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JIMMY NEEDHAM’S “CLEAR THE STAGE”: A MUST HEAR

Dear Friends,

We have heard so much about how this country is running from God lately. We’ve seen blatant examples of that in this past week, but can we stop long enough to admit something?

We, as believers, can run from God too. I think we’ve all been there – We run from God when we ignore prayer and let our unconfessed sin fester within us. We run from God when we disregard our nagging conscience, knowing that our fellowship with God suffers for it.

We may try to cover it up by living as if all is well…or will be well, if only we work harder, do more, or have more fun. Our lives can become blinded with busy-ness and frivolity. There’s no sense of urgency to what is important, and no honesty to ourselves or anyone else. Our souls cry for a time-out, yet our pride yells to keep going. Our pre-occupations become idols that have taken the place of God in our lives. What is revival if we, ourselves, aren’t humble and real and broken before the Lord?

That’s why I wanted to share this song with you. It isn’t often that I run into one that cuts to the chase so well. It expresses the great need we all have, that moment we realize that the charade has to end, and we find ourselves before the Lord in honest confession of the condition of our hearts. I think it will be well worth a listen:

*Jimmy Needham, “Clear the Stage” Inpop Albums, 2012

 

I’ve thought of the lyrics many times. Here they are with my commentary, and questions that I have pondered:

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols

How am I in the center of my world?

What is the measure I must take to crush the idols in my life?

Do I dare to take that measure?

Jerk the pews and all the decorations, too
Until the congregation’s few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the Lord and wait for what he has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful

It’s not about the beauty of our worship centers, is it?

Is there ever a time when it’s more beneficial to retreat, alone?

When we meet together, is it just about the hellos, and the niceties of polite greetings?

Are church gatherings and programs about true fellowship or do they serve as just another distraction?

 Is it right to ignore the desperation we should have to meet with God, in this day and age?

 What brings revival?

What will God impress upon me if I pray earnestly, if I am still enough to sit in silence?

 Are you encouraged of your reward for sober-minded, serious reflection?

‘Cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

What is true worship before God?

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper

He said, “Be still and know that I am God.”(Psalm 46:10)

Beg him please to open up his mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open

How do we hide from the Lord?

Where is our sense of urgency in prayer?

Are we as aware of our spiritual condition as we think we are?

What will we see if we are honest before Him?

What is the result of confession and repentance of sin?
Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken
I don’t know where you are in your faith.

 Is there something you haven’t trusted to the Lord?

Have you read His word?

Do you dare to put apply it to your life?

Do you believe at all?

If not, have you ever cried out to God to make Himself known to you? I beg of you, Read His word, and with an honest heart of faith, confess your sin and repent. I dare you to then walk in faith, study it earnestly, and see if it does not ring true.

I dare you, and I dare myself.

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King David cried out, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

 

WHAT TO SING AT MY FUNERAL

No, I’m not sick or even a bit queasy, it’s just that a friend of mine and I got into an off-beat conversation about what songs we would like sung at our funerals, (again, not that I expect one anytime soon)! So I thought about it a little and know of two that will make the cut. The first one is an old the classic “I Need Thee Every Hour”. I particularly like the one by Fernando Ortega:

The words were written by Annie Hawks (1835 – 1918). After writ­ing the lyr­ics, she gave them to her pas­tor, Ro­bert Low­ry, who add­ed the tune and re­frain…Some years lat­er, af­ter the death of her hus­band, Hawks wrote:

“I did not un­der­stand at first why this hymn had touched the great throb­bing heart of hu­man­i­ty. It was not un­til long af­ter, when the sha­dow fell over my way, the sha­dow of a great loss, that I un­der­stood some­thing of the com­fort­ing pow­er in the words which I had been per­mit­ted to give out to others in my hour of sweet se­ren­i­ty and peace.” (taken from Bible Study Charts).

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Refrain

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.

It is a wonderful acknowledgment that every day we live, every challenge before us and every breath we take depends on God. Every mercy in every hour is of Him.

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 The second song is more contemporary. It is “Glorous Day” by Casting Crowns. Maybe you’ve heard it?

Just an excerpt:

 One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day, oh, glorious day

 

I think the reason I love this song so much is that it brings me to contemplate the day when Christ will come back. I think that reading of Christ’s return and imagining the scene as it is described in the Bible is one thing, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), but to realize that this scene will actually play out in real life and that we will all be there blows my mind. There will be no more trouble, no more tears, no more worries. Everything will pale in light of His return. It will be a glorious day!

Maybe you don’t have to think about your own funeral to share a song that  best describes your faith and journey in this life. What songs would you pick and why?