criticize that relationship as well. Don’t tear down the one relationship where we feel loved and accepted. Even if you mean well, just don’t do it.

I think a good rule of thumb for both parties is to do less formula making and pat- answering and do more listening. Listening to what the Lord has to say, and listening to each others journeys with compassion.

Restrain yourselves from formulas. But don’t restrain yourselves from giving each other a hug. We probably both need one.

Be encouraged that we all have our own journey, and that all of our journeys our valid.

[Kate Hurley writes a blog called ‘The Sexy Celibate’ which you can read here. Among other things she is a singer, songwriter, worship leader, writer, and teacher and has contributed worship to Enter the Worship Circle. I also encourage you to head over to her website and sample some of her music.]

[To read the Singleness story of my friend Kate Sherry, click here]

this is one of my favourite pics ever and it comes from the days of cameras with actual removable film and this particular photo is clearly a mistake of double exposure, but one that works so powerfully.

so the people worshipping in a weekly church service appear to be standing beneath the heavens and it creates such a powerfully artistic expression:

worship and worshipped

…which to me screams of something that is completely Unique.

[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Love’ click here]

namrockmountainwords

one of my favourite pics ever!

some friends of mine ran a worship camp in the middle of a farm in Namibia and i was part of helping put the thing together – one of the best aspects was being out of cellphone contact and apart from some electricity for instruments it was amazing to be almost completely ‘unplugged’ for the four days of camping [knowing that hot water could be boiled on the fire for coffee helped]

the last nite of every ‘Namrock’ – as it was called – we would shine the projector with the song words at the mountain-side across the river where we were camping and sing off of the mountain. the idea of facing creation while singing to the Creator [as opposed to singing to God while facing a team of people leading worship] was just so incredibly powerful and a stunning representation to me of the word ‘Illumination.’

the campfire would illuminate the people in the camp, while the words would bring illumination to the songs reflecting the prayers and praise of our hearts… and all of this while God had already created the greatest light show on earth in the stars and planets and moon and shooting stars above…

one of those moments where you just wish the world could be stopped so you could fully appreciate it. altho every year it seemed like that is exactly what happened.

[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Resolved’ click here]

‘My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.’ (verse 1)

this psalm is billed as a wedding song and so that poetic opening feels like a suitable way to get things started – and a good reminder to those of us who get caught up in the lifeness of life to be reminded that we serve a stunningly imaginative and creative God [could YOU have envisaged the duck-billed platypus? or a giraffe?]

the whole psalm is quite a lyrically stunning one, but i just want to pull out one or two lines that jumped at me in a less than menacingly way:

‘In your majesty ride forth victoriously
    in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
    let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.’ (verse 4)

Truth. Humility. Justice. Good causes to have. Worth taking a moment to self reflect and ask myself, ‘What are the causes i ride forth towards?’

And if these are three that God takes seriously, then how seriously am i taking them? They would probably suffice as worthwhile pursuits for me as well.

Truth: It is interesting to note that you can say a lot of true things, but still not necessarily be speaking Truth

Humility: This is something that has to be called by others – the moment you realise you have achieved humility, you haven’t!

Justice: We are quick to rally on this one when the justice relates to us… but how quick when it speaks of ‘the least of these?’

‘You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
    by anointing you with the oil of joy.’ (verse 7)

is this true of me? do i absolutely LOVE righteousness [or simply think it’s a pretty okay thing?]

do i hate wickedness? or do i merely turn my nose down at it, while still allowing it to lurk inside or near me? do i hide it under the bed so no-one else can see, but so that it remains close, just in case…

have i been anointed with the oil of joy? for me, joy is different to happiness [which is situation dependent – you give me chocolate i am happy, you dent my car i am umhappy] and if the Holy Spirit of God lives in me and has been given free reign in my life through invitation, then i should naturally Love and be drawn towards righteousness and hate and be repelled by wickedness… and Joy should be a natural offshoot of that.

‘I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
    therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.’ (verse 17)

what a powerful image and lyric to finish with – i will perpetuate…

i will continue to tell the stories of how God has worked in me… through me… around me…

and the result will be the praise and awe of the people… and me… for ever!

%d bloggers like this: