Wonderful Home

Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:1-2

tremble

In Isaiah 66 the Lord describes the kind of worshippers He is looking for and the type of worship He desires. Stephen quotes from this passage in a long and passionate speech to the Jewish leaders who were opposing the gospel. “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do.” In a fit of rage they drug him out of the city and had him stoned to death.

Jesus, the Word made flesh, was God’s ultimate declaration to humanity that the veil between God and man had been ultimately removed for all time. God was sending us a message when He sent His Son, “I want to be with you forever!” God would rather live inside of us than a temple made with human hands. His desire is to be near to us and to make us clean. When we try to clean ourselves we reject the work of the cross and in turn reject God’s grace. When we are “doing the best we can” we are doing nothing that pleases God. Jesus raised the standard of the law to deal with the issues of the heart. Then, He made Himself completely available IF we are willing to surrender our wounded hearts fully to Him. This is His offer, our lives for His. Who would refuse?

“Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the center, eating the flesh of pigs, vermin, and rodents, shall come to an end together, says the Lord.” – Isaiah 66:17

Verse 1

You do not live in houses built by hands

You made everything, the world is in the palm of Your hands

The earth is Your footstool, heaven’s Your throne

What kind of home could we build for You?

Chorus

Then You saw the broken heart and You called it wonderful

You want to live inside of us, and You want to be our friend…

Verse 2

But if You are holy, how can this be?

Before You step in, let me make myself as clean as can be

I would not want to ruin Your fame

To say that I love You and then be a fake

Chorus

Then You saw my heart and You called it wonderful

You want to live inside of me, You want to be my friend

Bridge 

A humble and contrite heart, this is the one You are looking for

One who knows he cannot clean himself, one who trembles at Your word

Sacrifices and offerings do not smell as sweet as obedience

Sacrifices and offerings do not smell as sweet as obedience

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What’s It Like?

chainedIt’s hard for us, as Americans, to get our hearts and minds around the fact that there are nearly 100 million Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith. Many of them have no access to a bible, nor the freedom to gather in public for worship and prayer.

Two years ago I was on a ministry trip with Michele and little Josh to Dallas, Tx. We were staying at a church. One night I was restless so grabbed my guitar, went in the sanctuary and started singing to the Lord. As I was singing and praying I started thinking about a person who I didn’t know. I was imagining a man sitting in a prison, hungry, tired and worn. Though he was nearly beaten to death, his eyes were full of light and His heart was very much alive. That’s how the song started, as a prayer. That night I caught a glimpse of a world that I admittedly know very little about. My heart was deeply grieved as I thought of all the comforts we enjoy and how very little we are willing to sacrifice for others and for the sake of this Gospel that brings life to the soul.

Exactly one year later I was scheduled to play for the offering at church. For some reason that song, which had been sitting on the shelf unfinished, came to mind. I decided to stay up on Saturday night and finish it. I finished the song after midnight and the next day at church I made an incredible discovery. That very day was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church! Not only had I completed the song 1 year to the very HOUR of when I started writing it, but it just so happened to be the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church!

 

What’s It Like?

Verse 1

Somewhere across the ocean, far beyond the sea.

Just because I cannot see you, doesn’t mean your out of reach.

But I am mostly unaware, I am so naive.

I won’t close my eyes anymore, God help me see!

Chorus

What’s it like to have nothing?

What’s it like? I don’t know.

What’s it like? to be naked and poor?

What’s it like? I don’t know.

Verse 2

‘Cuz I’ve always had a family and a place to sleep.

I’ve never gone hungry or carried a disease.

I’ve never been beaten for what I believe in.

So I wont close my eyes anymore, God help me see!

Verse 3

Don’t give up. Don’t lose heart.

The nights almost over. Here comes the dawn.

Jesus is coming to set the wrong things right.

When this darkness is over, God will be your light

Bridge

This has always been His plan, to make all things new again.

From the garden to the New Jerusalem.

God wants to live with man. This has always been his plan.

From the garden to the New Jerusalem.

Ending:

So you’ll drink from the fountain of the water of life

If you overcome you get everything in sight

There will be no sorrow, no death or no pain

because former things have all passed away.

So count it all joy when your bruised and crushed

Because the God of love will come and live with us

And count it all loss if your gaining Christ

Because He is the One who is eternal life….

And God will be your light, God will be your light!

Fences

Song Lyrics

Verse 1

I must have been this place a thousand times before You Lord

Your faithfulness has brought me to the floor         

I adore the way you draw me in

You can wash away all my sin

Verse 2
I can’t believe I never saw this all before

This morning God was knocking at my door

He said, “You better wake up, I’ve got plans Your life can be in my hands.

And we can begin…

Chorus 1

to win against this behind my Fences

You’ll find the answers

Within my word in Him my word made flesh”

Verse 3

Many people died to show that Your love is true

Well, I’m not that good, but there is nothing I won’t do

I would die for what You gave, for You alone can save

I just love when You say…

Chorus 2

We can win against this behind Your fences

We’ll find all the answers

within Your word in Him Your Son

Bridge

Jesus, I am so in love with You

Jesus, I am so in love with You

Chorus 3

We can win against this behind Your fences

We’ll find all the answers

within Your word in Him Your Son

Jesus, I am sold on You

White Moon

supermoon

White Moon (The Story)

As a teenager I used to think every new song that I wrote was brilliant. Listening to old recordings I now realize that many of them were pretty terrible. I believe it was Bob Dylan that suggested a person isn’t a real songwriter until they have written at least 100 songs. As subjective as that statement is, I tend to agree. Songwriting is like any other craft, it has to be developed. I think that’s what scares most musicians away from the beautiful world of songwriting. We are afraid of writing songs that people won’t like. I’m not sure how or why but somehow, during the most insecure season in my life, I was able to overcome those fears and write a ton of songs, most of which have thankfully never been heard.

Out of that pile of those first “100” songs there were a few gems and “White Moon” is certainly one of them. The first verse, and the chorus where written when I was 16 and the song sat unfinished, on a shelf in my mind, until I dusted it off one day about 10 years later.

The meaning of the song is pretty self-explanitory. Just picture a 16 year old – Nirvana induced – melancholy – hopeless romantic kid that grew up in a small town in the 90’s. My view of God at that time was quite obscure, but I’ve always connected very easily with the night sky. I could relate to that cool, white moon hovering all alone out in open space. There was something about the vastness of it all that drew my heart toward the God who made it all. One of my favorite things to do was to lay down in an open field and watch the stars. If you stay there long enough you can feel the rotation of the earth. What a great place to find peace and meet with the living God!

White Moon (The Song)

The white moon’s trapped, comfort is the stars

Sun is source, I am lost in my own backyard

If the rain came would it wash me clean again?

Could it wipe away the pain and wash my stains away?

I like to walk at night

That’s when I feel the Lord’s most by my side

 I was nothin’ at all, I was small

‘Til the rain came

If I put it in a frame

Would I see how much I’ve changed

When I look again someday?

And when the sun goes down

I’ll be hangin’ around

‘Cuz you know I don’t get no sleep

Like the white moon

You know I don’t sleep at night

Don’t look at the stars, they’re fading

Don’t look at the darkness all around

Don’t look at the moon that’s gleaming’

It’s just a reflection of the sun

Don’t look at the world it’s turning

 into something that no-one wants to see

If you look at the moon tonight

Sit back, take a breath, and think of me

‘Cuz I’m just like the moon

It’s my delight to be a reflection of holy light

And if you took it away

I’m cold and gray

forever sinking out of sight

Just like the white, white moon tonight

Just like the white moon

Elephant

i_can_fly__by_paulie_svk-d4qu2lh

Elephant (The Story)

It has been said that baby circus elephants are kept from running away by driving a stake into the ground and tying a rope around their ankle. After multiple attempts the elephant eventually stops trying to escape. An adult elephant is fully capable of breaking free from this leash, but they have convinced themselves that it is impossible to escape so they quit trying, you see, it is true what they say, that an elephant never forgets.

Like the elephant many of us have forgotten, or never realized who we are in Jesus. We have tried so many times to escape, wether it be an addiction, our tendencies, thought life or any other kind of sinful or distructive pattern. We have bought into the lie that we are trapped and that we will never escape, at least not in this life. We actually believe that this is just “who we are” and that there is no point in trying to change things.

When Jesus enters the picture, everything changes. Radiant light breaks into the dark room of our hearts and we begin to see how big He is inside of us. His love has conquered hell, death and the grave! He is the one who breaks us free forever!

There is a scene in the classic Disney movie, Dumbo, where Timothy Q. Mouse suddenly realizes that Dumbo can fly. Up to this point in the film Dumbo has been laughed at and discarded because of his oversized ears. Now everything is about to change as the mouse exclaims…

“You’re ears! Just look at em Dumbo! Why, they’re perfect wings! The very things that held you down are going to carry you up, and up and UP!”

Stop trying to put your ropes back together, fix your eyes on Jesus and do what you could never do before… RUN! Run until you even start to fly and never look back! Let your greatest weakness and failure be your strength as you trust in God to keep you with the power of His love and grace.

ELEPHANT (The Song)

I was like an elephant, tied to a little pole on a short rope

 I could not go any further than this rope, than this wall… If I’d go any further I’d fall

Cause ever since I was little I’ve always known I’m not good enough

I’m not strong enough to go

Then You come and release me, and You show me who I am!

It’s beautiful to see Your hands pick me up and help me stand

When all I knew was how to fall, and now I’m running!

Now I’m running!

I’m like a child in the night, calling out on You, on You I rely on

There is nothing that I can do apart from You. You’re my Father and my best friend

So would You speak so softly to me? You can use me for Your glory!

I’m like a leaf in the breeze, I move every time You breath.

Won’t You breath?

Won’t You breath?