Christianity 201

October 20, 2011

Drink Living Water From The Fountain of Life

Last night I was searching the ‘net for a song that represents a genre not often heard in today’s contemporary Christian music market, Living Water by Denny Correll.  I have the LP somewhere, but I was dying to hear the song.  In the process, I found a blogger who uses the songs from the Jesus Music era as the foundation for devotionals.  So I invite you to either click over to the blog Great, Great Joy now; or read what follows and then link over to click the audio track and follow the lyrics on a classic song.

Have you ever felt so excited about something that you couldn’t contain yourself? You just had to tell your friend, your neighbor, the person you met while walking down the street? This news you had was just too good to keep inside. It was like something that was bursting out of you that you couldn’t control!

The Joy that Jesus brings to my life is like that sometimes. Almost like a geyser, the Spirit bursts forth from me, usually in songs that I know, and that Joy comes out with it. It is literally energizing to have this happen, and spend the next several hours with music coming out in hums and whistles and fragments of song.

Jesus talks about this in the Gospel of John, chapter 7, verses 37 to 39: “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.”

This “living water” that Jesus spoke of, the Holy Spirit, is obviously so much more than just a song. But His work in your spirit could be through tears and repentance, or through joy and song. And I know that one way in which He works (at least in me) is to bring back to my remembrance Scripture that I’ve learned in the past — or possibly a song. And regardless of how He chooses to work in me today, it gives me something I can use to water the thirsty land around me, if I choose to let it flow!

Denny Correll released an album in 1979, Standin’ In The Light. One of the tracks on that album, Living Water is a joyful song that explains what I’ve said above in different words. Enjoy!

Click over to Great Great Joy to hear the song and read the lyrics.

February 21, 2011

Worship With Both Hands

We worship God with one hand UP and one hand OUT; worship is about God and my neighbor — about loving Jesus and loving others.You can’t have one without the other

That’s inspired by Mark 12:28-31, where Jesus is asked which commandment is the greatest. He responds by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  I find the church gets the first part right. That’s the up part. We know how to raise our hands up in worship. The problem is that if both our hands are up saying, “God, I Love You,” then we don’t have a hand free to put out to our neighbor. Worship has to be balanced — one hand raised to God and one hand stretched out to our neighbors, serving and loving them in the name of Jesus.

I believe I worship God by being hospitable to my neighbor. For example, by throwing a street party not to preach, but to simply celebrate the community I share with them. I worship God when I open the door for someone else, when I look someone in the eye and listen to what they’re saying, and when I feed the poor and give money to someone who needs it more than I do…

Jonathan Manafo
Associate Pastor, Christian Life Centre
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
as quoted in Testimony Magazine.

That reminded me of this song by Love Song from the early days of the Jesus Movement. The group reunited in 2009 to perform the song once again:

And while reminiscing about classic contemporary Christian music, I couldn’t help but think of Chris Christian’s recording of Mountain Top. That song isn’t online, but Amy Grant covered it. The song reminds us that worship is far more than what we do on Sundays.

Are there songs today that express this two-pronged aspect of what true worship is? We’ve become far more active in the lives of the poor; in addressing social justice issues; but do we do it with a spirit of worship, a sense that what we do “to the least of these” we are doing onto God? That true worship involves service to widows and orphans?

I just wonder if we’re getting more familiar and more efficient with doing something, but we’ve lost the sense that in so doing, we are giving worship to God. That would be unfortunate.

Francis Chan says,

We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You’ve probably heard the expression, “I believe in God, just not organized religion.” I don’t think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live. The expression would change to, “I can’t deny what the church does, but I don’t believe in their God.” At least then, they’d address their rejection of God rather than use the church as a scapegoat.

Crazy Love pp 21-22