The Long Road of Faithfulness

We’ve been talking a good deal about faithfulness in our current sermon series, Blueprint. We’ve been looking at the example of Joseph from the Old Testament and how he remained faithful to God despite a ever-so-slightly dysfunctional family, adversity (have you been sold into slavery lately?), temptation, and discouragement.

As we continue the series we’ll see Joseph’s faithfulness in prosperity, forgiveness, and unto death. That last one is all too real these days. Growing up, I was fortunate. I never attended a funeral service until my grandmother died when I was 20 years old. I had been to visitations quite a bit, but never a real-deal funeral service.

I’ve attended three already this year — and we’re one month into the year.

Funerals are a good chance to gain perspective. What kind of life do you want to be remembered for at your funeral? My ultimate hope is to hear “well done, good and faithful servant” from Jesus when my time has come. Country music pioneer June Carter Cash once said “I’m just trying to matter.” I think these words hold true for most of us. We want this life to mean something to someone — anyone. This requires faithfulness until the end. It’s the long road of obedience in the same direction.

The freeing thing is, our lives mean a lot more than just something to God. He’s the One who is faithful despite our unfaithfulness and, despite how faithful Joseph was, God was faithful even despite Joseph’s unfaithfulness. God is faithful to us in our times of doubt, struggle, pain, victory, success, and death. He is there to the end. He showed us He can be trusted because He sent Jesus to rescue us from all of those things (and more). He promised it to Adam and Eve after their fall. He promised it to all the Old Testament “heroes” (who were all faith-less, quite often). He fulfilled that promise in Jesus. Jesus bore the weight of our unfaithfulness (sin) on the cross. So, now, we can rest in what He has done and can be obedient unto death.

Though the road is long and death awaits us all, God is already there. And, the best news is, we can trust that He will come through because He is good and faithful.

 
Daniel Ross, CCJ Music and Communications Minister

Songs We Sing (01.31.2016)

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When we sing together, we are corporately singing the praises of our God. It’s a participatory activity. “Songs We Sing” is an weekly effort to help us better learn the songs we are singing as well as to gather some small insight into what we are singing. If you’d like a copy of the songs listed, a link is provided (where available). For the services of January 31, 2016, CCJ band At One led music and we sang:

 

YOU LIFTED ME OUT
Written by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves, Louie Giglio, Matt Gilder and Matt Redman. This song ‘s theme was taken from Psalm 40. The bridge to this song is very powerful to me “Lost is where You found me/Shattered and frail but You love me still/Trouble may surround me my heart may fail/But You never will/You never will.” I love the words “my heart may fail.” In our society, we too often think our hearts will not lie to us. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why we must lean on the One who will never fail.
Buy “You Lifted Me Out” by Chris Tomlin.
 
BLESSED BE YOUR NAME
Written by Beth Redman, Matt Redman, 2002. This song, lyrically, is never as upbeat as it can sound. It reminds me of the book of Job (where the title was taken from). No matter the circumstances of our life, God is in control. Blessed be His name.
Buy “Blessed Be Your Name” by Matt Redman.
 
10,000 REASONS (BLESS THE LORD)
Written by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, 2011. Taken from Psalm 103, this song is a great song of adoration and praise. We have so many reasons (and eternity to do it) to praise God for His goodness toward us.
Buy “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” by Matt Redman.
 
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS
Written by George Bennard, 1913. This slow song of lament was a great way to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice. Through the cross, we gain new life.
Download “The Old Rugged Cross (Live On Good Friday)” by Narrow Path.
 
YOU NEVER LET GO
Written by Beth Redman, Matt Redman, 2005. CCJ sings this one very well. We love singing this one with you. This is such a great song of hope and faith, nowing that there will be an end to the troubles of this life, but until then, we will praise Him.
Buy “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman.
Download “You Never Let Go (Live at CCJ)” by At One.
 
ONLY HOPE
Written by Daniel Ross, 2010. The song is more or less taken from Ephesians 2, a great part of Scripture dedicated to explaining how we are dead in our sins but God’s saving grace makes us alive. Verse one leads into a pre-chorus that is a question (“born of man and choosing sin/who will bring me to life?”). Verse two leads into the same pre-chorus but is now a statement (“set me free and now I can see/who will bring me to life.”).

Buy “Only Hope” by (CCJ band) Narrow Path.

Songs We Sing (01.24.2016)

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When we sing together, we are corporately singing the praises of our God. It’s a participatory activity. “Songs We Sing” is an weekly effort to help us better learn the songs we are singing as well as to gather some small insight into what we are singing. If you’d like a copy of the songs listed, a link is provided (where available). For the services of January 24, 2016, CCJ band Always At The Ready led music and we sang:

 

YOU ARE MY VISION
Written by Eleanor Henrietta Hull, Mary Elizabeth Byrne, Rend Collective; 1919, 2011. This is a modern rendition of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision.” The lyrics of the first verse set the tone for what we are singing: “You are my vision/O King of my heart/Nothing else satisfies only You Lord.” This is truth.
Buy “You Are My Vision” by Rend Collective.
 
ON OUR SIDE
Written by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, 2004. This is another Chris Tomlin song that we’ve more or less revamped in style to make it our own. Romans 8 says, “if God be for us, who can be against us?” A great encouragement for Christians.
Buy “On Our Side (Live)” by Chris Tomlin.
 
GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS
Written by Thomas O. Chisholm and William M. Runyan, 1923. The little-read book of Lamentations has this gem in Chapter 3, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” These words are so true and powerful. God’s faithfulness to us is constant, even despite our unfaithfulness to Him.
Buy “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by Chris Rice.
 
ROCK OF AGES
Written by Augustus M. Toplady, 1776. Music by Thomas Hastings, 1830. I love the line “Let the water and the blood/From Thy wounded side which flowed/Be of sin the double cure/Save from wrath and make me pure.”
Download “Rock Of Ages (Live at CCJ)” by Alyssa + The Trio.
 
NEVER ONCE
Written by Jason Ingram, Matt Redman and Tim Wanstall, 2011. This song is a great song of remembrance and reflection on what God has brought us through and to. Whether its a corporate reflection or an individual reflection, it’s important for us to look back and see where, what and when God has brought us through.
Buy “Never Once” by Matt Redman.
 
FOREVER
Written by Chris Tomlin, 2001. We need songs of reminder that God is with us, that He will never leave us, never forsake us. Taken from Psalm 136.
Buy “Forever (Live)” by Chris Tomlin.

Songs We Sing (01.17.2016)

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When we sing together, we are corporately singing the praises of our God. It’s a participatory activity. “Songs We Sing” is an weekly effort to help us better learn the songs we are singing as well as to gather some small insight into what we are singing. If you’d like a copy of the songs listed, a link is provided (where available). For the services of January 17, 2016, CCJ band At One led music and we sang:

 

YOU CARRIED ME
Written by Daniel Ross, Mike Crockett, Kyle Street, 2014. Inspired by Psalm 16 and Psalm 30, this is a song of remembrance of God’s power, carrying us through trials and difficulties, and, ultimately, bringing us freedom from sin through Jesus.
Buy “You Carried Me” by (CCJ band) At One.
 
NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD
Written by Robert Lowry, 1876. I love the lyric “Nothing can for sin atone/Nothing but the blood of Jesus/Not of good that I have done/Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” This is a song that helps us focus on Christ’s work for us and helps us take our eyes off of our own work.
Buy “Nothing But The Blood” by Page CXVI.
 
I HAVE DECIDED (NO TURNING BACK)
Arranged by Lewis G. Scharpf, Jr., 1950. New chorus and bridge by Aaron Pelsue. From WikipediaThe lyrics are based on the last words of an man in Assam, north-east India, who along with his family was converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” In response to threats to his family, he continued, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.” His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village.
Buy “I Have Decided (No Turning Back)” by Aaron Pelsue.
 
GIVE US CLEAN HANDS
Written by Charlie Hall, 2000. This is a good song of repentance and one that I need to pray more often.
Buy “Give Us Clean Hands” by Kutless.
 
BREAK EVERY CHAIN
Written by Will Reagan, 2009. A simple song reminding us there is power in Jesus’ name. He alone is able to break the chains of sin that bind us so easily.
Buy “Break Every Chain” by The Digital Age.
 
READY, WILLING, ABLE
Written by Daniel Ross, Mike Crockett; 2012. Taken from Luke 12:35-56, this original song focuses on keeping our hearts ready for the Master’s return. We are not called to know the hour, but only to be ready.
Buy “Ready, Willing, Able” by At One.

Songs We Sing (01.10.2016)

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When we sing together, we are corporately singing the praises of our God. It’s a participatory activity. “Songs We Sing” is an weekly effort to help us better learn the songs we are singing as well as to gather some small insight into what we are singing. If you’d like a copy of the songs listed, a link is provided (where available). For the services of January 10, 2016, CCJ band We Come Alive led music and we sang:

 

GRACE GREATER THAN OUR SIN
Words written by Julia H. Johnston (1911) and music by Daniel B. Towner (1910). Ephesians 2:8 says, “for it is by grace you have been saved … .” This song is a great reflection on God’s grace. “Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away? Look! There is flowing a crimson tide. Whiter than snow you may be today.”
Buy “Grace That Is Greater” by Bart Millard.
 
LEANING ON THE EVERLASTING ARMS
Written by Elisha A. Hoffman, 1887. Music by Anthony J. Showalter. “What have I to dread/What have I to fear/Leaning on the everlasting arms …” I think of my grandparents when we sing this song. They left a rich legacy of faith for me and they came from a generation where “leaning on the everlasting arms” meant so much more than it does now (in many ways).
Download “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms (Live at CCJ)” by We Come Alive.
 
A WAY OUT OF NO WAY
Written by Daniel Ross, Kurt Neighbors; 2010. This is a song of hope and trust knowing that God is in control of things, not us.
Buy “A Way Out Of No Way” by (CCJ band) Narrow Path.
Download “A Way Out Of No Way (Live at CCJ)” by We Come Alive here.
 
GOD WITH US
Written by Jason Ingram and Leslie Jordan,
 2012. Jesus. Emmanuel. He is “God with us.” God doesn’t make us come to Him via works, but He came to us, to deliver us from ourselves, death, and hell.
Buy “God With Us” by All Sons & Daughters.
 
COME THOU FOUNT OF EVERY BLESSING
Written by Robert Robinson, 1758. This is a favorite hymn at CCJ. It’s such a song of yearning, pleading with God to keep us in Him. “Jesus sought me when a stranger/Wandering from the fold of God/He to rescue me from danger/Interposed His precious blood.”
Buy “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” by Narrow Path.
 
LIFT YOUR HEAD WEARY SINNER (CHAINS)
Written by David Crowder, Ed Cash. Seth Philpott; 2014. This “stomp” song is an anthem for all of us as “prodigals” stumbling towards grace. The chains of sin can no longer hold us as Jesus has wiped away all our sins and broken the bondage of sin.
Buy “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” by Crowder.

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