Summary: A case against independence...
There are some interesting stories behind many of the songs in the history of the church... (Note - I delivered this message with an acoustic, but it’s not necessary)
One of my favorites... is from the song... the heart of worship (sing all or part).
Did you know... (about this song) -
from Matt Redman - "The song dates back to the late 1990s, born from a period of apathy within Matt’s home church, Soul Survivor, in Watford, England. Despite the country’s overall contribution to the current worship revival, Redman’s congregation was struggling to find meaning in its musical outpouring at the time.
“There was a dynamic missing, so the pastor did a pretty brave thing,” he recalls. “He decided to get rid of the sound system and band for a season, and we gathered together with just our voices. His point was that we’d lost our way in worship, and the way to get back to the heart would be to strip everything away.”
Reminding his church family to be producers in worship, not just consumers, the pastor, Mike Pilavachi, asked, “When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?”
Matt says the question initially led to some embarrassing silence, but eventually people broke into a cappella songs and heartfelt prayers, encountering God in a fresh way.
“Before long, we reintroduced the musicians and sound system, as we’d gained a new perspective that worship is all about Jesus, and He commands a response in the depths of our souls no matter what the circumstance and setting. ‘The Heart of Worship’ simply describes what occurred.”"
And then there are the older songs... (sing)
Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of thy redeeming love.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.
It’s really a song about a man named Robert Robinson who was lost... if you remember the beginning of our Christmas series... I quoted the prophet Isaiah and said... the people that wander in darkness have seen a great light. Life wasn’t worth living for him.
Did you know that George Barna did a survey to find out how many people in the US think that they are self reliant... in other words... needed nothing from any outside source in order... not just to survive... but to do well. 94%. 94 % of the country is independent... self-reliant... self-sufficient.
And most of us think that that’s what it means to be blessed. To have all the money I need is to be blessed. To have all the friends I need is to be blessed. To have all the stuff I need is to be blessed. And 94% of us think we’re there.
When you listen to the words of Robinson’s song. Your streams of mercy God... that saved me from a horrible meaningless life... call for songs of loudest praise. O to grace... that I don’t deserve... that God saved me... I’m constrained to be a debtor... I need to rely on it... I can’t do without it... I NEED it.
94% of us already have everything we need... we are independent.
One day a crowd was gathering around Jesus... and he climbed up to a hillside... he sat down on the grass and called his disciples around him... and I don’t know if the crowd was listening or not... but he started speaking to his disciples... and he started telling them this... because he knew the dangers... the temptations... the human heart that’s as the song says... prone to wander.
John Wesley grew up in a poor pastors house... so he didn’t expect any different... but because of his writings... he became one of the richest men in England. He knew that as people were coming to Jesus that they would stop wasting their money at bars… gambling… with drugs… with prostitutes... and put into habit the teachings of the Bible... and start to become... rich... He lived by three simple rules... and taught them to do the same... because money can take you away from Jesus.