Sunday, August 16, 2009


And you shall no more be termed forsaken.
and your land shall not be termed empty.

They shall be called Sought Out.
They shall be called Redeemed.

And you shall be called by a new name
That the mouth of the Lord will give.

A holy nation; we are his possession.

We shall be called Sought Out.
We shall be called Redeemed.

1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.
2 The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the LORD will designate.
3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the LORD delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
6 On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the LORD, take no rest for yourselves;
7 And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8 The LORD has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,
“I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.”
9 But those who garner it will eat it and praise the LORD;
And those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.
10 Go through, go through the gates,
Clear the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway,
Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.
11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes;
Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
12 And they will call them, “The holy people,
The redeemed of the LORD”;
And you will be called, “Sought out, a city not forsaken.”

………………………………………………. Isaiah 62 (NASB)

If you’re reading this and you do not attend conVerge church, you may not be familiar with the song that opens this blog post. It is music written by the worship team of conVerge but the inspiration comes from Isaiah 62. Originally, this song was written and performed by a band whose style goes beyond even what we would call “contemporary” worship. Now that our worship team has shifted and the style has changed to an acoustic-style format, the song didn’t work as well, but it was too good to scrap, so we set out to rework it—and what resulted was quite beautiful in its new-found harmonies. And somehow, this accentuates the meaning of the song, as if it really was meant to be sung in harmony, and claimed as a calling and a challenge.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"There are many people I know who possess a vision of [personal] evolution yet seem to lack the will for it. They want, and believe it is possible, to skip over the discipline, to find an easy shortcut to sainthood. Often, they attempt to attain it by simply imitating the superficialities of saints, retiring to the desert or taking up carpentry. Some even believe that by such imitation they have really become saints and prophets, and are unable to acknowledge tha they are still children and face the painful fact that they must start at the beginning and go through the middle"
....................... M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, p. 77 (1978)
as quoted by Dallas Willard in Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 7 (1988).

"Our effort to take control at that (on the spot) moment will fail so uniformly and so ingloriously that they whole project of following Christ will appear ridiculous to the watching world... we should be perfectly clear about one thing: Jesus never expected us simply to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, bless those who persecute us, give unto them that ask, and so forth.... Oswald Chambers observes: 'The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ....'"
...................... Dallas Willard, Spirit of the Disciplines, p. 7-8 (1988).

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life...
............................................. Philippians 2: 1-16 (NASB; emphasis mine)

Monday, August 10, 2009


Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might,
With His arm ruling for Him.
His reward is with Him

And His recompense before Him.
Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs.
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
And marked off the heavens by the span,
And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure,
And weighed the mountains in a balance
And the hills in a pair of scales?
Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has informed Him?
With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
Even Lebanon is not enough to burn,
Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before Him,
They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.
To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
As for the idol, a craftsman casts it,
A goldsmith plates it with gold,
And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
He who is too impoverished for such an offering
Selects a tree that does not rot;
He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman
To prepare an idol that will not totter.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
“To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
----------------------------Isaiah 40: 10-31

Twice in the passage above, Isaiah asks: "Do you not know, have you not heard?" Isaiah is speaking to his fellow Hebrews, people who would have heard the teachings of the Scriptures and the prophets. He isn't asking if these people have had a chance to hear this sort of message before; he is asking whether the message has meant anything to them-- in other words: he is asking a rhetorical question.

For us as believers, this question also applies. This passage is a powerful reminder of who God is-- he has measured out the heavens in the hollow of his hand. It reminds us as well of our relative 'smallness' -- we are like grasshoppers. What a privilege that God would choose us for salvation, that he would call us into his kingdom that we might serve such a powerful creator with our lives. What is required of us, then, is that we apply and live by the example of Christ, the one through whom all things are made.

Monday, August 03, 2009

something real…

After I looked up the song mentioned in my previous post, I searched a few more songs and strummed a few in a somewhat nostalgic vein, and stumbled across this one. This is the sort of chorus that MUST be sung from a deep-rooted understanding of Scripture and of what the Lord requires. Taken in the proper context and in an attitude of prayer, here are the lyrics…

Many are the words we speak
Many are the songs we sing
Many kinds of offerings
But now to live the life

Help us live the life
Help us live the life
All we want to do is bring you something real
Bring you something true

(We hope that) Precious are the words we speak
(We pray that) Precious are the songs we sing
Precious are these offerings
But now to live the life….

Now to go the extra mile
Now to turn the other cheek
Now to serve you with a life
Let us share your fellowship
Even of your sufferings
Never let the passion die…

“Come, let us return to the LORD…
…That we may live before Him. 
“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
…For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6

clean. pure...

I got the line of a praise/worship song I learned several years ago stuck in my head, so I sat down and began to strum it on Roger’s guitar, then decided to look up the song online as to remember the rest of the lyrics (surely the eight lines I could remember were not all of the song…)  Turns out, there were only a couple lines that I was forgetting… usually I dismiss songs that repeat as being shallow. This one, however, should not be taken as such, nor made into such…

We bow our hearts. We bend our knees. Oh Spirit come make us humble.
We turn our eyes, From evil things. Oh Lord we cast down our idols.

Give us clean hands. Give us pure hearts. Let us not lift our souls to another.
Give us clean hands. Give us pure hearts. Let us not lift our souls to another
God let us be A generation that seeks, that seeks your face, O God of Jacob.
Oh God let us be A generation that seeks, That seeks your face, O God of Jacob…

Psalm 24
Of David. A psalm.

1The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2for he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.
3Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.

5He will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God his Savior.
6Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.                                      Selah
7Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.                                               Selah